The Old Testament believers sure did things differently than us. They approached God in ways most modern Christians would never dare. For instance, the ninth chapter of Daniel records that Daniel had been reading Jeremiah’s prophecy and discovered that the time of the captivity was to be 70 years. By that time,70 years had passed. So Daniel begins praying, and his prayer constitutes most of the rest of the chapter. While Daniel spends most of the prayer acknowledging the sins of the people and God’s righteousness in destroying them, the thrust of the prayer is actually that it’s time for God to restore the people to Jerusalem. Daniel urges God to hasten to do this “for your own sake” (vs. 19). While Daniel is very diplomatic about it, he is still rather boldly demanding that God keep His promises.
Nehemiah does this as well. In the first chapter Nehemiah calls on God to remember His word, that He would gather His people back to Jerusalem. Nehemiah is rather blunt and essentially says, “Hey, you promised! Remember what you promised and do it.” What kind of chutzpah does it take to remind God of His promises and demand that He keep them? But it’s not just Daniel and Nehemiah. We see these reminders of promises throughout the Psalms. Just two examples: Ps. 25:6 “Remember your mercy, O LORD”; Ps. 74:1-2 “O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture? Remember your congregation . . . Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.” These men aren’t calling God on the carpet; rather they believe His promises so strongly that they feel comfortable depending on them and calling for them. “Reminding” God in this way really just showed their faith in, and dependence on, His promises.
God has made us promises, too. He has promised to keep us from facing unwinnable temptations (1 Cor. 10:13). He has promised to forgive us our sins if we will acknowledge them (1 John 1:8-9). He has promised to provide us with our daily necessities (Matt. 6:31-34). He has promised to work for us with great power (Eph. 1:19-20). He has promised to raise us from the dead to eternal life giving us a great inheritance by making us joint heirs with Christ (1 Cor. 15:53-57, Rom. 8:16-17). Do we believe in those promises? Do we believe in them enough to “call” God on them? The Apostles did. They believed in His promises of eternal life so strongly that they called on Christ to return as quickly as possible (1 Cor. 16:22, Rev. 22:20).
How much more successful would I be at defeating temptations if, when tempted, I prayed, “God, you said you’d always make a way of escape. Please help me see it now.”? How much more calm would I be about my finances if I prayed “God, you said if I seek your kingdom first, you’d provide for my needs, so I’m counting on you to let me eat.”? Etc, etc.
How strongly do you hold to His promises?
Rev. 22:20 “He who testifies these things says, Yea: I come quickly. Amen: come, Lord Jesus.”