Deuteronomy 19 (June 21)

                                                                If and When

            “When the Lord…If the Lord…”

            Our good Lord always keeps his word.  Every word he speaks is true, and everything that he has promised will be fulfilled before our eyes.  Do you believe this?  I truly hope so.

            It is necessary, however, to differentiate between the “when” and the “if” kinds of promises.  When God promises something to us with a “when,” he is telling us that it will happen no matter what.  A clear example is the promise of eternal life beginning, “when” we believe in Christ (John 6:47).

            God has promised to meet our needs, when we have needs.  These promises are as unconditional as God’s love for his children.  He has promised his presence, his constant care and his faithful protection.

            The “if” promises, on the other hand, are those promises not written on stone; these are probabilities at best.  When God says: “if”, there is a condition involved.  If we behave, act, or perform in a certain way, then those limited promises will come to fruition.

            The difference between the Israelites and Christians in regards to God’s promises is that Christians enjoy more unconditional (when) promises.  The blessings of the Jews were for the most part, tied down to their fulfillment of the Law.  If they did “this or that”, then they would receive their blessings in full.

            Praise be to God for all his promises!  His “when” promises give us assurance, and the “if” promises challenge us to be more obedient and faithful disciples.


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