God Does Not Over Promise and Under Deliver
God Does Not Over Promise and Under Deliver
People in a pandemic may experience a testing of their faith. They need to know that God does not over promise
and under deliver to us. That’s the theme of this post, one in a series on how to preach in a pandemic.
Carl Sewell made a fortune in the car business in Dallas, Texas. At the time he began selling cars, surveys showed that 70% of people hated buying cars because they didn’t trust the sales people. When people were selling cars, they felt, the promised a lot, but didn’t fulfill those promised. Or, in the terms that Carl put it, salespeople regularly overpromised and underdelivered. So, he decided to change that. He told his sales people to under promise, and over deliver, or, to give outstanding service to someone who buys a car. People streamed into this dealerships because they felt they could trust the sales people.
Some Think that God Over Promises and Under Delivers
In a time like we are experiencing in the world right now, we might read some promises of God and wonder how they could be anything but an over promise. Consider Romans 8:28:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Someone who has Covid, or who has lost someone to Covid, or who is dealing with the long-term effects of Covid might wonder if this is true. They need to know that God does not over promise and under deliver even with something like this.
Is this promise true? That’s the question that can challenge our faith. How can an accident that takes life be good? What about people who are paralyzed? What about people with Covid?
So, how do we consider this promise, or any promise?
We Start With God
In order to grasp God’s truth in this promise, you have to begin with God. Older translations of this verse can leave a wrong impression of what the Apostle Paul is saying here. Consider the King James Version next to the New International Version:
All things work together for good to them that love God…. (KJV)
In all things God works for the good of those who love him…. (NIV)
Notice that the old King James Version could leave someone to conclude, as some new agers sometimes say, that “things just seem to work out”. There are reasons for the difference in the translations. When the King James version was published in 1611 there were few good Greek manuscripts available to translate from. Since that time, many older manuscripts (closer to the originals in their accuracy) were found.
God is at work. He doesn’t over promise.
The difference is this: our faith can hold because we know that it isn’t all things working out, it is God working things out. That is a huge difference. It is key to understanding that God does not over promise and under deliver in his dealing with us. In fact, the next verses show that God has been at work in our lives since before we were born. Paul says,
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
God foreknew us. In other words, before we ever took a breath God “knew” us. The word really means that God loved us. When scholars many years ago were translating the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek, they used this word translate the phrase, “Adam knew his wife, and she conceived.” God loved us.
Then he gave us a destiny. Our destiny is that we are going to become more like Jesus. This is what God is working on. His promise is not that we will get rich, or never get sick, or never face a fire or a pandemic. His promise is that God will take bad things, and work them in us and through us for our development, for our good.
Then he called us. Our call us unique. My call from God came when I was a child growing up in a home with Christian parents. A friend of mine, who is an alcoholic and homeless at the time, was called when someone gave him a book with the title, “God’s Promises”. Reading that set him on a search to know God.
He justified us. In other words, he looks at us, “just as if I’d” never sinned, because the blood of Jesus has covered our sin.
And finally, he will glorify us. Our destiny is to live with him in heaven forever.
God Promises and Delivers
I like one metaphor especially. Needlepoint. When you work on a needlepoint, the back is a confusion of loose threads and seemingly unrelated knots. It’s only when you turn it over that you see that there is a pattern that the artist is making, and it’s beautiful.
That’s God’s promise. God does not over promise and under deliver when he deals with his children.