I know God promised, but…

I know God said He’s always with me, but I just feel so alone.

I know God said He would enable me, but I just don’t think I can do it.

I know God said He would take care of me, but I fear what might happen.

I know God wants me to witness, but I just don’t think anyone wants to hear the gospel.

It’s possible to have the promises of God but still not move forward in our Christian lives.

How can that be?

According to one commentator, the difference between Israel’s failure to enter the promised land in Numbers and their success in Joshua was a matter of reckoning.

In the American South, the word “reckon” is sometimes used to mean “suppose.”

“I reckon it’s about time to go to bed.”

“Do you reckon it will rain tomorrow?”

But one American dictionary definition for reckon is “to count, depend, or rely, as in expectation (often followed by on).”

And the Greek word rendered reckon in the KJV lists counting as one definition, but also includes words like “consider, take into account, weigh, meditate on, suppose, deem, judge, determine, purpose, decide.”

In both Numbers and Joshua. God had promised to give Israel the land. But in the first case, they didn’t believe God and failed to obey. They spent the next forty years in the wilderness while all the adults except Joshua and Caleb—the only ones who did believe God—died off.

Hebrews refers of this period: “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (Hebrews 4:1-2, KJV)

Then in Joshua 6, “the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.'” God told Joshua this before the battle even began. Joshua counted on this promise as well as the one God had given him in chapter 1:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:8-9).

Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary Be Strong (Joshua): Putting God’s Power to Work, says this:

Victorious Christians are people who know the promises of God, because they spend time meditating on God’s Word (1: 8); they believe the promises of God because the Word of God generates faith in their hearts (Rom. 10: 17); and they reckon on these promises and obey what God tells them to do. To “reckon” means to count as true in your life what God says about you in His Word. . . .

Christ has conquered the world, the flesh, and the Devil; and if we reckon on this truth, we can conquer through Him. It’s possible to believe a promise and still not reckon on it and obey the Lord. Believing a promise is like accepting a check, but reckoning is like endorsing the check and cashing it (p. 88-89, Kindle version).

If we say, “I know God said, but….” we’re not relying, or reckoning, on His promise. We’re looking at circumstances or our abilities or feelings instead, none of which are reliable.

But reading and meditating on God’s Word leads to faith in God’s Word, which leads to relying on God’s Word, which leads to obedience.

Relying on God’s promises doesn’t give us grounds for presumption. Israel got into trouble in the next few chapters of Joshua because they went forward presumptuously (in the case of Ai) and didn’t ask counsel of the Lord (in the case of the Gibeonites).

Relying on God doesn’t mean we follow a formula. We’re prone to seek three easy steps to handle any problem. God’s instructions for battling Jericho and Ai and other cities were very different.

We need to humbly seek God’s will and stay in His Word so He can guide us, show us sin in our lives that we need to confess to Him, and show us His promises to help us overcome for Him. But as we rely on His truth,

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

(John H. Sammis)

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

Interestingly, Adrian Rogers’ Love Worth Finding radio program touched
on “reckoning” today (Monday) in a sermon titled “How to Live in Victory.”

18 thoughts on “I know God promised, but…

  1. Wow, the writer of Hebrews sure got it right. I have been thinking about reckoning in the context of Romans wherr we reckon ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God. Some days, that takes a very lively imagination, and yet it’s my position in Christ, and God said it, so…

    • That’s the passage that most often comes to mind containing the word “reckon.” That was confusing to me in my early Christian life until I realized it meant to count on it as fact, to rely on it. It sure doesn’t always feel that way—I like how you put that it takes a lively imagination some days. But I am glad truth doesn’t rest on my feelings.

  2. Trust Believe Faith. However, without Faith the other two are worthless. Your post gives lots to comprehend about our walk with the Lord. It’s sometimes simple, but yet so complicated. Will now look at rekon in a new light.

      • One other point this commentary on Joshua emphasized was God’s redemption of our mistakes. When there was sin in the camp that caused a failure at AI, and then later the Israelites make a covenant with Gibeon without consulting God first and were fooled, there were consequences. But then they picked up and obeyed from there, and God worked all things together for good. We won’t get through life with making mistakes, but God graciously forgives and redeems. But the general tenor of our lives should be to believe God and then rely on His Word to act as He wants us to.

  3. Barbara, thank you for sharing both your thoughts and Warren Wiersbe’s as this was encouraging. “To “reckon” means to count as true in your life what God says about you in His Word.”

  4. Thank you for the reminder to trust in God and rely on Him, even when we’re not feeling like it or when life seems hard. Yesterday’s message at church was good in this regard too. The pastor referenced some social media posts he’d seen recently, alluding to a weekend not being enough time to “recover” from a 40-hr week, etc, before contrasting that with Hagar’s situation and reminding us that God has called us to do hard things.

  5. Oh, friend – we are both mixing with faith today! I love the word history with “reckon” – it makes me wonder if when we “reckon” it’s going to rain tomorrow – whether it is a statement of firm belief or has it devolved into hedging. Mixing Faith with our Walk and our Words is a statement of firm belief!!!

  6. Love this teaching! This is really the basic principle of the life of faith: to think, to speak and to act believing that God’s words are true. This makes a tremendous difference! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Pingback: October Reflections | Stray Thoughts

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