As Surely as the Sun Rises
19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne.’” Jeremiah 33:19-21 NIV
Dear Church Family,
In technical theological language, an “attribute” of God is any quality or characteristic that is inherent to his being. For example, if wisdom is an attribute of God (and it is), then God is “by nature” wise—which is to say that he is ALWAYS wise; he can’t be unwise.
One of the most important attributes of God mentioned in the Bible is his “faithfulness.” There are several terms used to describe this. In Hebrew, hesed (or chesed) is often translated as “steadfast love.” You may have sung the song, based on Lamentations 3:22-23 that goes, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” That is the heart of God’s faithfulness to us; we can trust that he will ALWAYS love us.
Another important biblical term is “covenant.” The two ideas of faithfulness and covenant go naturally together, for it is primarily within his covenant relationships that God is faithful. God made a covenant with David that is unbreakable. Now, this doesn’t mean that every descendent of David is, regardless of lifestyle or belief, included in this covenant. It was possible for individual Israelites to break God’s covenant and experience judgment (see Achan in Joshua 7).
However, just because an individual might stray from God, that doesn’t mean that God’s covenant with David is annulled. This is the subject of Jeremiah 33:19-21. God uses the imagery of night and day to emphasize that humans cannot invalidate his past covenant with David anymore than we can stop the cycle of night becoming day becoming night again. That is because nothing humans can do can diminish the faithfulness of God in any way. In the words of 2 Timothy 2:13 (ESV): “if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”
That last phrase, “for he cannot deny himself,” is striking. We’re not used to saying there is something God cannot do. In this case, however, we should take great comfort in the fact that God cannot deny himself. That is really just another way of saying he is faithful. We don’t want a God who can “deny himself.” Why? Because that would mean he could not be trusted; he might change into some other kind of God. Hebrews 6:18 actually says it is impossible for God to lie. It might seem odd to think that God’s inability to lie is a strength, but it just means that he has the attribute of complete honesty; he is “able” to never lie, if you will. The human “ability” to lie is actually a weakness. You can think of it as our inability to be true to our word. God, however, has the strength to never contradict himself. He never lies, never breaks promises, and always loves. It’s not just what he does; it’s what he is. Meditate on that thought today.