At the start of the New Year, many people make plans. Some write their plans in a journal. Some pen them on a white board. Others merely make mental notes. These plans might include getting up earlier, having daily devotions, making a certain number of business calls each day, gaining more muscle, loosing more fat, exercising daily, reading a book a week, memorizing scripture, saving or giving away a certain percentage of income, being home by a certain time, going on a weekly date with your spouse, etc …. Yes, the list can go on and on.
However, by the month of May, there will be three groups of people:
- Those who made plans and are in the process of performing them.
- Those who made plans and have failed to perform that which they planned.
- Those who never made plans because they knew they would not perform that which they planned.
Friends, there is a good chance you are in this third group. Why? Because for years you have made New Year’s resolutions and failed to perform them. Therefore, you find it more honest, safe, honorable, realistic, and less humiliating to merely carry-on as usual and not engage in the process of futility one more time. Yes, you have no appreciation for “big talkers” who make “big promises” and fulfill not that which they proclaim. For you, it is better not to make New Year’s resolutions than to make them and break them again.
However, God is different. God is one who plans, promises, and performs, and nothing gets in the way of his keeping his word. When it comes to his covenantal commitments, nothing stops God from loving his people and bringing about the salvation he has promised. When God makes resolutions, he is resolved to keep them, and he has never found himself in either the second or third categories listed above.
Friends, this is what we see in Matthew 1.* God has seen the wickedness of men, and he has developed a plan to save them. Following his planning period, God made a promise to mankind informing them of his salvific plan. He repeated this promised to his elect people over and over again. Then, throughout the centuries, God busied himself performing all that he had planned and promised. Matthew 1 gives a snapshot of God’s sovereign performance to keep his resolutions:
- God worked through men
- God worked through women
- God worked through notable individuals
- God worked through not noted individuals
- God worked through each and every generation
- God worked through believers who were sometimes faithful
- God worked through believers who were oft times unfaithful
- God worked through unbelievers who were always unfaithful
- God worked through sanctified decisions and actions
- God worked through sordid decisions and actions
- God worked through Jews
- God worked through Gentiles
- God worked through seasons of joy and prosperity
- God worked through seasons of suffering and pain
- God worked through normal circumstances
- God worked through abnormal circumstances
- God worked through miraculous circumstances
Through it all, in it all, God was resolved to keep the resolutions he had made. The Messiah was coming. He was coming through the womb of a virgin. Nothing was going to stop the Almighty Promise Maker from performing that which he had planned and promised.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:22-23
Why did Matthew spend so much time outlining the birth of Jesus? Matthew was a Jew writing to Jews about the Promised Jew. Matthew did not wish for God’s Chosen People to miss the fact that God had performed that which he had planned and promised. “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken.” All this took place to fulfill the resolutions of God.
Friends, who are disciples of Jesus Christ, do you see how God has planned on gracing and loving you? He knew you and loved you before you knew and loved him. Let this be of great encouragement to you. God has the biggest of plans for you this year, next year, and for every year thereafter. His interests include your best interests.
Friends in the church, do you see how God has made great promises to you? He has promised you freedom from divine wrath and a corresponding peace with God. He has promised you salvation from the condemnation of sin, the guilt of sin, and addiction to sin. Christian, God has promised to dwell with you today, and he has promised to take you to dwell with him tomorrow. These are only some of his great plans he has promised to you. His resolutions are grandiose.
Friends, in the family of God, do you see how nothing can get in the way of the unstoppable love of God for you? Do you see how nothing can keep God from performing all that he has planned and promsied? His resolutions are grandiose, and so too is his resolve. There is no decision, no action, no individual, no nation, no election, no nothing that can separate you from the love of God. There is nothing than can thwart his mighty hand.
He promised to come, in his own good timing, through the womb of a virgin. He did what he promised.
He has promised to love you today regardless of your faithlessness. He does what he has promised.
He has promised to come tomorrow and rescue you from the thorns and thistles of his curse. He is coming. He is going to keep his Word.
Your God is faithful and true. His commitment to his plan and his love for you is unstoppable. Sure, make your resolutions and keep them. But through it all, rejoice in the God who makes his own set of resolutions, and is resolved to keep them. God never fails!
* Matthew 1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.