• Jack Selcher

The Character of God

Even with the best intentions, we sometimes forget our promises. God doesn’t. He remembers and keeps His promises.

On His journey from Jericho to Jerusalem. Jesus sent two disciples to Bethphage to return with a donkey’s colt. Why didn’t they bring back some symbol of royalty? It was because God remembered His promise in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The disciples saddled the colt with their outer garments. Jesus mounted it and rode toward Jerusalem. Spontaneously, the crowd of pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem spread their garments and also branches on the road in front of Jesus to honor Him. They shouted “Hosanna,” an exclamation of praise. They quoted Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.”

Mark probably sees a fulfillment of Genesis 49:10, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.” God keeps His promises.

I once bought a Midas muffler for my car. Midas promised to replace it for free if it ever went bad. It did. They kept their promise. A promise is only as good as the trustworthiness of the one who stands behind it. God’s trustworthiness guarantees He’ll fulfill His promises.

Everyone trusts in something. Some trust science. Some trust friends. Some lean on leaders. Many trust only themselves. Genuine believers trust God in life’s ups and downs.

God requires fruit (Mark 11:12-19). Jesus cursed a fig tree. It symbolized Israel. It was covered with leaves but without fruit. Likewise, the glory of the Temple and its ceremonies veiled Israel’s failure to produce the fruit God demanded. Jesus cleansed the Temple market because it wasn’t what it appeared to be. It was financially exploiting people.

The fig tree and the cleansing of the Temple teach that outward show makes God terribly angry. He expects fruit. You aren’t saved by producing fruit. But you probably aren’t saved without it either. A life in tune with God produces fruit. Fruit includes helping others come to know Jesus (John 15:1–8); serving other believers (1 Corinthians 16:15); love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23); good works (Colossians 1:10); desiring the best for others (Philippians 4:17); and a praising God lifestyle (Hebrews 13:15).

God rewards faith (Mark 11:20-26). The day after Jesus cursed the fig tree He taught the disciples a lesson on faith. Faith in God accomplished the withering of the tree. Jesus exhorted His disciples to exercise a similar faith in God. Faith that moves mountains means that faith expressed through prayer can overcome the greatest imaginable problems. God rewards faith that leans its entire weight on His promises.

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