Sometimes we sing, “Every promise in the book is mine, every chapter, every verse, every line.” I hope the promise in Hebrews 13:5-6 is one that you own. The writer to the Hebrews closes his book with several statements of truth his readers need to understand and practice.
If we could just set our minds on this promise, memorize it, pray it to our Lord and ask Him to help us believe it and live according to it, our lives would be changed. The verses are simple, the promise eloquent. We must not miss the power of it. “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5–6).
The writer to the Hebrews stops preaching and starts meddling in Hebrews 13:5. He tell us how we should live. “I am going to be bold and tell you how you must live in view of the reality of salvation in Christ Jesus. You must live lives free from greed and full of contentment.”
We would probably respond, “Great how do we do that?” It takes supernatural ability to be content. Being content is not being lazy. It is being satisfied with what God provides for us at any particular moment in our lives, while we actively strive to be all that God wants us to be.
Paul described how difficult contentment is in Philippians 4. “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11–13). Paul learned how to be content over the long run of his life. However, it was not just his learning, it was also the Lord Christ’s supernatural provision that made it possible for Paul to be content. How then can we learn how to do this?
We become content by learning, believing, and making this promise ours. “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
God said it. If we have learned anything from our politicians, we’ve learned a promise is only as good as the character of the one making the promise. If he is a liar, the promise is unreliable. However, if he is a person of integrity, the promise will be kept. God Himself made the promise here. I love the emphasis, God, HIMSELF, said. The one making this statement is not one who changes with the wind. The eternal God who is holy and changes not said this.
God said it many times. This is probably a quote from Deuteronomy 31:6 and 8. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” This is also the promise the Lord made to Joshua that He would never leave or forsake Him. “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5.
The writer of Hebrews puts this Old Testament promise in a New Testament setting. We of the New Covenant can believe and hold on to this promise because it belongs to us. The Lord Jesus Himself applied the promise to us in Matthew 28:19-20. “’Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
God said it emphatically. Our Lord has promised He will never under any circumstances or for any reason will not leave us nor for any reason or under any circumstances will he forsake us. We absolutely must get this truth. I don’t want you to just take my word for this. I have included the quote on the double negative statements in New Testament Greek from Daniel Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. “This is the strongest way to negate something in Greek. One might think that the negative with the subjunctive could not be as strong as the negative with the indicative. However, while οὐ + the indicative denies a certainty, οὐ μή + the subjunctive denies a potentiality.” The Amplified Bible labors to get this point across to us. “For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] [Josh. 1:5.].”
Do you remember the many times God has proven this promise to you? Do you think about others who told you how He has been faithful to them? Do you remember the countless times our God has refused to abandon and forsake His covenant people? Do you remember how He always came through for them? When we are like Jacob and think everything is against us, remember everything is all for us, we just cannot see it!
Have you ever been like Peter? You were so sure under no circumstances and in no way you would ever abandon Christ? You were ready to die for His sake, or at least you think you were. Then trouble came, and you like Peter forgot to be faithful. You were afraid, but He still never left you nor did He forsake you and He never, ever, ever will.
The divinely inspired writer to the Hebrews started out by telling us how we should live. On this side of the promise he tells us how we can live.
Because we believe the promise and our hearts and minds are stayed on the one who made the promise, we can live above fear. “So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” “Oh, Mr. Writer, others may be able to live this way, but surely not me.” Yes, you and I of little faith, we can have our faith increased by remembering, repeating, and holding onto this promise.
The writer borrows a statement from Psalm 118:6. “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” We know we can because God in His Word tells us of others who did live this way. Will we try?
Are you one who knows the Lord Jesus Christ by faith? Do you know you are a sinner and that He died to pay for sin? Will you believe and receive Him so that this promise may be yours? If you do, this will be the beginning of the best year of your life.