Around 1846, when the topographical engineer John C. Fremont saw the entrance to San Francisco Bay, it reminded him of a harbor in Turkey called the Golden Horn. He named the mile-wide strait The Golden Gate. Eighty-seven years later, construction began on the bridge that would cross that body of water.
A team of engineers worked on the designs and oversaw the construction of the bridge. They had to build it to withstand powerful ocean tides of up to 7.5 knots, winds of over 70 mph, earthquakes (like the one that hit the area during the World Series in 1989) and heavy traffic (in one day, not long after the earthquake, 162,414 vehicles crossed the bridge).
Before the bridge was opened to traffic, three things had to be considered:
- The bridge either was or wasn’t strong enough to accomplish its task. Opinion didn’t matter. It would hold up or it wouldn’t.
- The engineers had to believe that it would hold up. They wouldn’t have allowed traffic to cross if they thought the bridge would collapse.
- They had to believe that the bridge would continue to stand up to its load. It wouldn’t have been good enough if there was a chance that at some unknown moment in the future, it might fail.
(The San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge provided an example of trusting something that wasn’t trustworthy. It collapsed during the 1989 earthquake.)
So where are we going with this? Those same three factors come into play when we consider God’s words.
- His words are either true or untrue. Opinion doesn’t matter. (John 17:17b: Your word is truth.)
- We have to believe that we can rely on them at this moment. (Psalm 119:42b: I trust in Your word.)
- We have to know that we will always be able to rely on them in the future. (Psalm 119:74b: I have hoped in Your word.)
“Hope,” as it is used in Psalm 119:74 and throughout the Bible, doesn’t mean “wish” or “want,” as in “I hope it’s nice out tomorrow.” Rather, it means faith in the future. It’s an absolute confidence that God will do what He has promised.
God’s words are true because God is truth. He cannot be wrong, and so His words cannot be wrong. They are an extension of His nature. He is worthy of trust, now and forever.