for his people?

In church this morning it was emphasized that the promises of God are given to his people, not to individuals. It might seem like a strange thing to emphasize, but I've heard this before, usually promoting community involvement as the way to experience the kingdom of God. It's also offered as an explanation of why there are so many individual cases when it doesn't seem like God is fulfilling his promises. The idea is that God gives enough to his people, but when some of his people take too much or ignore their brother's needs, then resources aren't spread fairly and needs go unmet and it seems like God failed. So God is always faithful—to his people as a whole—but if his people do not love each other well, then some promises of God will remain unfulfilled for some individuals.

Thank God this isn't true.

If it was, God's promises wouldn't be worth much. Then God's promises would only be as reliable as we are—which isn't very reliable. I'd hate to think my experience of the kingdom of God (here and now, as Jesus offered) was dependent on the good will of others, even my fellow Christians. I wouldn't risk much based on that. And I wouldn't want God's promises being dependent on me, either.

Just think, if God's promises to Jesus had been dependent on the people of God, then he would have ended exactly where the people of God left him. Dead. In a tomb.

I should say here that I do think that many of God's promises are fulfilled through the good will of his people. I've experienced this myself again and again. And I'm very grateful for it. But if this was all, I would have been left out in the cold (literally) more times than I'd like to think about. God often works through his people—and God also often works despite his people. Taking our ill will (or indifferent will, or fearful will) and working his good will anyway, fulfilling his promises anyway.

When Jesus offered the promises of God, he never added the caveat "for his people as a whole (individual results may vary)."

Thank God.