In Rev 22:6 and in Rev 21:5 we are told that God’s words are ‘trustworthy and true.’ It can be hard for us to trust God’s words. We are used to hearing lies on a daily basis: the lies of politicians, the lies of well-meaning people who nevertheless do not follow God’s ways, the lies of our own hearts and the lies of the enemy (whom Jesus described as a thief, liar and murderer, lies being his native language.) We don’t always even realise that lies are being fed to us; lies can seem so plausible, rational and reasonable, and without the yardstick of God’s truth, we can easily believe lies and not even recognise them as falsehood.

What God says, on the other hand, upsets our natural way of thinking. The gospel message of unearned favour, outrageous grace, radical forgiveness and unconditional love, not to mention God’s absolute purity and holiness, upsets our sensibilities and becomes the stone which makes us stumble (see Rom 9:33, 1 Pet 2:8). No wonder that John is reminded twice that God’s words are trustworthy and true. Even when they seem fantastical or hard to understand, we can build our lives upon these words (Matt 7:24-27) and can, therefore, have confidence and hope when life is difficult and bewildering. We can build our lives upon God’s words and remain strong even in the storms of life.