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the promised one :: lesson six

Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. Genesis 15:1

I loved reading through God’s promises to Abraham and thinking through how God expanded and clarified those promises throughout his life. “We see in Abraham’s experience that God kept his promises. But they certainly didn’t come about in the timing or the way that Abraham and his offspring expected” (p159-160). Can you relate?

I identified with the person who Nancy describes as plucking a promise out of the Bible and claiming it with little thought to the context of that promise (p160). Have you done that? I know I have. She says,

“We become so focused on God’s fulfilling his promises in the here and now, in physical ways we can see and feel and enjoy in this life. In the process we diminish and discount the spiritual and eternal nature of God’s promises. Often the spiritual and eternal nature of God’s promises seem to us to be somehow less than, even a copout on God’s really delivering on his promises” (p171).

That’s me. Especially as I struggled through Cora’s cancer and death. I wanted God’s promises of healing and blessing to apply right then and there. And they did, but I was looking at God’s promises in a self-gratifying here and now sort-of way. His promises weren’t unfolding in my life as I expected. Instead, I didn’t feel like I saw any evidence of God’s power or His presence in my circumstances at all. And honestly, I felt a little let down and confused. I am learning that when I know God I can be confident that He will always act according to His character…even when I don’t understand. Our God always keeps His promises. We see that here in Abraham’s life and we can be confident of it in our own lives as well. This chapter was a good reminder to read God’s promises in the perspective of His bigger story, to not diminish the spiritual and eternal nature of these promises, to take hold of these promises now, to use these promises as an anchor for my soul in my current circumstances, and to wait expectantly for the day when Christ returns and all His promises made to Abraham and his descendants will be fulfilled for all eternity.

“God is in the process of bringing about fulfillment of all his promises. And he is so good to give us tastes and glimpses of what is to come. These tastes and glimpses are meant to nurture our longing for the day Abraham longed for, the day when faith becomes sight. This will be the answer to all of our deepest longings; this day will deliver our greatest joy. This will be the day when Christ comes again” (p167).

What a day of rejoicing that will be!

A day worth waiting for.

A day worth longing for.

Lord, thank you that we are made righteous and justified solely through putting our faith in Jesus and because of that I can stand firm on your promises. Nurture my longing for the day when Christ will return and all your promises will be fulfilled for all eternity.

Your turn: What was encouraging or challenging to you as you studied the life of Abraham and God’s promises to him?

This is an online study of The Promised One by Nancy Guthrie.

You can find all the study information here and here.

Past lessons can be found here: lesson one

lesson two

lesson three

lesson four

lesson five

  • EricaG - Abraham’s story offers many challenges. Next week will be a doozy! But aside from the issue of Isaac’s near sacrifice, I find the most challenging part to be God’s call for Abraham to leave his family and his home with very little instruction beyond that. God doesn’t give Abraham the long-range plan. His promises are seemingly vague. The plan rolls out step by step in God’s time, and Abraham (we!) must take it as it comes.

    In 2011, my husband and I felt God calling us to a new job 1000 miles from our home and everyone we knew. At the time we had two little boys and a brand new baby girl. We had been surrounded by family our whole lives, and we were nervous about starting a new life alone. (As an aside, modern technology allowed us to connect with family and friends through Facebook and Skype. Abraham’s good-byes would likely have been for life.) We trusted that God would provided everything we needed. Not just work, food, and shelter, but also community support, friendship, and a church family. How could we have doubted His care? He provided in amazing, even miraculous ways! BUT…here we are–not even two years later–and a job has been provided near our family again. This month, we made the move of 1000 miles AGAIN, and I am struggling with trusting God again. Sure, we have our family nearby, but we cannot afford our own home until our “new” house sells. Living with in-laws is challenging. We’ll have to find a new church and homeschool community, but these things do not come easily. I feel afraid, confused, and anything but “normal.”

    This week’s lesson challenges me to be trusting in uncertainty, to rejoice in God’s presence even when I don’t know what He is up to! I’m thinking, too, of last week’s point about significance. I realize that I find significance in my role as mother and homemaker. Now that we are not in our own home and all of our routines are disrupted, I feel frazzled and disconnected. These two weeks of study are pushing me to settle in Christ alone. So hard!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • EricaG - (I must add that my husband’s parents are AMAZING people. They are endlessly generous, supportive, and kind. I’m grateful that they–and my own parents–have taken us in, but the situation is challenging nonetheless.)ReplyCancel

  • Deb - I was encouraged to see how very patient God was with Abraham. It helped me to realize that God is patient with me too. That I don’t have to “have it all together”… He will be there to guide and help me.ReplyCancel