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.
Past lessons can be found here: lesson one