Summary: The importance of believing in God's promises.
Last week we started looking at the life of Abraham and the lessons that his life has for us.
This week we look at his promises, and our promises, from God.
Read Gen 12: 2-3 and Gen 13: 14-17
So it is pretty easily to see from those two scripture verses, that God promises Abram that his offspring will become a great nation. He also promises him certain land that his people will own,
There are three things we have to know about the Promises that God makes to us. First, they take time, There are a lot of different phrases that tell us things like this. “Good things come to those who wait.” Or “patience is a virtue”.
Have you heard the phrase “In God’s timing”?
We will talk about that in a minute
The second thing, God’s promises have always come true.
And the third thing we will call “the deal”, or “If you do this”.
Let’s get back to the first thing we need to know about the promises God made to Abraham.
When God first approaches Abram, he is living in the city of Ur. God tells him, if you listen to me, your descendants will be many, they will be so many people will call them a nation. What we also notice is God did not say when this would happen, and Abram didn’t ask. God told him, if you go where I ask you, your people your offspring will be blessed and taken care of. Your enemies will be cursed. That’s’ pretty cool don’t you think?
Well lets see if that works for you and I. He gives us much the same promise We find in the book of John, many promises to you and I. If we believe in Him, with our heart, with our mind and with our hands, we are promised eternal life, a place with no suffering, a place with no sickness or disease. Back to Abraham. He is promised for his obedience, a son. Which of course is how his descendants will grow into a great nation. Do you remember the obedience test with Abraham? He takes Isaac to the altar, knowing that God has asked that he be sacrificed. And he lays him there, and gets ready to sacrifice the son God sent him. That must have been the hardest thing he ever had to do in his life. If you think about it, God asks us to lay our lives on the altar as well. In Abraham’s time, God blessed him for his obedience. He still does that for people today. Our promises include answered prayers, the gift of salvation, and forgiveness for the mistakes we have made. Even things like grace and mercy, and promises from God, if we exhibit those things with those people around us. These were some pretty unbelievable promises that God made to Abram. After all he was already 75 years old when God spoke to him. And yet, because he was obedient, every single one of the promises came true.
As I pointed out earlier, the second thing about God’s promises we all need to know, is that God does not promise they will all be taken care of today. The first promise God gave Abraham, actually happened after he died. His people did become a great nation, too many to count in fact. And while they did own some land right away, they did not inherit all the land for another 500 years. Even the promise about having offspring, in this case a son, took another 25 years to come true, but it did.
I’ve said it many times and here it is once again. There are about 2500 prophesies in the Bible, and about 2000 of them have been fulfilled to the letter. The chances of 1 prophecy being fulfilled perfectly is about 1 in 10. The odds of 2000 of them being fulfilled, is 1 in a 1 with 2000 “0’s” behind it.
We have no reason, no excuse to believe that God’s promises do not come true, or that He cannot do as He says. He has done so more times than we can even count. Yes, Abraham had to wait a long time for some of his promises, some even after he died. We are exactly the same. The mercy and grace, we can expect to see those here in our own lifetime, of we are obedient to the promise. Eternal life, forgiveness for our mistakes, those we can expect later.
The third thing, as I pointed out earlier, is what I call the “deal”. What I mean there is this. When God spoke to Abraham in Ur, he began with, “Go to the place I show you”. And he went. Not knowing where it was or how far away or if he was ever coming back, he went. That is faith, that is obedience. If we do a bit of research into the Hebrew Language and Greek words in the New Testament, we realize words like faith and believe, mean more than we think they do. Both of these words in the original text include action with thinking. I said earlier about believing with our head, with our heart and with our hands, that is what these two words mean. Faith, as John writes it, as Christ spoke it, meant believing so strongly that a person was willing to act upon their belief. Not just call themselves a believer, but to show God, to show others with their actions, that they were believers, that they had faith. That is what Abraham was called to. He was called to show his belief in God with action, and here is the big lesson for the day, so are we. Spoken words can mean nothing, and in todays society, they usually do, but obedience through action, now that is something.