“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” – Genesis 13:1-3.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep was one of the common maxims in business. It is wide advice as it was accepted that it is better to turn business away rather than disappoint. Promises are hard to keep, and we will experience unfulfilled promises. It is a pretty common struggle in life.
The Bible confirms that fact. Adam and Eve invite sin and death into our world. Cain kills Abel, even after God warns him about the evil lurking in his heart. And there’s nearly everyone else: “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil” (Genesis 6:5). It would be easy to imagine God having enough. But in Genesis 12, God does something tremendously gracious: He chooses to befriend an elderly man and bless him beyond all imagination.
The promises God made to Abraham in Genesis 13, seem too big for reality: descendants enough to replace the stars in the sky and a name known far and wide to name two. These promises seem so removed from our everyday lives that we tend to leave them in the past, there among the tents and flocks of Abraham and Sarah. But the New Testament tells us that these promises are actually ours in Christ.
When we read God’s Word, we find God’s promises. Though it can be difficult to know how to apply them to our lives—or even if we should—the Bible makes an amazing claim that is itself a promise: All of God’s promises are “Yes” in Jesus: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
What are God’s promises? There are too many to list here, but when you hold your Bible you are holding God’s promises to you. Some of the spiritual promises are the continued forgiveness of sins, our sanctification, supplying us with strength and peace in trials, and preserving us to the end.
It’s easy to become disappointed when we lump God in with humans who can’t keep their every promise, no matter how good their intentions are. But God wants to, can, and will fulfill His promises to us. No matter how long we may have to wait, they will ultimately come to pass. He never fails in His promises. We need to pray daily for God to fulfill His promises in our lives and we must ask Him to give us the patience we need to wait and trust.
- Do you tend to trust promises or react with skepticism? Why?
- How do you think the promises that people have broken in your life have affected your ability to trust God’s promises?
- If you completely accepted God’s promises, how would your life be different?