I’ve been reading about the Israelites a lot lately. It’s always so aweing to me how I can read the same passage or verse of scripture over and over again, and God always uses it differently when He speaks to me. This time God has really been emphasizing promises, and that no matter the obstacles we face, He always keeps his promises to us.
Often times, we’ll say something like this to someone, “I promise that I’ll ________________.” Sometimes we even say, “I pinky promise…,” because that really solidifies the promise when you hook pinkies! Think about this: has someone told you that they promised to do something, and it never happened? Or, have you ever told someone that you promise to do something, but never did? If you’re like me, you can probably answer yes to both of these questions.
The more times were told, “I promise…” and it never happens, the more distrust we begin to have in people and their word. Unfortunately, we tend to lump God into the same category as man when it comes to promises. There’s many people throughout scripture who fell victim to this same way of thinking:
Sarah (Abraham’s wife) laughed when God promised that she would give birth to a son for Abraham. She tried to “help God out” by giving her servant to her husband so that she could have a child for him.
The Israelites doubted God’s good will towards them and rebelled against Him, bringing a whole slew of problems on themselves. They whined about the food God was providing them, made idols to worship, and much more. The generation that did this wasn’t allowed to enter the land that God promised them; it was their children who eventually took possession of the land that God promised them!
Although God didn’t say his promise to Joseph, he showed him in a dream that he would one day be in a position of power that caused even his brothers to bow down to him. Joseph was in his teen when he had this dream, and by the time it came true, he was already married and had two sons of his own. Not to mention that along the way, he was sold into slavery and even spent years in a dungeon locked up for a crime he was falsely accused of committing! Can you imagine some of the doubt that had to cross his mind? As time passed, I have to believe that the human side of Joseph kicked in and he had his moments of doubting that his dream even happened!
But here’s the thing about God; when He makes a promise, He ALWAYS keeps it. He doesn’t need us to “help him out” by trying to make things work out on our own. He doesn’t need us to whine and complain about the obstacles we may face along the way. And just because His promise isn’t being fulfilled in our time frame [like Joseph’s story], that does not mean that God is going back on his word. All of these things are in place to help purify our hearts and minds. “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” [1 Peter 1:7].
What is it that God has promised you that you are still waiting on? Has he ever promised you something in the past and kept His word to see it through? Think back on these times, all the things that God has already done in your life, and be encouraged today!
“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Numbers 23:19 [parallel verse Hebrews 6:18]