Tag Archives: Genesis 15:1-6

I Promise

Thanks to http://angelkath.deviantart.com/art/keep-the-promise-44344052

prom·ise [prom-is]  noun, verb, prom·ised, prom·is·ing. 

noun 

1. a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one: unkept political promises. 

2. an express assurance on which expectation is to be based: promises that an enemy will not win. 

3. something that has the effect of an express assurance; indication of what may be expected.

A promise is a commitment…

Genesis 15:1-6

The Lord’s Promise to Abram

15 Later the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision, “Abram, don’t be afraid! I will protect you and reward you greatly.”

But Abram answered, “Lord All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children. And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own. You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything.”

The Lord replied, “No, he won’t! You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky and see if you can count the stars. That’s how many descendants you will have.” Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord was pleased with him.

Thanks to: http://www.ForestWander.com [CC-BY-SA-3.0-us (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

God promised Abraham that he would reward him and protect him.  Yet Abraham still wants more.  He wants children, and God promises him he will have many descendants.

To be honest, I’m a bit jealous of this promise to Abraham.  He tells God what he wants, and God promises to fulfil it – in abundance.  It all seems so simple.  Yet life is not always like that.

How many of us cry out to God for something that we want, and yet we never see it, never receive that same promise from God.  It’s enough to make you lose faith in God ( or yourself?  Maybe it’s me?  I’m not as good/worthy as Abraham)

Why does God promise this to Abraham?  Why doesn’t he promise it to me?  Is it a general promise that whatever we want, God will provide; or a specific and necessary promise to Abraham.

I genuinely think it is the latter.  We hear lots in the bible about promises God does keep, but I suppose no one bothered recording the ones they didn’t think he had!  There were people who had to struggle with their life as it was, seemingly with God not answering their pleas.  Think Job, think my hero Habakkuk.  We cry out to God, and it appears to make no difference, it seems he’s not listening – or if he does he ignores us.  We long for things to be different.  Our heart breaks.  Our lives are lived in despair.  Why is God not answering my longing?

And you read passages like this and it all seems so simple.

Yet, faith is just that, as we considered last week. If we believe in God, part of that is trusting him.  Allowing him to do what is right, not what we want.  And relying on him to sustain us in our pain and frustration; to wipe our tears, hold us safely in his arms as we sob, and giving us the strength when we think we can no longer go on with how things are.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Trust in a Time of Trouble

17 Fig trees may no longer bloom,
    or vineyards produce grapes;
olive trees may be fruitless,
    and harvest time a failure;
sheep pens may be empty,
    and cattle stalls vacant—
18 but I will still celebrate
because the Lord God
    saves me.
19 The Lord gives me strength.
He makes my feet as sure
    as those of a deer,
and he helps me stand
    on the mountains.

I do think God keeps his promises, ultimately.  The answers may not be what we think they should be, they may not be as spectacular as Abraham’s was, they may take longer than we think (remember Abraham took matters into his own hand when he thought God wasn’t delivering on this promise quick enough – God has a time and a place).  But God is faithful and true.  He is worthy of our faith and trust, he delivers on his promises, whether we recognise it or not.  But we have to give him the scope to fulfil them his way and in his time.  And allow him to give us the strength to hang on in there while he does.

Thank you Lord
for your promises.
I don’t always understand them,
sometimes I want to push them,
to make them work the way I want.

Thank you Lord,
that you know what is the very best,
for me
and for the complex web that is the world.

Thank you
that you hold me tight,
when it feels that my world is falling apart,
not following the path I expected,
not fulfilling my dreams.

Thank you
that you never let me go,
that however much it feels like it at times,
I will not drown,
that you have a deeper purpose in and through me,
that your promises are not in vain
– though sometimes unexpected.

Lord,help me not to be blinkered
in what I see
and what I fail to see

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Keeping the faith

Faith is confidence and trust in someone or something.  It is defined as a belief not based on proof – but it can be belief based on previous experience, and the previous experience of others.

God made an outrageous promise to Abram.  Not only does he promise to protect and reward him, but also that he will have a son of his own.  We know that Sarai, Abarm’s wife, is well past child-bearing age.  Abram’s chances of fatherhood are over – but not in God’s ways.

God had previously called Abram out of his own country, to a land that he would show him.  God had kept his promises to Abram before – and now he is going to do it again.  God promises, Abram believes and God is able to work.  Abram has nothing to go on than that God has kept his promises to him in the past, so he trusts what God says to him now.

The reading from Hebrews reminds us that faith makes us sure of the things we hope for and proof of what we cannot see.  That’s not the things we hope for like an ice cream or a nice day, but eternal hope.  Treasure stored in heaven.  Faith in God is what gives us the strength to go on.  We can have faith because he has kept his promises before.

Further into Hebrews 11 we are reminded of how Abram walked by faith.  He did what God asked him, however ridiculous or outrageous it seemed, and God came through on his promises.  These people had faith to keep walking towards God’s promises.

God continues to call us today.

God’s callings do not always make sense! But they can always be trusted.

When God called me to ministry it made no sense at all.  Me??  I had my life sorted.  But God called me.

When we moved into ministry we were caught up in negative equity selling our house.  This really isn’t convenient Lord!  But God called and God provided.

When I became too ill to work, what was that about?  I had been trained and developed skills, but God leads the way.  He has continued to provide and lead us in new and different ways.

Who knows what will happen next?  But I know that God is leading and we follow in faith.

When I was thinking of candidating for the ministry (for that you can read fighting with God about it!), I came across this.  I don’t know who wrote it – if you do please let me know – but it was one of the final pieces of the jigsaw, that stopped me being able to run away from God’s way, and to reach out and follow his call – by faith.

Who us?

And the Lord said, “Go!”

And we said, “Who us?”

And he said, “Yes, you”.

And we said, “But we’re not ready yet

And there’s company coming.

And we can’t leave the kids,

And you know there is no-one to take our place.”

And he said, “You’re stalling”.

Again the Lord said, “Go”.

And we said, “But we don’t want to”.

And we said, “Listen, we’re not that kind of people

To get involved so deeply, besides

Our family wouldn’t like it.

And what will the neighbours think?”

And he said, “Baloney”.

And yet a third time the Lord said, “Go!”

And we said, “Do we have to?”

And he said, “Do you love me?”

And we said, “Look, we’re scared.

People are going to reject us.

And cut us up into little pieces.

And we can’t take it all by ourselves.”

And he said, “Where do you think I’ll be?”

And the Lord said, “Go!”

And we sighed, “Here we are Lord, send us”

Each day we can have the faith to step out walking with God.  He is faithful.  He will never abandon us.  He has faith in us, can we live in faith of him?

At times we walk by faith, not by sight.  But it is not blind faith.  It is in the faith of the amazing God who has been calling and leading for generations.  We are privileged to be invited to join that walk, and receive all he has to offer us.

Where is God calling you today?  What is he calling you to?  However strange or fantastic it seems, when God calls he leads and he provides.