Salvation is a Promise! 

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Salvation is a promise. But it doesn’t just come to us without action on our part. You know something I just noticed in this verse. I guess I have always thought belief in our heart must come first before confession. But look here at this verse. This verse says confess then it says believe. Hmm I wonder about this order here.

You know I have often heard that we can speak things into existence and maybe in a way that is what this is saying. If your heart is having trouble believing you speak it there first. You confess that Jesus is Lord then your heart will follow with belief in the fact that God raised Him from the dead. And when we do that when we speak Jesus is Lord and when our heart really believes our salvation is sealed! Our heart justifies us. What does that even mean? 

In Jeremiah it says that “the heart is deceitful above all things.” (Jer. 17:9) I wonder if we need to speak our confessions sometime to convince our heart to follow suit. Because our heart will bounce around and not be grounded in the fact. And then when we can know that we know Him and we believe with our whole heart we are justified. I also think when we know Him with our heart our actions will begin to follow Him. And that is what justifies us as well. When we know Him with our whole heart, we want to please Him. Those sins that we struggle with when we were not believers in Him, become less of a struggle because we know Him with our hearts and pleasing Him becomes paramount and we are justified because even though we will still sin, it’s not as easy to brush it off. We feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our hearts which leads to repentance of the sin. 

So backtracking here, Confession is the first step to believing with our whole heart. Most of us who may be reading this have probably got this part down. But just in case, let’s never assume. If you are struggling with unbelief in who Jesus is, you start with confessing Him. You claim Him to be your Lord and Savior. Just like the father of the child who was sick in Mark 9. He had heard about this Jesus and he had heard that he could heal so why not take a chance and ask. And when he says to Jesus “if you can do anything”. Look at Jesus response. 

“And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.’” Mark 9:23

And then: 

“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief’” Mark 9:24

I love the pure honesty in that verse. When Jesus told the father that he must believe, he claimed his belief that Jesus could heal but he was also asking Jesus to help his heart to believe! 

My friends if you are not sure of your salvation, your first step is to confess it. We are promised salvation from our confession. Then believe it in your heart, believe Him who died on the cross for us, and then our hearts are justified with Him. 

Also friends if you are not sure of this and want to talk to someone, send me a private message it would be my honor. And if not me, find a close trusted friend or pastor to discuss it with. 

Draw Near!

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8

This is our focus promise for today. We are moving into our conditional promises of God. For the next couple of weeks we will look at some of the promises of God that require some action on our part. This promise reads pretty simply, but it can seem pretty hard to do. It all depends on how you look at it. 

Man generally likes to say and think “I’m my own boss. I’m in control of my own destiny. I have my own rights” Basically “I’ve got this.” And then when we make a mess of things we want to ask God to come in and clean up our messes. And thankfully many times He does just that for us. The truth is, we are all submitting to something whether we like to think we are or not. It’s just that if we aren’t submitting to God and asking His direction and His will for our lives, we are submitting to the devil. And that is what James is pointing out to us here, when He says “submit to God” and then he says “resist the devil.” We have to make a decision in our minds and in our hearts who we will submit to. The devil is going to try to trip us up anywhere he can. He knows our weaknesses and he knows what to throw our way. 

This is a pretty simple illustration but I have a memory that keeps popping in my mind. I haven’t always been a morning person. In fact in my much younger years, I could stay up really late and sleep until noon. I remember when I was first feeling the draw to this daily quiet time. I was a young mama who kept my friends children in my home. She was a school teacher and had to be at work very early in the morning. I wanted to be there for her as we had both been stay at home mamas together and she was in a position to have to go back to work. But I worried I was falling short of what these children needed from me. At the time my pastor kept preaching on getting in the word daily. Looking at my schedule with 3 preschoolers in my home every day and my oldest child in school the only time I could find to do this was early in the morning. So I started setting my clock to get up early to meet with God. I can remember dragging myself from my bed with voices in my head saying “you don’t need to do this. Don’t you think you need more sleep? You can find time to do this later.” I knew where those voices were coming from. Satan had no desire for me to begin my day with Jesus. And he knew at the time that sleep was my friend. I can remember one particular morning I was at the doorway to my room and I almost turned around and went back to bed. I set my feet firmly and I’m not sure if I said it out loud or not. Probably not since my husband was in the same room still sleeping but in my head I said “NO, I am not going back to bed. I am going to have my quiet time with God and I am going to do this every morning, so devil LEAVE ME ALONE!” Now I know this may sound far fetched to you but I can tell you 26 years into this daily appointment I have, with the exception of sickness or a few times I have had to adjust it because of other things, pretty much gotten up every morning. And for the most part I feel like the devil has left me alone on this one. There are times when we have to get firm with the devil and tell him NO. He is not going to get us on this one. That is submitting to God. 

The rest of this promise “draw near to God and He will draw near to you!” Friends, when you seek Him, when you spend time with Him, He will certainly draw near to you. He is my best friend, He is with me always. Studying His word is one of the greatest delights of my life. He is in my thoughts all day long. I want my life to be authentic and real for Him. I pray that all can see Jesus in me. My pastor preached yesterday on being light for a dark world and I hope that my life is a light for all, for the sinner and the saint. I want others to see Jesus in me and I pray that they will want what I have. I am not saying I never mess up and the devil doesn’t look for and find other ways to get at me. He wants to put out my light. But that is part of the process of drawing near to God. The cleansing of my hands and asking God’s forgiveness for when I get it wrong and asking Him to help me to get it right. I know that not checked my mind wanders all over the place. I can find myself falling into negative thought processes and conversations before quick can get ready. That’s why I have to come to Him daily and ask Him to purify my heart. And when I do that, I do feel Him near to me. I know that as I draw near to Him, He is drawing near to me. 

Jesus Will Come!

“And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight, And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:9-11

For 40 days after his resurrection Jesus had appeared and disappeared to His disciples at different times. He had continued to teach them. He had fed them. He had comforted them. He had assured them when they doubted it was Him. But this time they watched Him ascend into heaven. Can you just imagine the sight? He had just reminded them of the Holy Spirit which would come to them and they wanted to know if this was when He was going to take over. He told them, they (we) would not know the time or the season that the Father has in mind. But when you receive the holy Spirit you should bear witness to Him. And then he started lifting up to heaven. I can understand why they stood there gazing into heaven. I can understand why they were fixed at the sight. When suddenly there were angels there questioning them as to why they were. And the angels said to them. 

“This Jesus,” (the same one that walked with you, the same one that healed the sick, the same one that you ate with and ministered with!) “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, WILL COME (emphasis mine) in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” 

He will come back just as He left. 

He left physically and will so come in like manner.

He left visibly and will so come in like manner. 

He left from the Mount of Olives and will so come in like manner. 

He left in the presence of His disciples and will so come in like manner. 

He left blessing His church and will so come in like manner.

(David Guzik BLB commentary).  

This is a promise and it’s one we can hang our hat on. He will come back. We don’t know the time, we don’t know if this is the last days or not. If it is the last days we don’t know how long they will last. We don’t have any idea if Jesus will return in our lifetime or if we will go to heaven and get to watch from the sidelines. The timing does not matter as much as the being ready for whenever. I may take my last breath and see Jesus or He may return during my lifetime and I see Him in the sky. The thing for me to concern myself with is that I be ready to be on the train when He comes. But we can rest assured He will come back. Scripture says it! He WILL COME! It’s a promise! 

Jesus is Forever! 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Oh how I love Jesus! And I love that He is constant in my life. We talked yesterday about the Word of God never changing and it stands forever. Jesus is the Word in human form and in deity! 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-4

Jesus was in the beginning of time. He was there with God when God made the heavens and the earth. God made them through and with Jesus. Jesus and God are synonymous with each other. Life and light come from them. They set this world into motion. 

Jesus came to earth as a baby and he grew into a man and He ministered and He felt sad and He felt happy and He got angry. But who He is to His core never changed. He was the same the day He was born that He was the day He was crucified. We are people that are always changing. I can’t say that my thought processes haven’t changed over time. I had different things that I thought about as a child and in my young adult years that I have different opinions on now. Jesus is not that way. Everything He thought, felt or did came back to who He is. He didn’t change His mind on issues or on people. He couldn’t lie and His ways are not like our ways nor are His thoughts like our thoughts. He is steadfast and immutable. 

Jesus is the same forever. 

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’” Revelation 1:17-18

Jesus, is eternal. Just as His word stands forever, Jesus is forever! It all comes back to Jesus! You see, I don’t really care what religion you are. What I care about is do you know Jesus? Jesus is the first and the last, He is the beginning and the end! Whatever you are standing on, make sure that it points you back to Jesus. Make sure that Jesus is preached and taught in your churches. Whatever your opinions and thought processes, even your politics, make sure they point back to Jesus! He is the reason I can still get out of bed in the mornings! Because He lives, I can face whatever comes my way. 

He has carried me through things in my life, that I thought may kill me. He has healed my heart and He is daily restoring my soul! He is my everything! And I am so grateful that I can depend on Him! 

I am grateful that I can stand on the promise that He will never change! The same Jesus that walked with the disciples and brought the dead to life and healed people and fed thousands out of almost nothing, is the same Jesus that I talk to every morning and as I go through my day. I may change, my thoughts and my circumstances may change but He never does! 

And I pray that He is the first face I see when I take my last breath on this earth. I want to see Him face to face. And I believe I will! Friends there may not be much you can depend on on this earth. But you can depend on Jesus! 

God’s Word is Forever!

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8

As I sit and ponder how to even write about this promise I am a little intimidated. Okay, maybe a lot intimidated. The verse says it all. The word of God has stood the test of time already. It’s been translated and handed down for centuries. There have been people who have tried to destroy it and failed. I read about a couple. 

There was a Roman Emperor in 303 A.D. who demanded that all copies of scripture be burned. Yet 25 years later another Roman Emperor used government funds to prepare more copies. There was a French guy named Voltaire, he died in 1778 he believed that in 100 years of his lifetime that Christianity would be nonexistent and that the Bible would be forgotten. Fifty years after his death the Geneva Bible Society used his press and his house to produce Bibles. There have been people through the ages who have tried to say this book is not relevant and it’s outdated yet here it stands just like Isaiah said. 

Peter made reference to this scripture in 1 Peter when he was calling on christians to love each other with a pure heart. 

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’” 1 Peter 1:22-25

Peter is calling us to a sincere brotherly love since we are Christians. We have the tried, tested, true word of God to stand on. God’s word does not die! We live in a culture that wants to cancel history, wants to cancel people who disagree with them and wants to cancel ideas that are not in line with their own. But we can be assured that this idea of cancelling will never be able to cancel God’s word. His word says it and reiterates it. The Word of the Lord stands forever! 

I know even today I have sat in many circles where we want to shake our heads and talk about what a sad time we live in. And I am not disputing that things have seemed to go a little crazy over the past couple of years and yes there are a lot of things going on in our world that are downright sad. But we, as Christians can stand firmly on the promise that God’s word stands. It has stood the test of time in the past and it will continue to stand forever! 

You know I have often heard it said and I’ve often said it myself, if you don’t like the way things are just hold on, the one thing in life you can be sure of is change. I don’t always embrace change personally. Therefore I am glad that that is not the case with God and His word! Knowing God and knowing His word is the solid rock that I stand on gives me a peace and security that this world and the circumstances in my world can’t give me. His word stands forever! 

Seasons will come and go. Circumstances will come and go. People will come and go. Life is ever changing and ever involving. Presidents and rulers and ideas will come and go. But we as Christians can stand firmly on the promise that the word of our God will stand forever!!!

God’s Word Works

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

This may be one of my favorite promises from God. I had never before really paid attention to the surrounding passages in context with it but they just make it all the richer and encouraging. God is saying here that just like He sends out the rain and snow down from heaven and that they have a job to do when He sends them so He sends out His word. Rain and snow fall down from heaven. And it does not return back to heaven until it has accomplished watering the earth. We would not have flowers and plants and vegetables without water. The earth would not grow with no water. So the water that comes down from heaven has a job to do. 

God says it’s the same with His word. His word has a job to do when it is spoken, or read, or preached, or taught! And it does not return to him empty, or as other translations say void. The Amplified version carries that void on to say useless, without result. This is what has always been a favorite and an encouragement to me. This is why we want to open our church doors with no judgment on people to come in. And we want the spoken word of the Lord to do it’s work. I have heard testimony after testimony of God’s word piercing someone’s heart that seemed way too far gone to us humans. God is making a statement here, a promise that not only does His word not return to Him void, empty, or useless but it WILL accomplish that which He purposes and it will succeed! I don’t know about you but that is really encouraging for me. For the people I pray for to GET IT! For the people I have prayed for that they will walk with Him to an abundant and better life. And for me! I believe that God’s word still has a work to do in me and that it will until the day I go home to be with Him! 

Looking at this promise reminds me of another verse over in Hebrews chapter 4 

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

God’s word is alive and it has a work to do in our own lives as well as the lives of those we love and sometimes those we don’t love. Sometimes it’s hard to think that God’s word is for even the most heinous people but it is and it can pierce any soul it chooses. I love the way this verse in Hebrews says it will discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart But it also convicts me, at the same time, because I am sure there are times that my heart’s intentions are not what they should be. God’s word has a work to do in my life and in your life too. My prayer is that I will not hinder it’s work and growth in me! 

God’s Righteous Right Hand

The next promise we will look at came to Israel. He is reminding them that they are His chosen people. But in speaking of Jacob the one who was conniving and sometimes untrustworthy as well as Abraham, who God called a friend that there was a family relationship. God is reminding them that they are His servants, He chose them and that they are not cast off. Even when they wonder and maybe feel far from God they are not because He is with them wherever they go! 

“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off’ fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God’ I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:8-10

But let’s not forget that this promise is for us too because we have been adopted into the family of God. 

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

This passage is both a command and a promise. When God says “fear not” we are to take that seriously. We who belong to God are not to live in fear and be riddled with anxiety. We are to place our trust in Him and remember that He is with us no matter what is happening. That doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen but that He will walk us through them when they do. Life is hard! We live in a broken, fallen sinful world. But when we belong to Christ, and have been adopted into the family of God, then we have God with us no matter what is happening. Fear is a scare tactic of Satan. If he can get us to fear then he is undermining our relationship with God. 

The last part of this promise says “I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” In reading and studying this verse a point was made in my commentary that many people worship idols that are made from wood or stone. These idols sometimes have to be tied to something or propped up. But our God holds us up, with His righteous right hand! 

Now I know in our culture most people I know would not be worshipping an idol that was a statue. But we have our idols that we worship too. Some people worship their jobs. They put so much time and attention into their job that it can become an idol to them. Some people worship their cars, if they aren’t careful they think that is a status symbol to show the world they have arrived. Homes can be that way too. And I am sure there are many more things or sometimes people that we put on a pedestal. We don’t think of it as idol worship but if it is more important than your relationship with God, that is what it is. 

But our God holds US up, we don’t hold Him. He is there to help us walk through this life. He is there to give us strength for each day ahead of us. He is there to show us the way in which we should walk and He is there for us to trust and not to fear. When we walk out our days in fear and unbelief we are not trusting Him. It’s like snubbing our nose at who God says He is. I have been guilty of this. And it grieves my heart so much to remember the times I have been guilty of it. It’s like saying that what Jesus did on the cross to bring me into His family was not enough for me to trust Him. I don’t want to be guilty of that anymore. I don’t want to walk in fear of what tomorrow holds. I just want to rest in the promise that no matter what comes my way that my God is going to give me strength and He is going to hold me up with His righteous right hand! 

Kingdom Promises

Let’s go a little further into the Old Testament today to our friend David. We have heard it said that David was a man after God’s own heart. Yet David was not a perfect man. He had a relationship with God but David sinned and he was a man of war. He had gone into battle himself. He sinned with Bathsheba and committed murder. He had her husband killed when Bathsheba was pregnant with David’s child to cover his own iniquity. Yet, when David sinned, he repented and would take steps directed by God to make it as right as he could. David loved God and because of his love for God it bothered David that he lived in a palace and that the Ark of the Covenant lived in a tent. So David decided that he wanted to build a house for God. David had an advisor, a prophet Nathan who he would consult with on such matters. Nathan, the prophet at first said to David, “go ahead, this is a worthy calling, go for it.” 

But that night in a dream the Lord spoke to Nathan and he basically said, “I never asked David to build me a house, that’s not his job to do.” The Lord reminded Nathan to remind David where he had brought him from and how he had established his throne for David to rule the people. The Lord tells David I didn’t ask this of you but this is what I will do for you.

“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:12-16

God was promising David that his very son would not only be the one to build God a house, but that his kingdom would be established through his family. How many of us want to see our children do bigger and better things than we have done. Our desire as we raise our children is that they would grow up to be successful. God made a promise to David that that is what would happen through his son. And it did, Solomon was the successor to David on the throne and Solomon was the one who built the temple. 

But God also carried the promise even further. David knew that God had removed his spirit from Saul because of his sins. But God promises David, when your son sins, I will discipline him but I won’t remove my love from him. Again, when our children do wrong growing up they must be disciplined but we don’t remove our love from them. This is the promise that God made to David. 

Further, God promised David that there would be a successor from his lineage on the throne forever. And yes, that promise was fulfilled through Jesus! Jesus comes from the direct lineage of David! And we know that his kingdom is established forever. We know that we all benefit from this promise! 

God’s Promises are Sovereign

We have talked about Abraham and Isaac and now we need to take a look at Jacob. Jacob was one of Isaac’s sons, he was a twin, his twin brother was Esau. And while Esau was the older of the two, he was not the one God had chosen to carry on the promise that He had given Abraham about multiplying his offspring and making them numerous as the stars. Which would cause quite a struggle between the two brothers that seemingly started in the womb. Scripture tells us that Jacob was born grasping Esau’s heel. I read that there is a significance to this in that day in that the idea of a “heel-catcher” gave the notion of trickster or a con-man. 

Esau was the older of the two, however even when Rebekah felt the struggle going on in her womb and she asked God about it He let her know that the older would serve the younger. This goes against Jewish tradition however, it speaks volumes of God’s sovereignty. 

This story of Jacob and Esau and Isaac and Rebekah has some tragic twists and turns though. First as the boys grew there continued to be a struggle between them. Esau was the hunter type and was favored by Isaac and Jacob was the milder of the two and was favored by Rebekah. However, in this case milder is not considered weak. One of the first significant things that happens in this story as the boys grew was the day Esau gave away his birthright for some stew. Jacob was cooking a stew as Esau came in from hunting and was hungry. Jacob instantly sees Esau’s hunger as an opportunity and when Esau asks for food Jacob says sell me your birthright and I’ll give you the food. Now before we go judging Jacob for asking we also realize that Esau didn’t have to give it away at this point. Esau was all about instant gratification with no thought as to what the consequences would be so yes he sold it. Jacob was a schemer but Esau did not put the value on his birthright. 

In later years as Isaac was getting older and more feeble, the time came for him to give a blessing to his son. So Isaac calls for Esau and asks him to hunt for him and prepare him a meal so that he can bless him. Rebekah, still favoring Jacob and wanting the blessing for Jacob instead of Esau calls on Jacob to deceive Isaac and to get the blessing from him. Rebekah helps her son as she has Jacob go get two goats and she would make food for Isaac that he could take in to his father to deceive him into giving him the blessing. But it doesn’t stop with just the making of the food. She also puts the hair from the skin of the goats on Jacob’s hands and his neck so that when Isaac reaches out and touches Jacob he will think he is touching Esau who is a hairier man than Jacob. Because Isaac’s eyesight is failing him their plan works and Jacob receives the blessing that would have been reserved for the firstborn, Esau as well as his birthright. 

When Esau discovers this deception he vows to kill Jacob. Rebekah who was instrumental in this whole plan realizes that the only way to save her son is to send him away so she asks Isaac to send him away so that he can find a wife from their relatives rather than from the surrounding Canaanite women. One tragedy here is that Rebekah may have saved her son’s life by sending him away but she would never see him again. 

After Jacob leaves his family he finally has an encounter with God. Jacob came to a place to camp all night and he takes a stone and places it where it could serve as a pillow for him and lays his head down to sleep. Jacob then has a dream. In this dream there is a ladder reaching from heaven to earth and there are angels climbing up and down this ladder. And at the top of the ladder was the Lord and he gives Jacob a promise. 

“At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions – to the west and east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.’” Genesis 28:13-15

Jacob woke up from his sleep and he knew that this was even more than a dream. 

“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!’” Genesis 28:16

God’s promises are sovereign. God’s promise that he had made to Abraham, and to Isaac would be carried on through Jacob. Can we go ahead and say that Jacob had done nothing to deserve to be a part of the promise as he had deceived and tricked his brother and his father. Can we recognize that even though God had ordained for the promise to be carried on through Jacob, the family may have gone about it all the wrong way? Yet and still God kept His promise to Abraham and Isaac and He appeared to Jacob to reiterate the promise to Him. I know there have been times in my life where God has blessed me in spite of myself. It wasn’t something I deserved. I am so grateful for the times that God has shown me His kindness and blessing even when I didn’t consult with Him about the way I should go. 

God’s Promises to the Next Generation

Let’s return to Abraham. Well actually Abraham’s son, Isaac. You know the story of Isaac. God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and Abraham was in the process of carrying out God’s request when God stopped him and gave him a ram to sacrifice instead. Well Isaac grew up and Abraham sent his servant back to the land of his kinsman to get a wife for Isaac. The servant did just that and asked for God’s guidance and God did just that and the servant returned with a wife for Isaac. Her name was Rebekah. And it was love at first sight for Isaac and Rebekah! 

Now I have given you that little story in a nutshell. The truth is there is much more to it. But let’s suffice it to say that these people were walking in obedience. They asked God for guidance and they received guidance. That is a lesson for us within itself. I know that for me when I posture myself in a position where I am asking the Lord to guide me in my day to day, in the big things in life as well as in the little things of life, He always comes through for me and shows me my way. Sometimes I get impatient and take matters in my own hands but if I wait for His direction He always comes through. Well that is what Isaac and Rebekah as well as Abraham and Sarah before them had done. This is not to say that they were all perfect. Oh no, if you go back and read, you find that their obedience was not always complete. They were humans, they were people, they made mistakes. Yet God recognized that their heart was turned toward Him and because of that God kept His promises to Abraham and they carried on to the next generation to Isaac. 

Isaac was living in the land that God had promised to Abraham, and you would think that because this was the land God promised that it would all be without problems. But even though Isaac was sitting right in the middle of God’s will, there were still challenges. Isaac’s challenge came in the way of a famine, just as Abraham had gone through. So Isaac, without consulting God, decides to pack up and head towards Egypt. Have you ever done that? Have you ever headed in a direction before you consulted with God about it? And then you wondered why everything didn’t seem to be working out quite like you planned it. I know I have. And sometimes God blesses me in spite of myself but if I have gotten off track of what God’s plans for me are/were there is always something that just makes it harder. Well Isaac was getting off track by heading to Egypt. 

“And the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.” Genesis 26:2-3

God is telling Isaac, stay put. Sometimes when life seems to be getting hard, we just have to stay put don’t we. Well these verses are God confirming His promise to Abraham to Isaac also. And all Isaac has to do to receive this promise is to stay put and to be obedient. There were no other stipulations put on this promise. God carries on: 

“I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statues, and my laws.” Genesis 26:4-5

I love the faithfulness of God from one generation to the next in this story. Because Abraham had been obedient to God, the promises that God had given Abraham would be carried on to the next generation. This does not mean that we can carry our kids on our coattails so to speak, but it does mean that our faithfulness will be remembered with the next generation and the next and the next. When God promised Abraham that his offspring would be blessed what we see here is God carrying out His promise and blessing Isaac. It is important that we walk with God and show our children how to walk with Him also. So that they will see when God makes a promise He is faithful to carry it out.