When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
Last week, I told my son that I would take him skiing next month. He was really excited. My wife and daughter will be out of town on a mission trip during that time, and I thought it would be a great chance to do something fun together and have some “guy time.” Just yesterday, I asked if he was excited about going. He said, “Dad, I can’t wait. I wish it were February 17 all ready.” That definitely made my day!
From the moment I asked him, he has been looking forward to it. He knows that I will come through on my promise. Why? Because he knows me and knows that I wouldn’t go back on my word, unless it could not be helped. It also helps that I told him a firm date. Can you imagine if I had said, “Son, I’m going to take you skiing. I’m not going to tell you when, but one day, we will go.” How much harder would it be for him to trust me? He would probably keep asking me, “Dad, are we going this weekend? What about next weekend?”
When Abram was 75 years old, God made him a promise. Actually, it was more than a promise – the Bible calls it a covenant. It’s a binding agreement. Only God didn’t say when it would happen, only that it would happen.
And, like a good child, Abram asked God on more than one occasion, “When will you make good on your promise?” (My words, not Abram’s.) Abram even offered God some suggestions on how to make this thing work, since God was not timely (at least according to Abram.) Yet God persisted to tell him that the promise was coming.
That’s why I find the words in Genesis 17 so fascinating. God tells Abraham “for I HAVE MADE you a father of many nations.” (emphasis mine) At the time, Abram didn’t even have children. Sarai wasn’t even pregnant yet; however, God uses that phrase – “for I HAVE MADE”. In God’s mind, it’s as if He’s already done it.
That’s how it is with God. If He promises it, it will come about. It might not be in my timing. It may not be the way I think it should be done. But God will do it. He’s probably already putting things in motion to make it happen.
God tells this to Abram after Sarai had given him her maidservant to provide him with a son. Even Sarai thought she knew what was best. They were getting old, after all.
Yet God’s intent was different. He didn’t need help. He didn’t need suggestions. And says as such.
“See, Abram? I’ve made up my mind already. I’ll bless your other son, but that’s not how I will bless you. I’m going to bless you through your wife. I’ve already done it. You are the father of many nations.” Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t make it any less true.
So what does that mean for you and me?
God has promised us eternal life in His son. This is more than simply going to heaven. Our eternal life begins now – part of that is knowing God and knowing Jesus Christ (see John 17:3).
Maybe you feel that God has promised you something specific – only you haven’t seen the promise fulfilled yet. Abram waited for over 24 years. (I hope you don’t have to wait that long.) 🙂
Even though the promise has not physically come to pass, in God’s mind it has already happened.
God’s word remains true…
…so we can rest.
…so we can trust.
…so we can stop worrying.
…so we can stop trying to do it on our own.
If you don’t know what God has promised, look in His word.
For I have made you…
..sons and daughters.
…heirs of a glorious inheritance.
…holy and righteous.
Many of God’s promises He has already accomplished through His son. Others will be fulfilled when Christ returns. Until then, we must learn to live in the promises of God that are for here and now. If you’re anything like my son, sometimes the hardest thing to do is wait. Especially on a promise.
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