Advent 2014 – Week 3 Day 3
Are God’s Promises Anything More Than Empty Words?
1…the Word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless…?” ~ Genesis 15:1-2
In this broken world we find disappointment to be our constant companion. The first hundred times we bounce back, but eventually we find ourselves bouncing back slower as we begin to see how the world really works. The fight for faith becomes less of an adventure and more of a day in, day out battle. This is not to say that God is not good – He is gloriously good. This is not to say He does not give good gifts - He knows our hearts and our aches and has nothing but kind intentions toward His children. Even so, there is a deep brokenness that resonates in us. There is a soul-wrenching longing for things to be right. But after many dashed hopes and many years of fear we are tempted to believe a lie: God’s words cannot be trusted. Many “good” Christians may not put it that way, but in our hearts we choose our favorite idols over His presence and His promises. While our theology tells us of His power, wisdom, and love, our hearts want proof. Even when He gives it, we quickly forget.
In Genesis 12, we see a promise. God promises Abram that he will become a great nation. As Abram waits patiently in faith, years pass. As God reaffirms His promise to Abram in Genesis 15, Abram’s focus shifts from the certainty of God’s promises to the uncertainty of unseen fulfillment. Abram needed a son in order to become a nation; a family tree does not start without a seed. As he and Sarai walked through the years between promise and fulfillment they experienced every cycle we all do. Sometimes they succeeded in waiting on the Lord patiently and other times they waited in bitterness and hopelessness seeing few other options. One time they took things into their own hands to force a result that God was not yet ready to give. How could Abram have known that when the promise was made – that he would become a great nation – there was so much more glory not yet revealed?
The Seed promised to Eve, the Great Redeeming Champion, would be born in Abram's line. Did Abram know he would be so intimately involved in the restoration of all things? Abram and Sarai ached to see God’s promises magnificently fulfilled in their lifetime. In many small ways, these promises were fulfilled. God is not stingy to His children and He frequently reminds us of His affection for us. But Abram had a deeper longing that was almost inexpressible. He died a man of great faith, laying hold of God’s promises with his last breath and trusting that there was more to come.
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. ~ Galatians 4:4-5
We have seen the long-awaited Promised One. Jesus is the proof, the answer to the question of whether God’s words can be trusted. Presently, we see Him, though we see Him dimly. We long for the day when we see Him face to face. So, like Abram, we groan for a final day when the setting right of this upside down world will not only have begun, but will be finished. Until that day, we look expectantly into Jesus’ face and say “Oh come, Oh come, Immanuel.”