Our devotional series based on the book Climbing with Abraham by David Ramos continues. Last week, we looked at Hagar, a poor, voiceless servant woman used by Sarah and Abraham and then cast aside by them. But God didn't cast her aside - God "saw" her and provided for her. We serve a God who "sees" us, accepts us, and loves us.
Week 12: Read Genesis 17:1-8 (Our Promise-Keeper)
"Something happens here that changes the entire scale of the story. Up until this point we knew that Abraham was promised land and a descendant who would eventually become a nation. But God takes all of his promises to the next level. Instead of one nation, many will come from him; and instead of just all the land he could see, his descendants will possess the whole land, forever! To confirm these increased promises, God changes Abram's name to Abraham. So much is happening here and it is all prefaced by the first sentence of the chapter: "When Abram was ninety-nine." As if the promises weren't impossible enough, they are being given to a very old man.
Abraham's story depends entirely upon God showing up. Abraham is old. He has no power to heal his wife's barrenness, let alone live long enough to lead his children into this land they have been promised. All Abraham can do at this point is thank God, and continue living his normal, faithful life. He has no power to bring the promises of God to pass. (And, as an aside, remember it didn't work out well when he tried.)
Neither do we have the power to bring the promises of God to pass. Our lives are always in God's hands. What God wants to do with us depends on God's grace, God's timing, and God's purpose. This often frustrates me (us) because I (we) want to make things happen. I want to hurry things along .. but like Abraham, our story depends entirely on God showing up.
Maybe the promise God has over your life is not as grand as fathering nations, but is is important. One of the greatest tools we have as Christians to change the world is the promises of God, but the only way to use those promises is to patiently trust God that God will use us to accomplish them."
One of my (Pastor Denise) favorite parables is the one about the sower going out and just throwing seed on the ground with great abandon. Perhaps I like that one because I spent years of my childhood tending a garden and having to plant things so carefully. It was not a task I enjoyed! And here is this farmer recklessly throwing seed up into the air and letting it fall where it will. Some will grow, some will die, but the parable tells us that's not the farmer's problem; God will take care of it. That's the way we are to be in sharing the promises of God. Speak them and live them with reckless abandon. Don't worry about who will take them to heart and who will ignore them. God will take it from there.
Takeaway from today's lesson: Only God can fulfill God's promises. But, be assured, God has a promise and a plan for you and it will come to pass. In the meantime, be like Abraham: thank God and keep living a faithful life.
Prayer: God, help me to know the promises you have made for my life. Give me patience as you see them through. Help me to be thankful and live a life that is faithful to you. Amen.