God promised Abraham a nation and the Promised Land. He delivered.
God assured Moses that Pharaoh would let his people go. So it happened.
The prophet Samuel, at God’s command, anointed a shepherd boy king of Israel. David became Israel’s greatest king and the ancestor of Jesus Christ.
Does God promise that he will do things like that for us?
I ask myself this question every time I read through the Old Testament, (which I do once every year). Yesterday I came to the end of Joshua where I read: ‘Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” (Joshua 23:14)
What does this mean for God’s people today (like you and me)?
First, those specific promises were part of God’s redemptive plan. The end game was not to create a nation or to inhabit land or to establish David’s royal line, but to bless the world through Abraham through the Savior descended from David, Jesus Christ.
Yet, we learn to trust God’s promises to us as we read of his work through his people in ancient days. God still inspires ideas, dreams, and passions for how we can join him in his work today. Ancient biblical stories teach me that God always approves of faith, that he chooses his servants based on faith, humility and character, and that he is the power source for any worthy work. Does God promise me personal success? No. Does he promise to provide everything I need for my service in his name? Yes.
God is faithful to his promises…but it might take a while. God told Abraham he would be the father of nations, but when he died his son Isaac, the inheritor of the promise, was married to yet another barren woman. And the land? He owned only the cave in which he buried his wife.
Remember this when your dreams seem only partially fulfilled. What you see today may be early evidence of God’s unimaginable future blessings.
We must participate in the fulfillment of God’s promises. And it won’t be easy. Abraham had to leave his home. The Hebrews spent hundreds of years in slavery. Moses had to face off with Pharaoh through ten tedious plagues. The people of Israel marched around a desert for forty years. Joshua had to fight for the Promise Land. David ran from King Saul for years after he was anointed king. God won’t do it for you; he’ll do it through you.
God’s promises do not always translate into success as the world defines it. Jesus was not a “success.” He was a nobody from Nazareth who gained a following for three years and was then executed on a humiliating cross.
Yet, he is the fulfillment of every one of God’s promises.
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 2 Cor. 1:21
How do you interpret and apply God’s ancient promises to your life today? Do you feel he’s given you a specific dream or desire? If so, how has he been faithful as you work to realize it?