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The Twenty-Eighth (Promises)

God is good, all the time! I hope you had a wonderful week! This week we're talking about God's promises. Sometimes we fail to follow through on promises we make for various reasons, but God never does! He just might have a little bit of a different timeline than we'd like, which I have talked about previously, but that's what happens when you're all-knowing! He knows exactly when and where He's going to keep His promise.

So how do we know He will keep His promises? Well we can certainly go straight off of faith, but to support that we have a record. We have God's Word in scripture, documenting some of the most important promises He has made. We're going to go over some of the ones we can confirm using scripture, and then we're going take a look at some that are yet to be fulfilled, and ones we can take joy in!

The first one we're going to look at is Abraham. Yehovah made a few promises to Abraham, and probably the most well-known one is His promise to make of Abraham a great nation (Genesis 12:2). Well, long story short, Abraham ultimately becomes the father of the Israelites, Yehovah's chosen people, through Isaac to Jacob, who was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 21:3, 25:26). And while there was a bumpy road getting there, the term "great nation" definitely applies to the nation that brought forth His Son! But to make a short story long, not only did He promise this, He intervened to keep His promise.

Right after this promise was made (well, relatively right after), Abraham (who was Abram at the time) showed up in Egypt. He feared for his life, thinking the Egyptians would see his beautiful wife and kill him to have her (Genesis 12:12). I guess he either forgot God's promise, or didn't put two and two together and realize if he was dead he couldn't be the father of a great nation! So he lied and said she was his sister (Genesis 12:13). Well, it turns out that wasn't the best choice (obviously, because it didn't involve trust in God!) because she was taken by the Pharaoh who tried to pay Abraham off for her (Genesis 12:15, 16). So, Yehovah had to intervene and send plagues to Pharaoh, who realized it was because he took Sarah and gave her back (Genesis 12:18).

In another intervention, He told Abraham that ninety year old Sarah would bear a son to be named Isaac (Genesis 17:15). This happened after Sarah and Abraham got impatient with Yehovah (or maybe they forgot the promise again!), thinking she was not able to bear a son. Their impatience led to the birth of Ishmael, from the handmaid Hagar (Genesis 16:15). Now, God still made Ishmael the father of a great nation (Genesis 17:20), but He made His covenant with Isaac, the rightful heir based on being the offspring of Abraham and Sarah's marriage (Genesis 17:21).

Another promise God made to Abraham is that He would give the land of Canaan to his offspring (Genesis 12:6, 7). This was during the trip where he was passing through Canaan and ended up in Egypt (discussed above), so it's not like Abraham settled down somewhere and then God promised that land to him. Do you know what modern day country is in the land of Canaan? Israel! Now, that promise took awhile! Yes, the Israelites occupied that land for a long time, but their control of it was taken away until it was restored again in 1948.

Moving forward in time, we see another promise from Yehovah to King Solomon. He gave Solomon the choice of anything he wanted, and Solomon chose wisdom and knowledge (2 Chronicles 1:10). God granted this request, and Solomon became the wisest king that ever lived. Unfortunately, despite this, he succumbed to evil and turned his heart from God (1 Kings 11:9).

As we can see with Abraham and Solomon, even when we have promises from Him, and even if they're spoken directly to us from Him, we still have the power of choice and we still are able to be influenced by evil. Fear influenced Abraham when he arrived in Egypt. Doubt influenced him and Sarah when she hadn't bore a son yet. Man-created gods and the worship of them influenced Solomon, despite being spoken to directly by the true and living God! It's important to keep these things in mind, because the battle against evil, the battle against the principalities and powers of Satan, is a constant one (Ephesians 6:12). It will be constant until he gets thrown into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:3), and finally into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

There are definitely promises made by Yehovah that we have yet to see fulfilled. The biggest one, I think, is the one to Noah following the flood. His promise is that He will never again destroy all flesh and the earth with a flood (Genesis 9:11). While we won't see this fulfilled until the new heaven and the new earth, we do have a sneak peek in Revelation of how this earth gets destroyed. And it's not by a flood!

But the most interesting promises, the ones closest to us and the ones that give us the most joy and hope, are the ones given by His Son, the Word made flesh. He gave many promises while He was here. The promise to be an advocate for us to Yehovah if we keep His commandments (John 14:15,16). The promise to give rest to our souls (Matthew 11:28-30). The promise to heal our broken hearts, set us free, and heal us (Luke 4:18). The promise to give us life (John 10:10). The promise to be with us always (Matthew 28:20). The promise to prepare a place for us so we can be with Him (John 14:1-3). The promise to answer our prayers (Mark 11:24, John 14:13, Luke 11:9-13).

But let's not forget the promise that gives us the most hope, joy and peace: everlasting life (John 3:16). The purpose for His sacrifice. The purpose for His defeat of Satan. A sign of His love for us, because who would want to be with someone forever if they didn't love them! Remember all these promises from Him, and remind yourself daily when things are rough, when things get tough, and even when everything is great! Our God is an Awesome God!

Shabbat Shalom and God bless you!

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