Tag Archives: Promise

Just Believe It.

God’s Eye in Space (NASA)

gods-eye-nasa

Have you ever gotten a promise from God – and then you’re not certain you’ve gotten a promise from God? Probably. You get a word somehow – from the Bible, a sermon, another person – and you know it’s for you. God is speaking the very thing to you that you’ve been praying about or that’s been your heart’s desire or that you wondered if, someday, you could do. But then that promise seems too good to be true – and you begin to wonder . . .

“Did I really hear that? Or did I imagine it?” It happens. We begin to doubt our ability to hear God. Then we become afraid to believe what we’ve heard because – well, what if we’re wrong??

Gideon certainly had this problem. God told him that he would be the one used to lead Israel into battle against its enemies and Gideon, who was the least likely in all of Israel to be chosen to lead anything, wasn’t quite sure he’d heard correctly. So, he initiated the “fleece” test. You’ve heard of that? A “fleece” is any test we throw out to God asking Him to prove Himself to us. Can you imagine?? (But we’ve all done it.) So Gideon put out a sheep’s fleece and asked God to make it dry despite the dew and then to do the opposite: wet and no dew. Gideon needed to be absolutely certain it was God who had said to go and fight. He was afraid he’d heard incorrectly. But, as it turns out, he had heard right; God did speak to him to lead Israel into battle and promised him he would win. Which then caused Gideon to say:

 “Who? Me? I don’t deserve a promise like that!” No one does – but that’s our perspective, not God’s. If you randomly open to any given page in the Bible, odds are you’re going to find God choosing someone inconsequential to do something quite consequential. Reference Abraham, Moses (after he’d been banished to the desert), Esther, Joseph, Gideon, David, Rahab, most prophets, Mary, Peter, Mary Magdalene, Matt the tax collector – you get the idea. Somebody has to do great things. Why not you? And if your promise has to do with receiving a heart’s desire – getting married, having a child, doing any specific thing – remember that God stands behind those promises, too. Both Sarah and Hannah desired to have a child and both did. In addition, Jesus healed many people whose desire was for wholeness or deliverance; He even answered prayers to raise the dead. God wants to give you your heart’s desire.

Nathan the prophet, speaking for God, told David, “’Go and do all that is in your heart.’”

“What if God changes His mind about what He promised me?” I don’t believe God does that – primarily based on what He says about changing His mind: “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Num. 23:19). Translation: If God has given you a promise, it will happen.

The Lord gives us an interesting illustration in the Word to make the point that His word is unchanging, trustworthy, and reliable. Both King Xerxes in the book of Esther and King Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel gave commands they later regretted. Xerxes gave a command allowing the slaughter of all Jewish people (not knowing Esther was Jewish), and Nebuchadnezzar gave a command to put to death anyone who insisted on worshiping anyone other than himself (not knowing Daniel had done this). However, having given the commands, even the kings could not revoke their own word. So if the word of mere man was so invariable, how much more the Word of God? As the Lord says about His own word: “’As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it’” (Is. 55: 10-11). Period.

“But what if I can’t do it??” Abraham expressed this fear right after God had promised him “the land,” saying, “’O Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it [the land]?’” (Gen. 15:8). Abraham wasn’t questioning God’s faithfulness to His promise. Rather, Abraham was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to live up to the promise and “gain possession of it”. He didn’t understand that it wasn’t up to him to fulfill the promise – it was God’s work to do. In fact, the Lord goes on to tell Abraham that this possession of the land would happen long after he had died and that it would be His doing, not Abe’s. “’To your descendents I give this land . . .’” (vs. 18-19). If you’re worried about whether you “can do it,” remember God’s word to Zerubbabel: “’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty’” (Zech 4:6).

If you’ve received a promise from God regarding a dream, a vision, a destiny, count on it because the thing is this: the fulfillment of that promise does not depend on you; it depends on God.

Your job?  Just believe it.

 

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Mission: “Possible”

Write the Vision          Have you ever felt like you’ve been called to great things, impossible things?  That would be because you have.  The problem is we say we believe that but – do we really?  The fact is that we’ve lost sight of the bottom line:  “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).  Maybe it’s time for a quick reminder.                 

          “Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘About this time next year I will return, and your wife Sarah will have a son.’  Now Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent nearby.  And since Abraham and Sarah were both very old, and Sarah was long past the age of having children, she laughed silently to herself.  ‘How could a worn-out woman like me have a baby?’ she thought.  ‘And when my master, my husband, is also so old?’  The Lord then said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh?  Why did she say, “Can an old woman like me have a baby?”  Is anything too hard for the Lord?'”  (Gen. 18:10-13).

          A “baby” equals a dream, a promise, a heart’s desire.  It also represents, as with Sarah, the sign of a fulfilled covenant and the promise of a covenant to come.  The same message came to Jeremiah from the Lord.

          The Lord had instructed Jeremiah to buy a field from his cousin and to store away the deed. Odd thing to do but God meant it as a sign that, although Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Israelites exiled to Babylon, the time would come that He would again restore His people to their land.  But as Jeremiah sees the city and nation about to be destroyed, he is in despair and wonders how anyone could ever own land in Israel/Judah again, so Jeremiah questions God as to why He had him buy the land in the first place.  But the deed was a prophetic sign of a future covenant which the Lord would make with His people. 

         God had also had Abraham perform a prophetic action when He’d commanded him, “’Take a walk in every direction and explore the new possessions I am giving you'” (Gen. 13:17).  God tells Abraham to “explore” (“Walk the length and breath of the land . . .”) – to get a vision of it.  He commanded Abraham to keep the vision before his eyes in order to hold onto the dream.  And we should do the same . . . 

          As for Jeremiah, he didn’t understand the sign and essentially asks God:  “How can You do that – fulfill your promise – when Jerusalem is about to be destroyed??”  God’s answer: “‘I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world.  Is anything too hard for Me?'”  (Jer. 32:26-27).

          In the book of Luke, the angel Gabriel visits Mary to inform her that she will become pregnant with the Messiah through the Spirit of God and have a baby.  Mary responds by asking how she can get pregnant when she’s still a virgin.  (Evidently she gets that this is supposed to happen immediately and not after she marries Joseph, to whom she is engaged.  I always thought this to be very astute of her because I probably would have missed the point entirely and responded, “Why wouldn’t I have a son ? I’m about to get married.  I hope I have lots of them!”)  The angel tells her how it will happen (as soon as she gives the word), and then gives her a sign to believe in: “‘What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age!  People used to say she was barren, but she’s already in her sixth month.  For nothing is impossible with God'” (Luke 1:36).

          In Matthew 19, there is the account of the rich young ruler who leaves sadly after deciding he cannot give up his possessions and follow Jesus (who was testing his commitment by asking him to do that).  Jesus watches him go and comments to His disciples that it’s about as easy for a rich person to get saved as it is for a huge camel to go through the tiny city gate known as the “Eye of the Needle.”  Knowing how impossible that would be, Jesus’ disciples, astonished, respond, “‘Then who in the world can be saved?'” (vs. 25).  Jesus’ answer?  “‘With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'” (vs. 26).  The disciples were panicked at the thought that salvation would be as difficult to attain as a camel getting through that gate (which evidently had never been done before).   Continue reading Mission: “Possible”