November 1, 2021
Promises, Promises ...
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"Not one of all the LORD's good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled." Joshua 21:45 (NIV)
Growing up, I never made promises. Not to friends or family.
Experience taught me that promises, full of meaning and well-intended follow-through, often fall flat, bringing sorrow in their wake. I learned at a young age that promises were hard to keep, and I governed myself accordingly, hoping to alleviate heartache for both myself and others.
Life has pivoted a lot since then, and I thought I had finally learned to manage the disappointment I felt over unfulfilled promises. But when I think of the circumstances I've walked through lately and how I've responded to them, I realize that disappointment has wiggled its way back into my everyday life.
Why is there such a struggle with this issue?
The initial thread began to unravel the day I received my husband's call relaying he had just been let go from the job he had for two only months. The unraveling continued when I found out we'd be leaving our life behind, moving from one state to another, with no knowledge of what was next. The whole thing fell apart (and I did, too, if I'm being honest) as I watched firemen sweep water out of our home after an arson attempt, which was unrelated to the job loss or move but was another source of fear and distress.
Time and time again, it felt like the wind was being knocked out of my perfectly filled sails, and the God I was depending on felt absent. At the end of myself, I cried out to God, desperate for His help. God's promises aren't like people's promises, right? I could count on Him to help ... right? (Psalm 37:5)
There are pages upon pages in the Bible testifying that God keeps His word. The same God who kept His promises to Israel is faithful to His children today. (Deuteronomy 7:9) I'd seen it in Scripture. Yet I found myself questioning when I'd experience the fulfillment of God's promises to me. Where was the disconnect?
The Israelites' story in Joshua teaches us so much about the time just before the fulfillment of God's promise to them and their forefathers: to bring them into a land created just for them. After nearly 400 years of oppression in Egypt (now that's a long wait), I can imagine they were more than ready to receive God's promise. But first, they needed to let go of some things. They also had to relearn how to be completely dependent on God for survival - a God who, at times, may have felt absent in their struggle. Their experiences in Egypt and in the wilderness, as uncomfortable as they might have been, became stepping stones along the path that led Israel to the promised land.
When the time was right, God fulfilled His promises to them. Our key verse, Joshua 21:45, says, "Not one of all the LORD's good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled." Not one good promise failed, even hundreds of years after God spoke those promises into being! What hope for our weary, tired-of-waiting hearts!
Friends, I, too, have seen many promises of God fulfilled in my life, despite the wait. While this season has been difficult, I've been able to distinctly mark God's presence, provision and protection on this journey that has felt like a desolate wilderness. An unexpected check in the mail, an all-clear on what could have been a cancer diagnosis, a near miss on the highway, a family of well-adjusted children. These are not necessarily the promises I was looking for God to fulfill, but nonetheless, they are promises kept.
In the past, we may have doubted God's promises and given up hope. It's easy to become disappointed when we lump God in with flawed humans who can't keep their every promise. But God wants to, can and will fulfill His promises to us. No matter how long we may have to wait, they will ultimately come to pass. He will never fail us!
Lord, I've struggled as I've waited for Your promises to be fulfilled in my life. And sometimes it's hard to feel Your presence. Help me to remember that Your promises are sure and that You are here, working everything together for good. I trust You, Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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We can be obedient and trust that God will work everything else out. Even when the unknowns make us feel hesitant and anxious to move forward, we can have confidence when God is leading us that He will also be with us. Our in-app-only First 5 study Joshua: Choosing Obedience Even When You Are Afraid starts today. Learn to follow God despite your fears so you can experience the benefits of a life of obedience. Click here to join us in the app now!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Deuteronomy 7:9, "Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments." (NIV)
The land promised to Israel wasn't the only divine promise given to Abraham; there were several. (Genesis 12:1-3) Each and every one was fulfilled.
How does it feel to know that God will always keep His promises regardless of how many there are or how long it takes? What are some promises you are waiting for God to fulfill in your life? Share them with us in the comments!
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