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Feb
04

Living with Resolve: The Promises of God (part 3)

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The third obstacle that Abram had to overcome was his lack of patience. God gave the promise of a land and a people to Abram when he was 75. God delivered on the promise (Genesis 21:1-5) when Abram was 100. Do the math.

It’s daunting for us to think about Abram waiting 25 years for God to fulfill his promise when we can’t stand in line 10 minutes for a double cheeseburger. God is never early. We must recognize that when God fulfills his promise he always delivers in accordance to his timetable. He’s never late. He’s always on time.

The final obstacle that Abram had to overcome was an incorrect perspective. It’s easy for us to sit back some 6,000 years later and pick Abram’s life to pieces. He did mess some stuff up, for sure. But for all that Abram got wrong, he got this one right. In Genesis 22:1-2, God spoke to Abram and asked him to give the promise back. In reading the story, I’m amazed that Abram responded so readily and willingly.

As I think about Abram’s offering of Issac on the altar atop Mt. Moriah, I am reminded that the promises of God are not given for the gratification of our flesh. This is where I take issue with the health, wealth, and prosperity movement in the western hemisphere. Those purveyor’s of riches boldly announce that God has promises for us that will make us richer, prettier, more successful, happier, thinner, and healthier. They are about the gratification of the flesh. But as I read the Bible I simply don’t see it. The promises of God are about the eternal purposes of God that he wants to accomplish in the world. The promise giver is always greater than the promise itself. In the words of Rick Warren, “it’s not about you.” Somehow, Abram had grown in his relationship with God to the extent that he was able to trust him with the promise itself.

I believe that God still makes promises to his people today. That’s the subject of this weekend’s message. But for now let me say that those promises involve our participation in the accomplishment of God’s eternal purposes in the world. God is about God’s work. We’re invited to join him.

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