Standing on the Promises (with shaky knees)

imprrh@gmail.com —  December 11, 2012

            Think about this. Promises exist because failure exists. A promise is God’s response to man’s problems. If there weren’t any needs, there wouldn’t be a reason for a promise. Let me give you some examples.

Character

Failure

Promise

Result

Hannah

Unable to have children

1 Samuel 1:17: “ ‘In that case,’ Eli said, ‘go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.’ ”

A child was born soon after.

People of Israel

Slaves in Egypt

Exodus 3:9–10: “ ‘Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.’ ”

The people were liberated from slavery.

 

The human race

Sin entered

Isaiah 9:6–7:For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Jesus was born and humanity rescued from sin.

These examples are three among many in the  Bible. A careful analysis of Scripture shows this pattern again and again:

·         Problem—a difficulty presents itself, bringing a problem.

·         Promise—a specific promise is claimed in faith through prayer.

·         Provision—one leaves it up to God to bring provision in His time.

Why are God’s promises so important? Here are three biblical principles concerning the importance of promises:

            1. You have to know the purpose of God’s promises. Some believe that the purpose of God’s promises is only to make you happy. The promises of God are not designed to take away problems necessarily, but to help you deal effectively with them. The promises don’t always make storms disappear, but they can always help you travel in turbulent waters. They don’t always guarantee to take away evil, but they show that good will triumph. God wants to go further than just making you happy—He wants to save your soul.

            2. You have to know that the timing makes a difference. My job is to know and claim His promises. His job is to listen and act, in His time, according to His plan. Some people want to use the Bible as a magic wand, or they think God is a celestial waiter who is just waiting for your order, so that He can supply your wants. Abraham had to wait twenty-five years for the son who was promised. Israel had to wait four hundred years for freedom. Humanity had to wait four thousand years for the Savior to be born. All were promises of God. All came through. All required patience.

            3. You have to know the promise before you can claim it. Since there is a promise in the Bible for each of my specific needs, it would behoove me to try and find out what those promises are, don’t you think? We can’t claim a promise we don’t even know exists. I respectfully suggest that for a moment you stop listening to what other people are saying about your situation and search the Word of God to see what His thoughts are about what you are going through.

            Blas Rubio was one of my most memorable church members. He was past sixty years old when I met him. He had been a Christian for only eight years. The life he led before being baptized had been a hard one because he was an alcoholic. His hardcore drinking had taken its toll. By the time we first met, he was going to dialysis three times a week and waiting for a suitable match for a kidney transplant. He was waiting and praying, claiming God’s promises for healing.

            More than sixty dialysis patients had started the journey with him. A few years later, only five remained. It was encouraging to see Blas’s positive attitude, strong faith, and fearless determination as he prayed for a kidney transplant. He took every opportunity to ask for that special prayer request. There were countless anointing ceremonies, prayer-meeting requests, and altar-call responses. One time another member said to him, “Brother Blas, I don’t know why you keep praying for the same thing. Maybe this is the cross God has given you to bear.” Blas paid no attention and kept praying.

            One afternoon at 4:00 p.m. I received a call from the hospital. A highway accident had left a man dead, and he was an organ donor. Would Blas be able to come in? By midnight Blas had a new kidney. By 9:00 a.m. he was going to the bathroom on his own. Ten years have passed since the transplant. Blas is enjoying his health and gives thanks every day to a God who keeps His promises.

            King David knew the same God—one who is faithful to His promises. He not only knew them in his mind, but he had experienced them in his own life. He knew that Bible promises are God’s response to human problems. That’s why David could say with all assurance,

“Your promiseshave been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much” (Psalm 119:140).

imprrh@gmail.com

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