In Genesis 15, God promised Abraham that his descendants would be numerous beyond comprehension, that they would be enslaved for 400 years by another nation, and that afterwards they would inherit the land that Abraham was that movement standing on and be blessed.
Admittedly, Abraham did have a lapse of faith in this promise when his wife Sara was unable to bear him a child after decades of trying. Worried that Sara’s very old age would never see her give birth to those many descendants God promised him, Abraham had the son Ishmael through Sara’s maidservant. This was not God’s plan. Eventually though, Sara bore Isaac, and after seeing God’s faithfulness in this, Abraham now trusted God enough even to agree to sacrifice Isaac to Him, before God halted Abrahams blade at the altar right at the last second.
Joseph, great-grandson of Abraham, believed in this promise, and ordered his own bones entombed to be remembered so that when his people would leave their residence of Egypt sometime in the far future, his bones would go with them to reside in that promised land of Abraham.
430 years after Joseph and 600 years after Abraham, these promises would be fulfilled when God had Moses and his successor Joshua lead the descendants of Abraham out of slavery in Egypt up to that promised land.
How would we react if we were given a promise that we would not see fulfilled in our lifetime but that would come true 600 years after? Do you think that we would live in a way that anticipates such a distant thing? Do you think that we would live through our days with expectancy of the eventual fulfillment of that astoundingly far-off promise?
Hebrews 11:11-13 says: And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
Well, Abraham knew God, and so did Joseph. These men knew God as one who is faithful, honest, and good. God had protected these men, prospered them and did fantastic things in their sight that proved His character as well as His power, so Joseph and Abraham knew that a promise from God was one that would be kept.
The same God who remained faithful to these men across centuries and their descendants across millennia is the same God that now promises goodness and blessings to us, His children, today. Patiently awaiting Him to fulfill those promises can be difficult though, and that is where we need a powerful, passionate, patient faith.
Faith that when God says that He desires us to be righteous, He will reward and bless our righteousness both for our benefit and for the benefit of others, even if in ways that we will not see in this life.
Faith that will prevent us from taking matters into our own hands when God seems to be moving too slowly, or to have forgotten His promise.
Faith that God can use what small, meager offering we can bring Him, even as little as a couple fishes and pieces of bread (or, whatever seemingly small skills or abilities we are willing to offer) and multiply it to help countless others.
Faith that trusts God will deliver us from temptation because He said He will.
Faith that can believe that even when the aimless, senseless chaos and/or the terrible evil of the world are unbearably strong that God is still in charge, and remains good and powerful. This was Job’s lesson.
Faith that our decision to forgive someone will not go unjustified, even if that person does not ever change.
Faith that we genuinely can become better people, because of the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
Faith that the God of Abraham, and of Job, still reigns.
To believe in the good things God promises us, even things far into our future or possi-bly beyond our own lives, gives us the power to live patiently, expectantly, and passionately, standing on the promises of God standing on the promises that cannot fail. Faith gives us the quiet rigor to hold to His promises daily, hourly, with resolve and determination.
Therefore, let us remember who God is, who God has always been, and how much He loves us. Let us remember that God is great, and God is good.