I have never walked this idea out before, so I hope it makes sense. God makes promises. Sometimes God makes promises directly to people about those people. Other times He makes promises to people about other people. Sometimes this is directly stated. Other times it is indirectly implied. The Bible is full of God's promises. That's one reason it is important to read the Bible.
God made promises to Abram (Abraham) about a nation that would come from him. That promise was direct to Abram. And it included specifics about the nation. It also included promises to those who would bless Abraham's descendants. That is kind of an open-ended promise, yet very targeted.
Jesus promised things to His disciples. Some things were specific to certain disciples in His time. Other things were for all disciples including those in His time as well as those to come... us. As modern-day disciples, we also enjoy the blessings of those promises.
It is interesting to think that God makes promises to people who don't exist yet. I mean, think about that for a minute. Imagine making a promise about people who won't be here for another 600 years. Interestingly enough, our memory doesn't always allow us to remember what we are told for one lifetime. How much less do we remember promises made to us that we never heard?
In Genesis 15 God makes a specific promise to Abraham with a timeline. “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be foreigners in a land that does not belong to them; they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years. However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions. But you will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a ripe old age. In the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” (Genesis 15:13-16)
In Exodus 23, as God is fulfilling that promise which is now over 600 years old, He makes another very specific promise. “I will cause the people ahead of you to feel terror and throw into confusion all the nations you come to. I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you in retreat. I will send the hornet[m] in front of you, and it will drive the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites away from you. I will not drive them out ahead of you in a single year; otherwise, the land would become desolate, and wild animals would multiply against you. I will drive them out little by little ahead of you until you have become numerous and take possession of the land." (Exodus 23:27-30)
Now fast-forward to Numbers 13 where God is trying to bring His people into their promised land. They send 12 spies in to give them a report. 2 of the spies give a good report and encourage the people to obey God by going in to take dominion of the great land. But 10 of the spies advise against the conquest due to difficulties, including mysterious death in the land. “We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we are!” So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size. (Numbers 13:31-32)
I wonder how many promises God made to me before I was born. I wonder how many times I have doubted His Word without even realizing He had already made promises to me. I am ashamed that I have lived in doubt or fear of things about which He has clearly spoken to me. It is entirely possible that God made promises to me hundreds or even thousands of years ago. I know that sounds silly. But what is more silly is that I would live as if He hasn't when the Bible is full of those promises.
There are two types of people... Those who believe God's word, and those who don't. The world is full of more who don't believe than those who do. Be one of the ones that believes God. You will never be disappointed in faith, but doubt will leave you embarrassed and empty every time.
God has made promises to you. Not just specifically to you, but to you through people you have never met. Trust Him today to do what He has already said He would do. Do not short-circuit His work through unbelief. I really believe God likes fulfilling promises people have forgotten about. And we should always receive God's promises.
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.