Has anyone ever given you the advice to read the Bible and note all the promises God has made to you? My guess is most who will read this devotion have at some point heard that advice. It’s not bad advice. God’s word contains some great promises. God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. Not sure anything is much better than God’s assured presence. God has promised to work all things together for good for those who love him. I especially like that when things are going well. It’s good to know that somehow even in bad things God is working for good. No doubt we love God’s promises, and they are good.
Abraham was a man who experienced God’s promises firsthand. The promise we are all familiar with is God’s promise to Abraham to give him many descendants—an amazing promise considering Abraham and Sarah had no children and were way past childbearing years. As I ponder God’s promises to Abraham, I am first reminded that God’s promises are truly more than we deserve and go far beyond what we could do for ourselves. They remind us that God is both gracious and powerful. However, I am also reminded that God’s promises are really not just for one individual which is normally what we focus on.
Truly, when we think about God’s promises, we are really wanting to know what God has promised me. But God’s promises are not just for an individual. God’s promises to Abraham show that. In Geneses 12:3, God says to Abraham as part of his promises, “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Clearly, what God was promising Abraham went far beyond just what God was doing for him. Genesis 17:1-8 makes it very clear that God’s promise to Abraham was a promise that was meant for all the generations that would come after him. God didn’t want Abraham to take just an individualistic view of what he was doing but wanted Abraham to see that his working in Abraham’s life had a bigger purpose than just Abraham having a better life. God’s promises to Abraham, and to us, are really about what God is doing in the world as a whole.
When we consider what God is wanting to ultimately accomplish, we get a hint at the end of Genesis 17:8 as God is speaking about his promise and says, “and I will be their God.” There it is. What God really is desiring with us in all his promises is a relationship with Him. Not just us individually but all persons. Knowing this should be part of what changes our attitude from “what has God promised to me?” to an attitude of “how do God’s promises to me help others know Him?” If we have the proper attitude, we can more clearly understand the command and promise found in Matthew 28:19-20. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” God surely has promised to be with us, but He wants to be with us as we go into all the world helping others to be in relationship with him. Let’s clearly understand God’s promises for us while not losing sight of God’s greater plan for the whole world.