In the previous article we saw the difference between the specific promises of God and the general promises of God. Today we continue with the second part of this meditation on divine promises (see the first part here).
All of God’s promises have conditions
The next thing to keep in mind is that all the promises in the Bible have preconditions for their fulfillment.
Do you want to find rest? Come to Christ.
Are you Joshua and do you want to conquer the land? Be strong, be courageous, and live the Word of God.
Do you want poisonous snakes not to affect you? Believe in Christ, but do not play with them because this promise also had its context.
Elijah was only sent to one widow. He could have tried to be more merciful and go house to house claiming the same miracle, but it was only going to take place in the house of that particular widow.
Only one widow, only on that occasion.
Because a promise from God is not a blank check for us to use whenever we want and for whatever we want. Or to put it another way, God’s power is so incredible that it cannot be used in any way or for any interest. It can only be used within God’s will and plan.
For God is not a servant on whom we impose our will. God is the Lord of the Universe, and of our lives.
If we want to count on his power and protection we must live according to his rules and within that plan.
All of God’s promises are personal
God promised David an everlasting kingship, yet right now, and for many centuries, there has been no king in Israel.
Moreover, David’s descendants thought they could do whatever they wanted because they had that promise, but already in the second generation their successors lost most of the kingdom and barely ruled over their part of the kingdom for a few hundred years more.
The promise of an everlasting kingdom was given by God to David, not to Rehoboam or any of his successors. Logically, it would seem that this promise implied that his descendants would retain power. But God has his ways.
He did not choose the royal dynastic line, but fulfilled it through another of his sons, one who, curiously enough, had the same name as the prophet who rebuked him for his sin against Uriah and Bathsheba: Nathan.
The promise of the eternal kingdom was for David, and for no one else. Therefore, pretending to appropriate a promise given by God to another person, without God having confirmed it to you, will have no effect.
Remember the promise to Joshua: “I have given you, as I said to Moses, every place…”. The promise was originally given to Moses, but God reconfirmed it to Joshua.
But if God has confirmed it to you, and you keep your part of the promise, have no fear, for though everything is against you, God will keep his word.
All of God’s promises are fulfilled
For all God’s promises are fulfilled. There is no power in the Universe that can prevent God from fulfilling a commitment made to someone.
He is the mighty giant who goes before opening His way for us, He is the one who opens and none closes, He is our healer and our defender.
However, this does not mean that everything will be hunky-dory and that nothing will go wrong, at least by human standards.
Let us remember that Elijah had to be in hiding for months, that David had to go into exile along with his men, and that all their families were kidnapped while they were covertly trying to defend Israel, or that Jesus was unjustly arrested, scourged and crucified.
And if we turn to Hebrews chapter 11 we will see that many others suffered and died and, apparently, their hope was not fulfilled. Even, as those in the mission field remind us, in recent years there have been, and are, more martyrs for the faith than there have been in previous generations.
Because for those who have no hope, the only promises that are worthwhile are those that happen here and now, but those who have their eyes fixed on Christ know that some may not be fulfilled here and now.
But there are some that will always be fulfilled:
- “No one shall snatch them out of my hand.”
- “I will be with you to the end.”
- “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
- “I go therefore to prepare a place for you.”
- “All of you are clean.”
And nothing and no one can prevent them from becoming a reality in our lives “if we are faithful to the end”.
Throughout our lives we will face many situations that we would like God to fix immediately. Therefore, it is human for us to search the Bible for promises that may fit our situation in order to claim them from God.
But let us remember that:
- Not all are generally applicable.
- Those that apply to your life will be fulfilled in God’s time.
Because everything God does, He does so that we can develop the plan He has prepared for each one of us.
A plan that will take us to the highest that no human being can aspire to: to one day be in his presence for all eternity.
Cover image by Ben White on Unsplash