The Bible is full of promises God has made to His people. From the Promised Land to the promised Messiah, nearly every account in Scripture is about God making and fulfilling His promises to His people. But a promise from God is not a guarantee of an easy life. God told Abram to go to a new land—and when he got there, there was famine. God promised Abraham a son—and then He told Abraham to sacrifice him. Sometimes God makes a promise or gives us guidance toward something and it doesn’t go the way we expect. We can be quick to react when something goes wrong, and we end up shifting like the winds and waves. Let’s look at how Abraham handled these changes after God had given him direction and a promise.
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.’” (Genesis 12:1-3)
So Abram leaves just as God tells him to and they go to the land of Canaan. There, the Lord confirms to Abram that this is indeed the land He will give to Abram and his descendants (Genesis 12:7). But then…
“At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner.” (Genesis 12:10)
If I was Abram, I would be very confused and conflicted by this. God said to go and Abram obeyed—but when he got there, the land was struck with a famine. Now he had to leave and live in a foreign land? The promise of making Abraham a great nation and delivering the land over to his descendants was not a promise of an easy path. Another promise God gave to Abraham was that he and Sarah would have a son, and they did. But some time later God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. Again, I would have been confused and conflicted, but Abraham faithfully obeyed God. When Isaac noticed that they had everything for the sacrifice except the actual sacrifice, he asked his father, “Where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”
“‘God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,’ Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.” (Genesis 22:8)
God will provide. When we are given a promise and things don’t pan out the way we expect them to, God will provide. Can we declare that simple statement of strong faith? God will provide. Here is Abraham with the son promised by God and now God is telling Abraham to kill him. Here’s the promise and now it seems God is taking it away. God will provide. Unwavering faith. Abraham is not blown about by the winds of change. He stands firm on God and His promises.
Even the greatest promise of all—the promise that comes with the salvation of Jesus Christ, the promise of the forgiveness of sins when we confess and repent, and the eternal life we will share in with our Heavenly Father—even this promise does not guarantee an easy path:
“‘Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“‘A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.’” (Matthew 10:16-23)
A promise from God does not guarantee an easy path; our job is to stand firm on God’s promise, stand strong in our faith, and not waver with the winds and waves of change. Don’t give up on God’s promise, for He will not give up on you.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.