When all odds are stacked against you; when life’s circumstances reveal no hope; when you have come to what appears the end of the road, God says to you, “Do not be afraid!”
What God promises you He delivers! His plans are the surest thing in your life.
He promised Abram he would have an heir from his own body.
He promised Abram land that his people would possess.
“Abram believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” but he still had questions. He needed reassurance in those times of uncertainty. For example, he asked the Lord, “How can I know that I will possess the land?”
How did God answer him? What did He do?
Did God scold Abram? No.
Did God dismiss him? No.
Nor does He scold you or dismiss you when you have doubts, concerns, or questions.
In His abundant grace, God demonstrated His faithfulness to Abram and His people.
The Lord said to Abram, “Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old male sheep, a dove, and a young pigeon.” Abram brought them all to God. Then Abram killed the animals and cut each of them into two pieces, laying each half opposite the other half. But he did not cut the birds in half.
Later, large birds flew down to eat the animals, but Abram chased them away.
As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep. While he was asleep, a very terrible darkness came. Then the Lord said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers and travel in a land they don’t own. The people there will make them slaves and be cruel to them for four hundred years. But I will punish the nation where they are slaves. Then your descendants will leave that land, taking great wealth with them. And you, Abram, will die in peace and will be buried at an old age.
After your great-great-grandchildren are born, your people will come to this land again. It will take that long because I am not yet going to punish the Amorites for their evil behavior.”
After the sun went down, it was very dark. Suddenly a smoking firepot and a blazing torch passed between the halves of the dead animals. So on that day the Lord made an agreement with Abram and said, “I will give to your descendants the land between the river of Egypt and the great river Euphrates. This is the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites” (Genesis 15:9-27).
Did you get lost in this demonstration? Indeed, there is much rich soil to soak in from this passage but for now, we will stay focused on God’s promises. For they have a place in your life as much as they had in Abram’s.
- Sacrifice. We see God asking Abram to sacrifice from his flock. What God was about to do was known as a “cutting covenant.” It was more than just a demonstration of sacrifice; it was a binding covenant between two parties. Warren Wiersbe, an American Pastor, and Bible Commentator gives insight: The individuals making the declaration would walk between the pieces and if one did not keep their word, they deserved the outcome the animals experienced. The peculiar part of this story is Abram did not walk between the animals, only God did. Meaning that He made promises to Abram and there were no strings attached. This is a covenant of God’s grace. Later, because of man’s failure to keep the agreement, Jesus, God Himself, paid the price.
- Hardship. Even though the covenant of grace was secured, that did not mean hardship would not be a part of life. He forewarned Abram that difficulty would come to his people. He would not experience the pain himself, but his offspring would. But this would not last forever.
- Abundance. God’s promises do not end with sacrifice and hardship. A wealth of His mercy, grace, and provision always follows. When the time of freedom from slavery came for Abram’s people, God sent them away with wealth and sustenance.
- Promise Fulfilled. What comfort it must have given Abram after experiencing the darkness of his soul to hear that the land would indeed be given to his people. Wiersbe writes, “God’s covenant made this promise a sealed matter.” No one changes God’s plans.
You may not get a dream depicting your future from God, but God’s ways with mankind do not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His demonstration may be different, but His process is the same.
Our life presents to us a series of phases in which we travel through over and over; following from top to bottom we find ourselves moving from one to the next.
A position of struggle
A position of suffering.
A position of hope.
A position of happiness.
Life circles us through these positions on a constant rotation. The good news is each is not forever. Some may be long, very, very long, but they are not eternal.
While we move through the struggle and suffering, we can have hope that God delivers on His promises to us. We may experience their fulfillment this side of heaven, or beyond in eternity. Note that Abram did not experience all of God’s promises on earth, but that does not mean they did not come to fruition.
When you are expecting your own darkness in life, you can still GIVE THANKS; you may be too distracted to pray; too downcast to read the scriptures, your energy to worship may be slim, but you can trust.
Let Isaiah ask you a question, and then give you a directive, “Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on their God” (Isaiah 50:10).