What makes a viable promise?
Television commercials and magazine ads are littered with advertising campaigns promising to offer the latest must-have-item. From weight-loss products to technological gadgets, they pledge to improve your life or image with minimal effort or waiting time. But amidst all of propaganda, how does one determine what is fact from fluff?
In today’s “why wait when I can have now” society fluff sells. We look for quick and easy solutions to bypass foundation building activities. Only to find ourselves on a highway scattered with broken promises and unfulfilled expectations.
Feeling jaded by all the empty promises of the world, we can often handle the promises of God in the same way. We read His word and quote it a few times looking for instant manifestation of what is said. After it doesn’t appear in a few days or weeks, we move on to test out another one of His promise. The cycling repeating itself continuously leading us to believe God and religion are just fluff.
Yet when I came across Acts 7:5 today, I don’t see the promise of the instantaneous (although God can do things in an instant). I see the recounting of Abraham’s journey through an area and in what was his now, he got NOTHING. Zilch, nada thing—he received nothing tangible only a promise.
But God gave him no inheritance here, not even one square foot of land. God did promise, however, that eventually the whole land would belong to Abraham and his descendants—even though he had no children yet. Acts 7:5 (NLT)
I like how the NLT translation uses the word eventually, which suggest a period of waiting and some things are worth the wait. There would be a progression to the promise. And if you know anything about Abraham’s story, the progression didn’t always appear to be heading in the right direction. In fact, the initial proclamation of the promise did not make much sense at all. To promise a land to a man’s descendants, who had not experience the joy of seeing any offspring seems like joke. And if he was passing through the land then why not give it to him right then?
Perhaps it’s because we are not always mentally, spiritually, emotionally, or physically prepared for some things right now. The short route is always the best one. But the expectation of the promise fulfillment helps us stay the course.