Has God Made a Special Promise to You?
Joyce Webb 2010
The Bible tells of many promises that God has made to people who believe. These are promises that have to do with salvation, His taking care of us, His promise to never leave us, etc.
These promises are for any and all who believe and walk in obedience to God.
Sometimes when we pray and ask God for special things that we need or want, we feel in our spirits that God has spoken to us that He will give us that special thing.
It is a special promise just to us and for us. It is something that we just felt in our spirit. It could be more than that. It could be a dream we were given. It could be a vision.
It could be a promise of healing, or that God plans to use your life in a special way. It could be a promise of God meeting a big need in your life that needs a special answer.
When you feel that God has given you this promise, you are very happy. You expect God to do what He said He will do. Everyday you look to see that thing happen.
Sometimes God makes the thing happen right away. We are happy and praise God.
Sometimes God does not make the promise happen for a long time.
That is when it gets very hard to keep believing and having faith.
Have you ever agreed to meet someone at a restaurant at a certain time? You go to the restaurant and they are not there, so you wait.
For the first few minutes, you are patient. Then you start looking at your watch about every 3 seconds.
You think of all the reasons they could be late. You wait.
You begin to get nervous. You think maybe they did not understand the correct time. Then you think, maybe you did not get the time right.
Then you wonder if you or they got the wrong day.
You begin to lose patience. You think about leaving. Just forget about it.
You begin to doubt that they will come at all. Maybe they completely forgot. Maybe they changed their mind.
When God gives us a promise and it does not happen right away, we do the same thing with God. We begin to get nervous. We begin to wonder if we understood correctly. We begin to doubt that the promise will happen at all. Maybe we will leave our faith and just forget about it.
Sometimes trusting and believing is hard work. It takes a lot of determination. It takes a lot of staying power. "Holding on."
Why would God make us wait so long before giving us the promise that He himself gave to us?
Let us look at some people in the Bible.
God came to Abram one day and called him to leave the place where he lived and move to a place where God would lead him.
God said that if Abram would follow Him and go where He led that God would give Abram many children. He would be a father of a great nation of people. That many, many people would be blessed because of Abram's family.
Abram believed God. Abram was about 75 years old and he and his wife did not have any children.
Long ago this was thought to be a shame and embarrassment. Abram wanted very much to have a son. He was a rich man and he wanted a son to carry on his name and his riches.
Abram moved and walked hundreds of miles, living in a tent, moving as God showed him. Finally, God took him to a high place and told Abram that God was going to give to Abram all the land that Abram could see. That Abram's family would fill the land.
Abram believed God.
Year after year went by----no child. God came to Abram several more times and gave him the same promise. One time God told Abram to change his name to Abraham. Abraham means father of many.
So Abram changed his name. People called him Abraham.
It must have been a surprise to people when they asked Abraham about his family and how many children he had. The name Abraham means "father of many". Abraham had to say he did not have any children.
I wonder what the people thought? What did Abraham think when he had to explain that? He probably told them that God had promised him many children.
About 12 years into waiting for God to give him a son---Sarah decides that God needs help.
She talks Abraham into having sex with her maid, so they can have a child. This was not unusual. In those days, men had more than one wife, and they at times, also, had sex with a wife's servants. The wife called the children of her servant as her own. Sarah planned to call the baby her own.
So Abraham had sex with Hagar. They had a son, Ishmael.
But Ishmael was not the "promised" son. The promised son was to be from Abraham and Sarah his wife.
Ishmael was "man's idea or answer"--not God's.
Abraham has waited 25 years for God fill the promise. Abraham was old before at 75---now he was 100. Abraham could not expect to have children at 100. His wife was 90.
In Bible times people lived hundreds of years. But this was still thought to be too old to be expecting children.
In their own bodies and the way of nature---they were too old.
But God was not worried about that. God could make them have children whenever. It was God's promise and He was able to make it happen.
Finally, after 25 years of waiting, Abraham has the "promised" son, Isaac. A son with his wife, Sarah. Just like God promised.
Through all those years, Abraham kept believing. He never gave up. He never became angry or bitter. He just kept trusting God.
He did have the one time of trying to help God by having a baby with Hagar. That was a very bad decision. One that still lasts to this day---3000 years later.
When Isaac was born, Ishmael was about 12 years old. One day Sarah saw Ishmael making fun of Isaac. She became so angry, she told Abraham she wanted Hagar and Ishmael to go far away. She never wanted to see them again.
Abraham loved Ishmael and did not want to send them away. But Sarah was determined. Finally, Abraham sent them away.
Ishmael had many sons, and they had many sons. They became a very large nation of people. They are the Arab nations of today. They hate Isaac's people---the Jews.
Helping God by our own ideas ----is a bad idea. We always make a mess of things. Then God has to work even harder to make his promise come true----because we messed things up.
Even after Isaac was born, and he was about 12 or 14, God tested Abraham's faith.
God told Abraham to take his son to a mountain and sacrifice his son on an altar to God.
God did not even want people to kill humans for sacrifice on altars. Some of the people around in other nations did that, and God was against it.
Abraham did not question God. He took his dearly loved son of promise and took him up on the mountain to give him in sacrifice to God.
Abraham had the knife in his hand to kill his son---when God told Abraham to stop.
God was testing Abraham to see if Abraham loved Him even more than he loved this dear son. Abraham passed the test.
Abraham never gave up the faith that God would do as He said.
Another person in the Bible was David.
David was one of many sons of Jesse. All of the sons were good looking, and strong. They were good men.
David was the youngest. His family kept sheep. David was out in the fields with the sheep much of the time.
One day, God spoke to Samuel the prophet/preacher. He told him to go to Jesse's house and he was to pray over one of the sons----because God was going to choose one of them to be the next king.
Saul was the king. He had a son who should be the next king. But Saul had not obeyed God on two special times. God told Saul that his family would not be allowed to continue being the kings. God was going to take away the kingship from Saul.
Samuel went to Jesse's house to see his sons. Samuel looked at each one of these good men. Any one of them would make a good king.
All of the sons passed in front of Samuel. God did not choose any one of them. Samuel asked, "Do you have any more sons?" They said, "Yes, David. He is with the sheep." So they brought David in. God said to Samuel, "He is the one." So Samuel put oil on David's head and prayed for him.
This was a surprise to David and his family. David is young, maybe 17 to 19 years old. He did not expect to be chosen to be king.
Saul learned that David had been chosen to be the next king. Saul was not happy. He was very angry. He was jealous. He tried to kill David.
David had to hide in the hills and caves to stay away from Saul and his soldiers. He had to keep moving so they did not find him.
One time David hid in a cave and he and some men with him were far back in the cave-----Saul came to the same cave and was at the front of the cave. Saul did not know that David was there. So Saul and his soldiers went to sleep.
It was a good time for David to "help God". David could have killed Saul and then been king himself. But David would not do it. He said that he would wait for God's time. That God would take Saul out and when it was God's time---David would be king.
David hid from Saul, and later David had fighting men with him so Saul did not try to kill him. But David still had to live away out in the country. Finally, Saul was killed in a battle with another king.
David was finally the king----after about 13 years or so of waiting, running, hiding, watching for his life.
He was a hard time. David had to grow up a lot. He had to learn to be a fighting man. He had to learn to be a leader of men. He had to learn to be patient. He decided to not take things into his own hands and try to make things happen. He decided he would let God do it in His own time.
In Psalm 89:19 David wrote: "In a vision you spoke to your prophet and said, ËœI have chosen a good young man from the common people to be the king---he is my servant, David." In verses, 38, 39 David says: Then why have you thrown me away? Why have you rejected (refused) me? Why be so angry with the one YOU chose as king? Have you changed your mind and put away this promise?"
In Psalm 89 David shows how sad he feels---how frustrated, how he struggled to understand why. His spirit is vexed. At the end of this Psalm, David lets God know that he is still willing for God to do things His way and in His time. David writes: "And yet, ---blessed be the Lord forever; Amen and Amen."
David surrenders to God's time and God's way.
When David became the king. He had learned a lot. He had a tender, kind, wise heart. He was the best, most loved king Israel ever had.
God knew what He was doing. It takes time to make a man ready to be a good king.
Another story is about Joseph.
Joseph was the next to the youngest son of 12 sons. He was a favorite son because his mother was his father's favorite wife. His father had been married to two women.
His father gave him a special coat. In other ways, his brothers knew he was a favorite. His brothers were very jealous of him and hated him because he was favored.
One day, God gave Joseph a dream. In the dream, he saw his brothers bowing down to him like people do before a king. He saw a dream where his father and mother bowed to him, too.
He told his family about this dream. Maybe this was not a wise thing to do, but Joseph was young---maybe 17.
His brothers were so angry when they heard the dream.
One day they were all out in the fields with the sheep. The brothers decided they would kill Joseph and then tell the father that an animal killed him.
Then along came some men on camels, they were going to Egypt. So the brothers decided to sell Joseph as a slave. They still told the father that an animal killed him.
So Joseph is taken far away to Egypt. He is sold as a slave to a man who was an important man who helped in the government of Egypt. Joseph worked for him and did a very good job.
Joseph had to learn to speak the Egyptian language. He had to dress like them. He had to learn how they believed and did things. He did very well and the man he worked for trusted Joseph.
One day the man's wife told a lie about Joseph and got him into trouble. The man believed his wife. Joseph was put into prison.
What do you suppose Joseph is thinking? God gave him a dream that his family will bow down to him, but he has become a slave! Now he is a slave in prison! Why? How is this going to make him a ruler?
Joseph is so good in prison that the man who runs the prison let Joseph take care of things.
In the prison are two of the king's servants. They both have strange dreams. They do not know what the dreams mean. God tells Joseph what the dreams mean.
Later both men leave the prison. What Joseph said was going to happen to them came true. One man was killed by the king. One man was put back in his job.
One day the king/Pharaoh had a strange dream. He tried to get his wise men to tell him what the dream meant. No one could help him.
Finally, the man from the prison remembered that Joseph was able to tell dreams because God helped him. He told the king. The king called for Joseph to come out of the prison and talk with him.
God helped Joseph to know what the dream meant. After the king heard the dream, he made Joseph a leader. He was like a second king.
One day, his brothers came to the house of the king. They had to bow down. They did not know it was Joseph. He looked so different. He had grown up and he looked and talked like an Egyptian.
Joseph knew who they were. When he saw them all bowing down, he remembered God's promise in his dream.
Later, his father came to Egypt, He, too, bowed before Joseph.
In Psalms 105: 17 He (God) sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Vs. 18 His feet they hurt with iron chains: he was laid in iron.
The King James Version says in the center column, that this sentence means---the iron came into his soul.
Vs. 19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him.
What was the hardest part for Joseph? Is was not being a slave, it was not being in prison---it was "the word of the Lord that tried him". It was God's promise that was not happening---that was so hard to bear.
God's promise tried him. It was so hard to keep believing when every thing looked the opposite. Everything looked impossible.
Who would have thought that a slave in prison could become a leader like a second king?
Joseph never got a bad attitude. He did not get angry and bitter. He did not give up to depression. He did not lose his faith. He kept believing that some how, in some way, in God's time---He would keep His word.
The King James Version says that "iron came into his soul" as Joseph was in prison.
The iron of faith, the iron of submission (surrender), the iron of forgiveness to his brothers and what they had done to him.
As a leader in Egypt, Joseph would need to be strong like iron.
Later, when Joseph saw his brothers, they were afraid of him. Joseph was a ruler in Egypt with much power. He could have them all killed. What they had done to Joseph was terrible.
Joseph had forgiven them. He said to them, "You planned evil against me, but God meant it for good." Genesis 50:20 "So now it was not you that sent me here, but God." Genesis 45:8
All the bad things that happen---Joseph understood that God allowed it---God was watching. God used the bad to still work out His plan for Joseph.
Has God given you a special promise? Are you still waiting for it to happen?
Remember Abraham, David, and Joseph.
Do not try to help God answer the promise. Wait.
Keep believing. Do not give up your faith.
It will be hard. You will need to learn to be strong like iron. But in the end, God's word will happen.
In the book of Habakkuk, God gave the prophet a vision. God said to him, "The vision will not happen for awhile. It has an appointed time. Even though it seems a long time coming, wait for it. It is not a lie. It will happen." Habakkuk 2:3