So there is a little bit of reading with this one, but this is some GOOD stuff! I normally don’t read out of the message translation, but I really liked this.
*I have “italicized” some key statements
13-15That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.
16This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that’s reading the story backward. He is our faith father.
17-18We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”
19-25Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.
Wow! Now that is some powerful scripture! Abraham was a fine example of believing in God’s promises, just like verse 13 says, “God had already put everything together – Abraham then entered in and believed”. He knew you in your mothers womb, He already knew everything about you! (psalm 139:13) He knew/knows every detail about your life, all your struggles and all your successes. He has promise after promise that He is waiting for you to “enter in and believe in!” We often get the first part – we enter in, but then we stop and WE DON’T BELIEVE! It’s like all those projects you start, you buy the supplies, you have the instruction, but you never finish it and actually get to experience it.
We hear people say this all the time, “Christianity isn’t a religion it’s a relationship.” If we just had to follow the “rules” of Christianity then that becomes a contract. Here I am, signing my name on the “I’m a christian” document. I get to use the name of being a christian but that is all. I don’t recieve God’s promises, I don’t walk with or use the power of the Holy Spirit, and I don’t receive eternal life. Wow – BORING! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my religion to be a business deal.
Verse 16 is wonderful. We get so caught up in our own plans for our lives that we forget to trust when God is doing something different than we planned. My boyfriend is always reminding me when I’m frustrated to trust in His perfect will and perfect TIMING! Go with the flow is what I get told often. I am a huge “planner”, very administrative, I like to be in control. It’s not a bad thing, until I stop embracing what God is trying to do in my life or trying to take me. I get the image of God going on a run with me in a park with many trails. Even though I might be on a set trail, there are so many other trails around me that I am not experiencing because I have chosen the trail I am on. Sometimes God wants to take you off the trail you on so you can experience a new trail, a new job, a new relationship, a new city. Whatever the “trail” may be. If you are determined to stay on your set trail, you never get to experience what God is tying to show you. Keep running, a steady pace, go with the flow to whatever trail God leads you on. Hebrews 12:1 (amplified)
1THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us…
Strip off all your extra baggage, your past hurts, your current struggles and just “run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us”. The appointed course isn’t just one trail, it’s many different ones, so don’t be afraid to get off the one you are currently on if that is where God is trying to take you.
17-18 When everything was hopeless, he still chose to believe. He practices Heb 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (NKJV) When God promises something, HE PROMISES it! Don’t give up! I love where it says that Abraham didn’t “tiptoe” around God’s promises! In our prayer times we get to where we are like, “Oh God…. well….. you know I need a job…… so umm…… yea….. could you… oh nevermind. Let me pray for something more important.” SHUT UP AND CHANGE YOUR CONFESSION! “God, I’m a tither and a giver, INCREASE will be given to me! Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and RUNNING OVER!” Don’t just enter into God’s promises, BELIEVE in them! I recently went through a job change and I kept confessing the above statement. I was hired on the spot out of 30 people and am making almost 4 dollars more than my last job. PRAISE HIM! I entered in and believed in His promises for my life.
He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. How many promises have you entered into but not believed in -not experienced because you didn’t believe. How many times have you been hopeless and not even let God show you what He has in store for you because you think you aren’t good enough or someone else would be better for it. To all the single ladies – How many times have you settled because you think, “oh well, atleast he’s better than the last”. NO! Wait for your “Man of God” who is going to sweep you off your feet! Plunge into HIS promises that you are already victorious in this life! It says that abraham plunged in and came up strong, the same promise is for you. So think about what promises you need to plunge into that you have been tiptoeing around. What new trails are God leading you on? What is God trying to show you that you haven’t had enough faith to even begin to experience?
I hope that this has been as enlightening to you as it has been to me. I pray you have a blessed week and experience God’s promises in whole new way.