You open your email and read: “You’ve won a trip to Hawaii.” Don’t get too excited… if you will look at the fine print (and if they are honest) you will read: “Airfare not included. Food not included. Hotel is free but there will be a pool charge, bed charge and air conditioning is coin operated. You will also be bombarded with junk email until your eyes pop out of their sockets. And you have also just launched a deadly virus that will crash your hard drive. Have a nice day.”
Don’t you hate advertisers that don’t deliver on their promises? Promises made with strings attached are not fun.
A co-worker in Maryland once went on a vacation in the Bahamas. Sounds like fun, huh. Well his hotel’s air conditioning unit went out. The food was terrible. And there were also some buildings in his brochure that he couldn’t locate on the hotel’s grounds. He went to ask about them and was told that they had burned to the ground two years earlier. Promises made and not kept are even worse.
God does not operate like that. With Him it is: Promise Made, Promise Kept.
We have been following Abraham in his pursuit of the promise of God that he would have a son. We come to Promise Fulfilled! Genesis 21:1-2 reads: “Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.”
Note two things: It was accomplished as God said it would be, and when God said it would occur.
Which are you struggling with? The how or the when? How God is going to help you or When God is going to show up? If you are caught in that place, do what Abraham did, with faith and patience, Anchor yourself in the promises of God.
Now, what do you do once the promise is fulfilled… when your ship finally arrives in the harbor? Sometimes when boats finally reach their destination there is a great crowd to meet them at the dock. Sometimes there is a band playing to celebrate the arrival. (I’ve never been on a cruse or a boat, but I did watch a lot of episodes of The Love Boat when I was a kid so I know this to be true.) We looked for weeks at how Abraham weathered storms before he could enjoy the promise of God, now let’s look at that moment of “promise arrival.”
What does one do when God comes through?
#1 – After fulfillment one needs to continue to obey God.
What is the first thing Abraham does after his son is born? Genesis 21:3, 4 – “Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.” This is exactly what God had instructed Abraham to do in Genesis 17. After you get what you want is not the time to go A.W.O.L. from God. Continue in obedience.
#2 – After fulfillment one needs to be joyful.
Sarah praises God. She says: “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” (21:6) Isaac, Hebrew for laughter, was an appropriate name for this moment. Everyone breaks into celebration. Have you remembered to thank God after your breakthrough?
#3 – After fulfillment one needs to remember and be more trusting in the future.
Don’t let this victory swell you with pride… let it be the catalyst for a lifetime of trust in the Lord. Remain obedient. Throw a party. But then trust God for the next part of the plan.
God had first promised in chapter 12 when Abraham was 75 and Sarah was 65. He then delayed the fulfillment of the promise till Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90. The wait only produced greater joy for them in the end.
Remember that in your next waiting period.
So where are you?
Freshly Blessed? Rejoice. Your ship has come in. Let the band play.
Found God to be Faithful? Show your appreciation through continued obedience. Let God show you new heights to climb.
Still waiting? Wait with patience. He will see you through. A promise is a promise.