A Promise Kept
August 5 — Hebrews 6:13–18
17Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. (Hebrews 6:17–18)
God’s promise to His people through Abraham was based on two unchangeable facts: The promise of blessing [Genesis 12:1–3] and His oath to Abraham [Genesis 22:15–18]. The promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12 and, indirectly, His promise to the whole world through Abraham was the following: God would raise up a great nation through Abraham’s descendants, make Abraham’s name great throughout the world, and, bless the entire world through Abraham and his descendants.
Abraham waited… and waited… and waited… and waited some more for God to keep this promise. Finally when he was 100 years old and hope seemed hopeless, Abraham saw God begin to keep His word. Sarah, in her old age, gave Abraham a son whom they named Isaac. But, just when everything seemed like it was finally coming true, God commanded Abraham (in Genesis 22) to take this son of his and offer him as a sacrifice. What a test of faith! But Abraham held on to the promise of God and trusted God to do what was right. He led Isaac up the mountain intent on obeying God. Of course, God honored Abraham’s obedience and stopped him before Abraham actually sacrificed Isaac. Then God made an oath to Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 22:16–18. He said that He would bless Abraham and make his descendants as numerous as the stars and as the sand on the seashore! He added that, through Abraham’s offspring, all nations would be blessed.
God has fulfilled that oath to Abraham. Abraham’s descendants are innumerable — not just his Jewish descendants but His spiritual descendants as well. For you see, Abraham’s offspring — through whom “all nations on the earth will be blessed” — was none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. So, Abraham is also our spiritual forefather! And God has kept His promise and His oath. By these two unchangeable things we can have peace in knowing how dependable our God is.
Still, some people struggle with believing that God could make such wonderful promises to them. Author Max Lucado answers such arguments in his book A Gentle Thunder. He writes
God’s love is not human. His love is not normal. His love sees your sin and loves you still. Does he approve of your error? No. Do you need to repent? Yes. But do you repent for his sake or yours? Yours. His ego needs no apology. His love needs no bolstering. And he could not love you more than he does right now. [A Gentle Thunder, p. 48]
God’s love for us doesn’t depend on our performance. With that in mind, can’t you see that the basis for God’s promise and oath to us — His unchanging love for us — is strong enough to handle our shortcomings and failures? Once you see that, you can experience that great encouragement, that strong consolation, that undying peace of which Hebrews 6:18 speaks. Take God at His word today and hold on to the hope He offers us in His Word.