Stepping into Promise – Pastor Ben Sanders

The word promise generally evokes positive feelings. It is mainly used to describe how someone gives their word about something good they will do. Even if the promise pertains to something bad never happening again, it’s more positive than negative. It stirs within us a feeling of hope.

When it comes to the Bible, we like to get all excited about God’s promises don’t we? Who wouldn’t be excited to receive a promise from our Heavenly Father? Now, I’m not inferring that promises should not excite us, I am however going to submit to you that there is more to receiving them than we may understand.

God’s promises ARE for His children and they are freely made available to us, but not without some conditions. We play a part in receiving a promise from God. Our Father God in His infinite wisdom knew that we could struggle with staying spiritually immature in our dealings with His promises. He knew that if we received every promise from God without a personal investment of some kind we would not grow and mature. Therefore God attached conditions to His promises.

Let’s look at a story that will provide a rich illustration for conditional promises. In the book of Exodus in the Old Testament, you can find the story of when God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt. God led them into the wilderness where He begins to tell them that He is going to lead them to the “Promise Land.” In Numbers chapter 13, we read the story of God instructing Moses to send 12 spies into Canaan to survey the land. When these guys returned the where excited and filled with hope! They reported that this land was flowing with milk and honey and had giant grapes that took several men to carry. All of a sudden a few of the guys chimed in and reported that there were giants living there that were so huge that the spies looked like grasshoppers.

Well, that last bit of information was all the Israelites needed to hear before they went from excitement and expectation to fear and doom. When it sounded easy, they were all in, but as soon as they heard about the giants they lost all faith in God and His promise. They no longer felt they would be able to take this land for themselves.

Later, as Moses was about to die and was passing the leadership to Joshua, he recounts the story to Joshua. He tells him that because of the people’s lack of faith and trust in God, no one but the children, Joshua and Caleb would enter Canaan!

This seems really severe, but God had showed them signs and wonders yet they still did not believe. If there was a chance of hardship they were out!! Receiving the promise of God was awesome…doing what God was instructing, not so much. They were perfectly willing to forfeit their God given inheritance out of fear.

You may find some common ground with these folks. It can be easy to read these stories and think that these are some thick skulled individuals. However, if we really take a moment to think, we can find similarities to ourselves. There have probably been times that if you’re being honest, you have sought out a particular promise, without paying attention to the conditions that went along with it. We have ALL been there.

God is no respecter of people according to Acts 10:34. This is great news because it means that His promises are available to ANYONE. Along with that is the fact that His conditions and commands are for everyone as well.

Today, we can reflect on areas in our lives where we are trying to take shortcuts to obtain God’s promises. We can ask Him to reveal these things to us because He is not in the business of hiding truth from us. He is a loving Father who wants His children to live in peace and for them to enjoy all that He has promised us.