“God made promises to Abraham and He made many promises to many people in the Bible. How is it that we (me, you, or anyone in modern times) can claim a promise, if it was said to another person in a specific circumstance in the Bible? I often do this and even insert my name into a scripture, but why do I do this? How does it become my promise?”
A friend of ours sent this question to us after reading one of our online Daily Disciples Devotionals. I love this question because I do believe many of us today become confused between reciting Bible verses and receiving Bible verses. When we recite a Bible verse, it is for our strength and focus and encouragement. So, when I am feeling weak, I might have read that morning, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. But God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…” 1 Corinthians 10:13. We can recite this over and over to get us through difficult times. We also find that other people may quote (or recite) these kind of verses to us. Not necessarily because they were given by God specifically but the verses are general encouragements. Obviously, the Holy Spirit does what He wants but I find that the verses we are reciting over and over to ourselves are more of the immediate relief and not necessarily a personal, long term promise.
Promises are different. A promise is something that we receive from the Lord. These promises are given to strengthen our faith and the promise usually has to do with a long term vision or goal that God has placed on your heart. When reading about God’s promise to Abraham, it took 25 years for Isaac to be born. The promise was very tangible but associated with a very long wait. God loves faith and for faith to be developed, it needs to be tested. Faith takes patience, perseverance, endurance, long suffering and plants a deep seed inner joy. I have found that God has given promises to me when the road was going to be the hardest. He speaks louder when it takes more trials and time to accomplish the promise.
How can we claim Abraham’s promise for us today? The Bible is written for us to understand the ways of God. As we see how God worked in Abraham’s life, we start learning how He will work in our lives too. God has given promises since the beginning of time and He does not change. He is a promise-giving God. He does speak to His people and He does place desires on their hearts and He does lead His people and He does keep His word (John 10).
Pray for discernment in knowing the difference between receiving a promise or reciting a promise. There is a difference and many Christians have become stumbled by their interpretation of what they wanted God to say instead of what God was saying.
It is His game. Look, Learn, Listen and Let Him the God who gives the promise as well as fulfill the promise. We just need to be obedient and Faith-full.