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Friday, August 15, 2014

 

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CONTENTS | LETTER 9

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An Unbreakable Promise

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Can you make an unbreakable promise? I do not think so. You might make a promise which you do not break. That's a different thing. We cannot make a promise which we can be absolutely sure of fulfilling. All sorts of things beyond our control can make it impossible to keep the promises we make. It is not that we are untruthful when we make the promise, it is simply that we do not always have the power to fulfill our intention.

When God makes an unconditional promise there is absolutely nothing that can prevent its fulfillment. God will keep His word. This is of highest importance. You can trust God -- He does not lie, He cannot lie. If therefore He promises something to you He will keep that word.

There is comfort in that. Neither atom bomb nor hydrogen bomb nor the power of Communism nor even death can prevent God keeping His word. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He has prepared for every eventuality, foreseen everything and has the complete power to accomplish all He desires to do.

Therefore when God made a promise to Abraham it was as certain as the existence of God himself. God does not forget, is never late and never gives short measure. Even in the most unlikely circumstances God works His will. There was an occasion when God was going to punish a city for its extreme wickedness. But there was one family there who believed in him. God told them to gather together into one house -- the house of the one who had faith. The family came together and waited for the fateful day. Their house was on the wall of the city and they could see the army surrounding the walls into whose hand God had committed the destruction. Suddenly there was a great shaking, immensely powerful like that of an earthquake, and the city walls collapsed in a heap of rubble. Only one place remained standing. The place with the house in which the faithful were waiting. God had remembered. (Read about it in Joshua chapters 2 and 6).

Now look again at Abraham. You will remember that we left him standing in Palestine, the land to which God had called him. He was a complete stranger there. Even Lot his nephew, whom he had brought with him, left him because he wanted better pasture for his sheep. When Abraham was quite alone God spoke to him:

"All the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it." (Genesis 13:15).

Abraham's eyes must have smiled. He stood alone without the title deed to a square inch of that land. A stranger and pilgrim. A wanderer without a fixed home and without a city. His eyes looked around him:

"Look from the place where thou art, northward and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which thou seest to thee will I give it . . . " [Genesis 13:14].

Abraham looked. He could see the hills and plains, the fertile valleys and the luxuriant woods. All his. And yet not his. His only by promise. Yes, that's true. But the one who made the promise was God and therefore the words will be fulfilled.

God told Abraham to think about it and to do so in a practical way. "The land is to be yours: go and have a look at it."

"Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it, for I will give it unto thee." (Genesis 13:17).

Abraham did just that. He walked all through the land. He saw where Jesus would walk in later years and his eyes rested upon the mount of Olives and the hill of Jerusalem. He walked by the Jordan and he saw where the village of Bethlehem would spring up like a flower. The hills of Galilee and the height of Carmel, the south country bordering on Egypt all flooded upon the inward eye. And Abraham believed that God would give him the land.

But the years passed by. Abraham still lived in a tent and kings and rulers still possessed their several portions of the land of promise. The man of faith became old and his wife Sarah died. Where was he to bury her? Should he go back to Ur and lay her to rest in his homeland? No. There was but one place. She was to sleep in the land of promise and Abraham had to buy a plot of ground for the burying place. Had God forgotten? Was Abraham tired of waiting for the inheritance? No indeed. Abraham died believing. Believing but never having received the fulfillment of the promise.

What do you think of that? Is it not a very strange story? Strangely wonderful, I think, because the last chapter has not yet been written. Abraham will receive that land. It was to be his not merely for a lifetime: he was to have a far greater and more enjoyable inheritance.

You will doubtless remember that in an earlier letter I mentioned to you that God has appointed a day when all the earth will be filled with his glory. It is the day when every faithful believer who has ever lived or who does live will receive the great inheritance at one and the same time. All of them will inherit the earth. The whole world will be theirs' and Christ will be here to give it to them. We shall learn more about that as we go but here is a catalogue of Scriptures which concern Abraham, and you will see from them that God has not forgotten him:

"God removed him into this land and he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession . . . " Acts 7:4-5.

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country . . . " Hebrews 11:8-9.

". . . having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Hebrews 11:39.

"Ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God . . . " Luke 13:28.

All those words are in the New Testament which was written about 2000 years after Abraham had died. The last words there were spoken by Jesus the Son of God. God, therefore, has not forgotten his promise. Abraham is asleep in the dust of the ground and the passing of the centuries will be but a tick of the clock when God awakens him from his sleep at the return of Jesus.

Then he will receive the inheritance. Not in a body which grows old and dies, but in a never-dying, an immortal body free from every pain and sorrow. Abraham's inheritance will be forever.

There is something very wonderful about this particular promise. It probably seems a long way from our day and might not seem to concern us. Will you let God speak to you? As he did to Abraham so long ago. He wants you to follow Him through this life, believing like Abraham that God has promised you the earth. He has done precisely that.

Jesus said:

"The meek shall inherit the earth." Matt. 5:5.

God said through Paul:

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus ... and if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:27-29.

There are scores upon scores of places in the Bible where the children of God are promised the earth forever. See how many times you can find just that promise in Psalm 37. Read it for yourself. This is the lifeline of God reaching out to you. He wants you to believe Him and to do what He tells you. There is no other way to the inheritance with Abraham.

 


Questions on Letter 8 (answers)

1 . Who only can make an unbreakable promise?

2. Whose family was saved by faith in Joshua 2 and 6?

3. What did God promise Abraham?

4. Did Abraham receive that inheritance in his life time?

5. When will he receive it?

6. If we follow God as Abraham did what has God promised us?

CONTENTS | LETTER 9

 

 


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