2001-05-23 - A Great Promise
Hearing God's Callings Series, Part 5
Originally Published 1999-02-10
Genesis 15:5 (NLT) Then the LORD brought Abram outside beneath the night sky and told him, "Look up into the heavens and count the stars if you can. Your descendants will be like that-too many to count!"
A couple years ago, my mom and dad went on a two-week vacation to Europe. They bought books, visited travel agents, and talked with friends who had been there. My parents were like little children waiting for school to end for the summer. They had high expectations for the trip. It lived up to its promise of a fulfilling and invigorating experience, meeting all their expectations and hopes. Although life doesn't always work out that way, I do know that God will always honor His promises.
When God call us, there is always a great promise that accompanies the calling. In Genesis 12, when God calls Abram to leave his country and go to the land He will show him, God also makes a promise to Abram. He promises Abram that he will be the father of a great nation. As we read through Genesis and follow Abram on his journey, we can see that his faith, hope and life all center on God's promise. This promise is the motivating factor in all of Abram's decisions. Think about it: God is not going to call you to do something just for the fun of it. God has a plan for your life. All of God's callings in our lives have a promise along with the calling. His promise is to be a loving Father and to provide for all our needs, wherever He leads us.
I often struggle with the "promise" part of a calling. I believe most people do. Think about it for a moment. Try to visualize a calling God has in your life. What is preventing you from acting on that call? Is it the promise from God? Are you saying, "yeah God, I hear Your call, but I just don't know if I can do that?" Let's take the most basic call in all of our lives, the call for obedience to God. God is such a loving and gracious God, that He wants to give us an "abundant life." We often think, "but I have to sacrifice so much to be obedient." We do not focus on what we are gaining. It's like the alcoholic that just cannot imagine life without that next drink. He clings to his destructive behavior because he doesn't believe that there is much to gain by giving up, letting go and seeking the help he needs to end his self-destructive ways.
Have you heard the promise that goes along with your calling? More importantly, are you listening to the promise? Even more importantly, do you trust the promise? Do you trust God -- do you really trust Him with your life? God's tests in our lives are simply God asking, "Do you trust Me?"
The promise gives us hope, and hope gives us faith and belief in the calling. If you lose sight of the promise, you lose hope -- and as a result, you lose faith in God.
In today's Scripture, God is answering Abram's question to God about God's promise to him, reassuring Abram about the promise. It is okay to question God, folks. It is okay to shout out to God that you don't understand, you don't hear, you don't listen, or that you don't want to do something. It's okay to be very specific in your crying out to God about your calling. Even Jesus, before He was crucified, prayed to the Father, "take this cup from Me." Jesus was questioning the call, but in the end, He submitted to His Father's will, not his own. How about you?
Dear Father, we hear Your callings, but help us to trust and listen to Your promise. Forgive us for clinging to our own ways, for thinking we can do life better without You. Give us Your wisdom to focus on the promise. In Christ's name, Amen