Monday, February 12th
Devotional written by Pastor Brian Howard, Teaching Pastor
WHAT GOD DID AND DIDN’T PROMISE
This week, we will consider the tragic story of the 12 spies sent into the Promised Land in Numbers 13. We call it a tragic story because it is a clear demonstration of Israel’s lack of faith and the consequences a generation of people suffer because of it. The key to the entire passage can be found in the words spoken to Moses, where the Lord says, “I am giving [the land] to the Israelites.” Two things are worth noting in this foundational promise. First, whether the Israelites will take the land is not in question. God is a promise maker and a promise keeper, and if He says He will give them the land, the outcome is not in doubt. Second, the Lord did not promise that the conquest of the land would be quick, easy, painless, or simple. In the ensuing years, the people will find that God’s promise of giving them the land was not a promise of an easy entry.
This distinction – between what God did and did not promise the Israelites – is instructive for us. When we read the Bible, we find many incredible promises of God. We are promised that Jesus will be with us always (Matthew 28:20), that God will be good to us (Psalm 145:9), that the Father will provide for us (Matthew 6:33), that Jesus will provide us rest (Matthew 11:28-30), and many other wonderful things. Christians need to know what God has promised us in this life. But it is equally important for us to understand what God has not promised us. God has not promised us a pain-free life, wealth and riches, or challenge-free families. When we start to believe that God has promised us those things and they don’t come to pass, we become resentful that God never delivered on a promise He never made. For this reason, I always encourage followers of Jesus to memorize Bible verses, not just vague ideas about God. The more we know the Word, word-for-word, the more we will know what God did and did not promise.
For today: Write down three specific promises the Lord has made to you in the Bible.