People talk all the time about believing the promises of God in our life. I find defining the promises really difficult. There are promises I want to believe are for me. But how do I know that something in scripture is a permanent promise that applies to everyone and not just a promise that applies to certain someones?
There are some I have no doubt about. For example, Romans 8:28: “For we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”
I love God. So that promise must apply to me. (I sometimes struggle to remember it, and I often have to remind myself of it, but it’s a promise for me without any doubt.)
But then you read about other promises that are made in scripture. Here’s one I want to claim for myself, but how can I be sure it’s for me and not just for the people who were there?
“You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.” Exodus 23: 25-26
And I want this one:
“Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.” Deuteronomy 6:3
Or this one:
“He will love you and bless you, and he will give you many children. He will give fertility to your land and your animals. . . . You will be blessed above all nations of the earth. None of your men or women will be childless, and all your livestock will bear young.” Deuteronomy 7: 13-14
And I’m not even asking for any sheep or goats to bear young.
I don’t have an answer. This is something I’ve been pondering for many months. In fact, I’ve wondered for many years what the promises are in the Bible. There isn’t any set rule that I can see. Like, if it’s written in Psalms it’s for you but not if it’s given by Moses. Nothing like that.
So I pray over these verses. And I ask God to let them apply to my life and to the lives of the many men and women I’ve come across through blogging or other means who are also struggling through infertility. And I keep asking for clarity and guidance.
Today, as I read those verses in Deuteronomy 7, I thought it was clear for a moment. Those promises are clearly made to the children of Israel.
But could I claim the promises to Israel? Am I like a child of Israel? I’m not descended from Israel (at least, not as far as I know). But I have been adopted into the family of God by belief in Christ Jesus and his work for me. Does that entitle me to the promises given to Israel? I don’t know, but I’d like to think so. (I like this perspective on the subject.)
When I google the promises in the Bible, many lists come up. So I clicked on one. This is one of the promises listed:
“‘For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says the Lord.” Jeremiah 30:17.
Some clearly claim this promise for themselves, even though it is prefaced with “This is the message the Lord gave concerning Israel and Judah” (30:4).
I realize this is pretty convoluted. I’m still trying to figure it out myself, so maybe I’m not the best one to be writing on this subject. But I’ll leave you with this verse (which I’ll be meditating on and trying to better understand over the next few days for sure):
“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us–by me [Paul] and Silas and Timothy–was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No,’ but in him it has always been ‘Yes.’ For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:19-20
And I will say, “Amen” to those promises as I read them–just in case they are meant for me.
April 12, 2013 at 9:31 am
Oh my goodness, this is like reading my mind! I wrestle with so much, I’ve basically tried to not think about it. It does seem that we can claim everything is Psalms, but then why not Deuteronomy? Those promises are so sweet. Prior to IF I never would have thought much of it, but how good of God to promise that none would be barren! Then I think about Hannah, Sarah, Rachel and so on. Clearly they were barren for a purpose. But it was not permanent. So can I trust that for myself? that even though I am now, and I believe it is for a purpose, it won’t be forever?How can God command us to be fruitful and multiply and prevent us from doing it…at least permanently?
I will say amen with you!!
April 12, 2013 at 9:39 am
Oh also, all the promise lists are all the good ones, but there are ones like that we will suffer and so forth too. I do take comfort in that knowing he said this would happen, and that trials Purdue perseverance and perseverance character and character hope which does disappoint! Although the end of that verse confuses me! Ha how does character produce hope?