Monday, April 24, 2023

          God’s promises are found throughout the Bible.  Some promises are to specific people in specific situations.  Other promises are for a specific time.  Some promises were intended for Israel as a nation.  But many promises are general in nature and applicable by faith for those who know and love the Lord today.  We can learn much about God’s character and ways by studying His promises.  In Genesis 32, Jacob was preparing to reunite and reconnect with his brother Esau.  We remember that Jacob had robbed Esau of his birthright and blessing.  And this experience divided the brothers and put both emotional and physical distance between them. 
            But a breakthrough was at hand in Genesis 32.  Like we might do today, Jacob prayed about the reunion with Esau and for God to preside over the reunion and to protect him from any possible harm or backlash from Esau.  In Genesis 32:9-10 the Bible says, “Then Jacob prayed, O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper, I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant.”
            Jacob prepared for that reunion by recalling one of God’s foundational promises to his ancestors and family.  He recalled God’s kindness to him personally.  We often succeed in prayer by recalling what God has already said and done.  God is the God of history—He works in history to accomplish His purposes.  God’s promises are fulfilled in history and in the actions that God undertakes for His people.  My sense is that Jacob knew he could count on God’s help in this reunion with Esau because God had been so generous, gracious and good in the past. 
            Jacob mentioned the names of both his grandfather (Abraham) and father (Isaac).  He knew how the Lord had bestowed His favor on both men.  Indeed, Isaac was alive only because of what God had done for and through these two ancestors.  One way that we can encourage our faith is to see where God has blessed our family line or tree.  Recall blessings that were given to parents, grandparents and forebearers whose names may be unfamiliar.  In Bible days, stories helped form memories and memories often came through stories.  Today, we might have to be intentional about writing down what God has done or telling others what God has done so that blessings are preserved and remembered for generations to come. 
            Like Jacob, we also must recognize that we are unworthy of what God has given and done.  Everything we receive from the Lord is grace—forgiveness, healing, provisions, daily bread, strength, etc.  Nothing is earned or deserved.  It all comes to us as grace from an Amazing Giver.  These gifts help us to trust God’s promises.  We realize that God is not moody, prejudicial or flippant.  He does not give or withhold based on feelings or emotions.  God’s promises are anchored in His ways and character above all. We can go boldly before the Lord because He has invited us to approach Him and to make our appeals directly to Him. 
            To make the most of your prayer time, remember some of God’s many promises.  If you are praying for peace, contentment, forgiveness, strength or wisdom, it would be good to match your prayers with specific promises that God has made about such things.  You will likely have to dig into Scripture to find these things but such a search is well-worth the rewards that come from it. When we pray God’s promises, we are more likely to remember them and to hold on to them as we make our way through challenging days and experiences.  The characters we find in the Bible are like us in many ways—sinners, rough around the edges and not always as faithful as possible.  But we can learn from them and their uncanny ability to trust the promises of God.  Have a great Monday.  Remember you can worship at any time at

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