God's Promises for Our Lives
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In the corridor of the CBN offices that connects the television studios, there is a painting that I admire every time I pass by. That painting evokes the exact moment in which Simeon praises God for having fulfilled the promise He made to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah (Luke 2:26). In Luke 2:28-29 we read:
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace” (NIV).
Simeon's wait was over. His eyes beheld the Savior. He was ready to conclude his pilgrimage on Earth.
I can imagine the moment: in the midst of the bustle outside the temple in Jerusalem, I picture Simeon's face, admiring and grateful for the baby Jesus in his arms. From his heart flowed a genuine adoration for God's faithfulness. At the same time, I think of Mary and Joseph, probably stunned to see the expressions that came from this particular old man.
The Bible is full of promises from God. It is very easy for us to use the search term "promises from God" on the internet. The resulting list that appears on the screen is long. If you have ever done so, you may have been surprised to find a particular Scripture that fit you like a tailored suit and in a time of urgent spiritual need. Did you feel comforted?
Sometimes, we may lose sight of a particular aspect of God's promises. However, behind each one, there is the sovereign will of the Father, the only One who is capable of seeing the whole panorama, because He knows how the story ends. Isn´t this wonderful? His promises for our lives are part of a plan in which He has taken us into account, even if we don't quite understand it.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have swallowed hard upon hearing Simeon's wonderful words, followed by the promise that a sword would pierce her heart (Luke 2:35). The pain in Mary's heart at the death of her son must have been indescribable. The promise was painful… And yet, upon fulfillment, it had a supreme purpose: Jesus would give His life for many, once and for all.
We have also heard that the promises of God must be grabbed and taken a hold of. This is very good. The tribe of Dan, when they received their part of the promised land, had to go snatch part of their territory, with iron in hand, as we read in Joshua 19:47:
When the territory of the Danites was lost to them, they went up and attacked Leshem, took it, put it to the sword and occupied it.
This implies an active faith. We must believe God´s promises with the certainty of a climber whose life depends on the rope that protects him from gravity.
Furthermore, I suggest an additional attitude toward God's promises, based on the conviction of His sovereignty and His perfect plan—and that is to run desperately toward the refuge they represent. God established the cities of refuge, but for some reason, it seems that Israel misplaced the order:
Then the LORD said to Joshua: “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses” (Joshua 20:1-2).
Cities of refuge were the promise that God arranged for those who had committed a murder involuntarily, to save them from the avenger of blood. Although it sounds very scary, some Bible scholars point out that this figure was actually a person destined to avenge the death of a relative. The person responsible, as long as he had not intentionally or knowingly shed blood, should seek refuge in those cities. In the book of Joshua, God reminds His people of that provision.
Some texts explain that the most appropriate way to read this portion of the Bible, in regard to what that person who needed refuge should do, was the following: a desperate action of flight by the guilty party toward shelter.
This text resonates in my heart every time I remember my condition before God—and even more than my need, my absolute dependence on His grace. God, through Christ seated at His right hand and who has received all authority, no longer sees us as guilty, but as redeemed. Always remember that! Running to Jesus, embracing His promises, and finding refuge and resting in the will of the Father is really a relief.
My prayer for you today is that no matter the circumstances, even if you don't fully understand what God is doing, find the strength to run toward His promises—and take refuge in His good, perfect, and complete will.
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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