Promises

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Daily Reformation, Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

From the Reformer

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine. Moses passes over thirteen years of Abram’s life, not because nothing worthy of remembrance had in the meantime occurred; but because the Spirit of God, according to his own will, selects those things which are most necessary to be known. He purposely points out the length of time which had elapsed from the birth of Ishmael to the period when Isaac was promised, for the purpose of teaching us that he long remained satisfied with that son who should, at length, be rejected, and that he was as one deluded by a fallacious appearance. Meanwhile, we see in what a circuitous course the Lord led him. It was even possible that he brought this delay upon himself by his own fault, in having precipitately entered into second nuptials; yet as Moses declares no such thing, I leave it undetermined. Let it suffice to accept what is certain; namely, that Abram being contented with his only son, ceased to desire any other seed. The want of offspring had previously excited him to constant prayers and sighings; for the promise of God was so fixed in his mind, that he was ardently carried forward to seek its fulfillment. And now, falsely supposing that he had obtained his wish, he is led away by the presence of his son according to the flesh, from the expectation of a spiritual seed. Again the wonderful goodness of God shows itself, in that Abram himself is raised, beyond his own expectation and desire, to a new hope, and he suddenly hears, that what it never came into his mind to ask, is granted unto him. If he had been daily offering up importunate prayers for this blessing, we should not so plainly have seen that it was conferred upon him by the free gift of God, as when it is given to him without his either thinking of it or desiring it.

—John Calvin, Commentary in Genesis

Pulling It Together

“That’s good enough.” How often have you said or thought that? This culture is filled with half-done jobs, services performed poorly, and broken promises. Often what is often meant when one says, “That’s good enough” is, it’s good enough for me. What about God? What is good enough for God? Just because one has grown used to broken pledges, should one be content with this status quo? Many expect the task at church to be half or poorly done or members to show up half the time. It does not matter if services are carried out as expected by the pastor because the people are happy to be getting this much out of him. Broken promises at church? One gets used to broken promises because of business, marriage, and vocation. But is this where one should settle? God promises and is able and willing to deliver on what he has promised. Abraham would have settled for Ishmael and missed the promise. What are you settling for in your church, your home, and your walk with God? He has promised; take him at his word.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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