Deeply Rooted Promises

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Original photo by Daniel Zaas

Daily Reformation, Jeremiah 17:5-10

From the Reformer

Before the birth of Isaac, Abraham had received promise of a seed in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed; the propagation of a seed that for number should equal the stars of heaven, and the sand of the sea, &c. Many years after he prepares, in obedience to a divine message, to sacrifice his son. Having done this act of obedience, he receives the promise, “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore, and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice,” (Gn. 22:16-18). What is it we hear? Did Abraham by his obedience merit the blessing which had been promised him before the precept was given? Here assuredly we see without ambiguity that God rewards the works of believers with blessings which he had given them before the works were thought of, there still being no cause for the blessings which he bestows but his own mercy.

—John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

Pulling It Together

Why! Oh, why! Why! Why! Mistaken for questions, this lament is often heard by pastors in hospitals and funeral homes—and in the homes of their people long after the death of a loved one or a divorce or other loss. “Why would God allow this to happen?” Or in plainer words, “Why did God do this to me?”

God promises wondrous strength and peace and so many other blessings. He does not then withhold them after he makes the promise. But too often, we will not accept his blessings because we merely feel what is on the surface of things. “Heat” will come in this life, so blessed are you if your roots have spread down deeply into the Living Water. “Drought” will still occur in your life—be certain of this—but that does not mean the promise has been removed. You will still bear fruit if your trust runs deep. God’s promises are as sure as the troubles of life.

The greatest promise of God is the most trustworthy of all: the Deliverer from sin and death. Do not turn away; trust in the Lord.

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

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