The Word of Promise 2

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The Word of Promise 2

By Ivan Ho    02 Jan 2023

The Word of Promise 1


When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”

Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”


Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”
Genesis 17:1‭-‬8‭, ‬15‭-‬16 NKJV


But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”
Romans 9:6‭-‬9 NKJV


As we welcome year 2023, all that has happened in 2022 is in the past except that which God has spoken and His words are eternal. Heaven and earth may pass away but God’s words are established forever! 

This is not just another word of encouragement to make us feel good about the new year and what’s in store for us in 2023. We need to know that what God is doing in 2023 is a continuation of what God has been saying and doing since the beginning of time. 

That’s why I would like to take us back all the way to the book of Genesis to the time when God made His promise to Abraham. In Genesis 17, it wasn’t the first time that God appeared and spoke to Abraham when he was an old man of ninety-nine years old. In fact, the first time that God made His promise to Abraham was when he was seventy-five, ie 24 years before!


Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.
Genesis 12:1‭-‬5 NKJV


At ninety-nine, 24 years after God initially made His covenant with him, Abraham, who was called Abram back then, had a son called Ishmael who was born to him by his maid servant Hagar. Even though Abram loved Ishmael, he must have felt like a total fool for he knew that Ishmael wasn’t who God has promised but one that he brought forth in the flesh. 13 years after Ishmael was born, God spoke to him again and reminded Abraham the same promise that was made all those years ago, at the time when both he and his wife Sarah, who was 90 years old, were well passed the age to bear child! In fact, Sarah already realised when she was 77 that it was biologically speaking impossible for her to have any child, so she proposed to her husband to sleep with her maid servant Hagar instead in order to “make it happen” .  When one is desperate, he or she will take any drastic measure as the last resort, no matter how stupid it may seem.

For 13 years after Ishmael was born, God did not speak to Abram. In fact, it would be 14 years since Abram made the blunder to sleep with Hagar. Then after years of silence, God appeared and spoke to him again. Genesis 17:1‭-‬16

Now when God again reminded Abraham at 99 about his promised son, he simply laughed it off. In fact he fell on his face and laughed in disbelief! 

Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child? ”
Genesis 17:17 NKJV

Then his natural mind went into action again when he figured that God must be referring to his son Ishmael. 

And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”
Genesis 17:18 NKJV

At this point, God revealed to Abraham that his promised son’s name would be called Isaac. For the first time, God was specific to Abraham the name of the child whom He has planned all along.

Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.
Genesis 17:19 NKJV

Not only that, God made it clear to him when his child would be born. 

But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
Genesis 17:21‭-‬22 NKJV


Set time of fulfillment

For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”
Romans 9:9 NKJV

When God makes His promise, He already has in His plan a set time of fulfillment. This set time of fulfillment is not determined by man nor by the circumstances. God alone decides when exactly it will happen, not a day earlier nor a day later. When the set time comes, God’s promise will surely be fulfilled. 

There was a time frame of 24 to 25 years between God’s initial word to Abraham and the promise of Isaac being fulfilled. We live in a results-oriented world when people are pressured to produce instant products. What God says today, we want it done tomorrow and go into action straightaway, and after years of non fulfillment and frustrations,  people would decide that it wasn’t God after all and give up.

Oftentimes, when nothing seems to happen according to the time or the ways we think it should happen, we could press the panic button and try to make things happen our own ways. That’s what happened when Sarah came up with the idea of Abraham having child with Hagar. The works of the flesh are not only displeasing to God but would also lead to all kinds of conflicts and confusions. 

Our job is not to try to fulfill God’s words our ways but to keep believing and trusting God and to follow Him each step of the way.


Walk with God

As the saying goes: “It takes two to tango“, it was not possible for Abraham to give birth to a child without his wife Sarah.  Sarah needed to have faith in God’s words delivered to her through her husband Abraham before she was able to give birth to Isaac. Just Abraham’s faith alone wouldn’t be enough, Sarah needed to have the same level of faith so the two together could see the fulfillment of God’s promise.

In the same way, God wants to work with men and women on earth in order to carry out His plans and purposes on earth.

Consider what God said to Abraham :

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”
Genesis 17:1‭-‬2 NKJV

“Walk before Me” is perhaps better translated as “walk with Me”, meaning that God wants us to partner and walk with Him each step of the way.  We need to constantly hear what the Holy Spirit is speaking so we can follow Christ and walk with Him on a daily basis instead of running around doing our own things.  If we don’t relate with God and walk with Him, we won’t know what His will is let alone follow Him.

God said to Abraham: “Walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and multiply you exceedingly “. Jesus says: “I come to give you life and life more abundantly“.  John 10:10

We may think that abundance of life comes automatically when we are born again in Christ. Jesus wants us to follow Him and be repentant when we sin so that we are blameless before Him.


Follow God’s instructions 

When God speaks to us His prophetic words, He almost always gives us instructions. Here are the instructions God gave Abraham who, although he did not fully understand,  obeyed God and did what he was instructed to do:

Leave your country and household and go to the land I will show you“. Abraham obeyed and left his country even though he did not know where he was going. Genesis 12:4‭-‬5

Because Abraham obeyed God and departed, it set the motion going towards fulfillment of God’s word of promise. Even then, Abraham did not live to see the full fulfillment of God’s promise. By obeying God’s voice, He set on a journey of faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8 NKJV


Circumcise yourself and your household as a sign of the covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you“. Genesis 17:9‭-‬14

Abraham followed God’s instructions and circumcised himself and the males in his family and his household. Genesis 17:23‭-‬27

It was after Abraham followed God’s instruction that he had a personal encounter with Him by the terebinth tree of Mamre when God once again reconfirmed to him His word of promise. Genesis 18:1‭-‬15

Even though Sarah initially laughed at the idea that she would bear child at the age of ninety, faith eventually arose in her heart when she miraculously conceived and gave birth to Issac at the set time that God has promised.

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
Hebrews 11:11 NKJV


When you receive prophetic words from God concerning your destiny and you believe it is God speaking, receive His words in faith and write it down. Let His words conceive and take root in your heart instead of running around and consult with flesh and blood or trying to fulfill the word in your own flesh.

When the words are from God, He will speak to you the same thing again, and again, and often times it will take years when your faith will be tested. Faithfully follow God’s instructions each step of the way and in His set time He will fulfill His words just as He promised.


The Word of Promise 3





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