The Word of Promise 3
by Ivan Ho 28 Jan 2023
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
Who gives you the promise ?
God first gave Abraham the word of promise in Genesis 12, the promise that God would make him a great nation and that “in him all the families would be blessed”. Not only did God promise to bless Abraham but more importantly, through Abraham’s descendent, the whole earth would be blessed. That promise would be ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ who was born in the lineage of Issac, Abraham’s promised son.
We often think that God just wants to bless us for the sake of blessing us, forgetting that God’s idea of blessings is that through us many people connected to us will be blessed as well. So before we go any further, let’s get this right: when we think that God wants to bless us, are we talking about increase that would make us richer, bigger, more powerful, give us more opportunities and so on, or are we talking about Christ using us to bless other people as we increase? If we are talking about just the former, I would suggest that it is a false prosperity gospel rather than the gospel of Christ. Know that God is committed to fulfill His promise centred on Christ rather than promises centred on the selfish desires and gratification of man.
Note that God is not the only person who gives us promises, the devil can also make promises too.
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
Matthew 4:8-9 NKJV
It is vitally important that we identify if the word of promise we receive is from God or another source, whether the promise will lead us away from God and serve the course of man and ultimately lead us to worship the devil himself?
Word of instructions
The word of promise came with the following instructions to Abraham: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”
There seems to be some popular teachings in some churches these days that kind of treat God like father Christmas, that God is committed to bless us just because we are his children. There is nothing on our part that we need to do, God will bless us crazy regardless of what we do, what we believe. Unfortunately, such teachings don’t align with the God of the Bible at all.
Take the day of Pentecost for example: Jesus promised the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to his disciples with his instruction for them to wait in Jerusalem. Acts 1:4-8
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Acts 1:4-5 NKJV
Everyone who followed the instruction of Jesus and assembled together in the upper room received the promise of the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit wasn’t poured out randomly to whoever and wherever but only to the group of disciples who obeyed the instruction of Jesus.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:1-4 NKJV
In another example, when Jesus called his disciples, he promised to make them “fishers of man” with the instruction for them to follow him: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of man“. Notice that following comes before making and not the other way round. But the thing is, oftentimes people want positions and influences without having to follow Jesus. It doesn’t work that way at all.
When God gives words of promise to his people, he always gives us instructions to follow before the fulfillment of his promises, just as He did with Abraham.
If God tells you to go like he did with Abraham and you stay, or if Jesus tells you to stay like he did with his disciples on the day of Pentecost and you run around doing your own things, his word of promise won’t be fulfilled in your life, not until you learn to obey his instructions.