Stuff I learned

I know. I’m sorry. It’s been TOO LONG! But I finally have something worth posting, so here you go. 🙂

In the beginning of this semester, God showed me something rather profound. Before God gives man a blessing or the fulfillment of a promise, He first gives man a task. Take, for example, the accounts of Adam, Noah, and Abram. God promised each of them great and perfect blessings, but first they had to complete the task God gave them. Adam had to name all the animals before God created Eve to be his helper. God promised to save Noah and his family from a flood, but first Noah had to construct an ark. Abraham was promised a son when he was 75 years old, but he did not have the child God promised until he was 99 (Abraham fathered a child when he was 86, but God made that child into a nation that still seeks to wipe out Israel, all because of Abraham’s disobedience.) When God gives us a promise of something to come in the future, we can almost always be certain that God will give us a task to keep us busy from the time the promise is given to the time the promise will be fulfilled. Sometimes that task is simply to wait patiently (which is more difficult than it sounds!), but God is faithful to keep His promises.

First, let’s take a look at Genesis 2:15-25. At this point, God has just created the Garden of Eden, and placed man in it with all the animals. Here’s verses 18-20, pay close attention, “And the Lord God said, ‘it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” Before God brought the animals to Adam to name, He declared that it was not good for man to be alone. Yet instead of immediately forming Eve, God brought all the animals to Adam to name. All of the animals. Can you imagine how long that would take? Every single type of animal that God created? Can you imagine what must have been going through Adam’s head during this whole time? “Hey, all of these animals have mates. Same kind of animal, but they were made for each other. How come I don’t have one of those?” But God is faithful; He did not leave man alone without a suitable helper. After Adam completed the task God had given him, God blessed Adam with Eve.

A few chapters later in the book of Genesis, we see this same concept at work. In Genesis 6:12-22, we see God, fed up with the wickedness in the world, speaking to Noah, the one righteous man who obeyed God. In this account, God tells Noah to build an ark. How did Noah know what an ark was? Beats me. But God provided, and that’s the important thing. Later on, in Genesis 7:5-6, there’s a bit of a time lapse. That ark wasn’t built in a day! God gave Noah the instructions about the ark 120 years before the flood even happened. One hundred and twenty years, during which time God did not speak a word to Noah. What was Noah thinking that whole time? “Well, this is cool. Just building this giant… thing. For a flood, whatever that is. It’s been a while since God said anything, but I guess if He had changed His mind, He would’ve told me.” And God was faithful, indeed. After 120 years of silence, the time finally came for Noah, his family, and the animals to board the ark. God kept His promise, but only after Noah had obeyed God’s command. That’s not to say that God’s promises are always conditional upon our obedience, but rather sometimes God gives us things to do before He fulfills His promises to us.

However, sometimes the hardest task of all is to wait patiently for God to act. Take, for example, the account of Abraham. Genesis 13:16 shows God promising Abraham descendants as innumerable as the dust of the earth, but his wife remains childless. At this point, Abraham is approximately 75 years old. If we jump down to chapter 16, we see Sarah ten years later, still childless, getting uneasy and taking matters into her own hands. By circumventing God’s plan, Abraham bore a son when he was 86 years old, but that son ended up causing all manner of trouble for the entire nation of Israel later on down the road. Finally, in chapter 17, Abraham is 99 years old and still no sign of descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth, or any descendants as promised by God. That is the part where God came in and reminded Abraham that He had not forgotten His promise, and would in fact give them a son. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was finally born, 25 years after God had originally promised descendants to Abraham. Waiting indefinitely is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult things to do. Did God forget? No. He is faithful, and He is teaching us to sit still long enough to let Him work it out in His own time.

I can most relate to Abraham at this point in my life. God has promised me all manner of good things, but I must wait in order to receive them. How long? I don’t know. I do know, however, that the Lord has had my life planned out since before He created the world. My life is in good hands, and now all I need to do is trust Him and wait on Him, and He will fulfill His promise when the time is right.

 

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