God’s promises delayed aren’t promises denied

Published 1:56 pm Thursday, March 15, 2018

Nearly two thousand years before the time of Jesus, God came to a man named Abram and gave him a command and a promise. He was to go from the land of his father to a land that God would show him and God would cause him to father a great nation. “So Abram went, as the Lord told him…” (Gen. 12:1-40)

Did I mention that Abram was 75 years old when God called him?

Nearly 25 years after God first called, Abram is now 99 years old. He’s no “spring chicken.” He has followed the God’s leading from the start, but the Lord has been slow to reward Abram’s faith. He and his wife Sarai are still childless. How can Abram father a great nation when they can’t produce a single heir? Surely they were ready to give up. Nearly 25 years and there’s still no return on their investment? When do you cut your losses? That could have been their attitude but instead they chose to trust God.

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At 99 years of age, Sarah bore a son and from that son came countless heirs to the man formerly called Abram, now Abraham, both physical and spiritual descendants, of who you and I are numbered. Someone put it like this: God’s promises delayed are not God’s promises denied.

Dr. Ray Pritchard gives us a humorous timeline of the 25 years between the first time God promised Abraham and Sarah a child and the time it was fulfilled:

At 76 Abraham buys a crib.

At 78 they list of possible names.

At 80 they order pampers.

At 85 Abraham goes hunting while Sarah’s friends give her a baby shower.

At 86 they wallpaper the baby’s room.

At 90 they subscribe to New Parent magazine.

At 92 they begin Lamaze classes.

At 96 Abraham does a practice run to the hospital.

At 98 he packs the suitcase and puts it by the door of the tent.

At 99 Abraham scratches his head and says “I wonder if God was just kidding.”

I think I might have decided that God was just kidding. But I’m not Abraham. I‘m a bit impatient. And maybe you are too.

Do you think they ever thought in a million years that we would be telling their story nearly 3,000 years later? Not only that, do you think they imagined that more than a billion Christians and nearly as many Muslims and Jewish people would be telling their story all over this world, too?

Abraham and Sarah did as God commanded and God rewarded them beyond their wildest dreams. Not as quickly as they might have thought. But God rewarded them far beyond anything they could have ever imagined. They became a blessing to the entire world. And they had a rich and fulfilling life as well. So can you. Trust God. His promises delayed are not promises denied.

Rev. John Moxley can be reached at Jmoxley1@juno.com.