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Monday, January 2, 2017

Promises and Covenants

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (NIV, 1984).

Hebrews 11 became one of my favorite passages of Scripture many years ago.  I think I originally liked it because of the amazing and miraculous things that were reported.  As years passed, my reasoning changed.  Now, it’s one of my favorites because the people were so imperfect, but God was still faithful.

This morning, a statement about Sarah struck me in a way it hadn’t before.  There is a certain amount of irony involved.  We can read the same passages time and time again, but there is always something new—endless interpretation, fresh insight, God moving and interacting in relationship with God’s people.  Sarah longed for the impossible, and it came to pass… 

Hebrews 11:11 “… because she considered him faithful who had made the promise” (NIV).

Covenantal grace is interesting.  We’re not forced to participate, but it’s difficult to understand why we would choose not to.  Well…  OK… maybe it’s not that difficult.  It usually requires sacrifice, and it doesn’t often make sense.  Faith, by definition, is not a sure shot.  We could be wrong.

Sarah could have been wrong, too.  If I had to make an intelligent guess, I would say that, at some point, she assumed just that.  It might have been when she gave Hagar to Abraham.  Or maybe it was the part when she laughed in God’s face.  I don’t really know.   But even in the midst of her doubt, she was willing.  She was hopeful.  And God came through.

So here we have Sarah in the ‘hall of faith’—really old and changing dirty diapers.  Oh… Friends… Be careful what you ask for!

Psalm 20:4, “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed” (NIV).

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