6. The Other Side of the Promise

Reading List

One passage per day for a whole week, based on the sermon.

  1. Genesis 15:1-20, esp. verses 18-19
  2. Exodus 3:1-22, esp. verse 17
  3. Deuteronomy 7:1-9, 17-24
  4. 1 Samuel 16:1-13, 17:12-32
  5. 1 Chronicles 11:1-25, esp. verses 1-9
  6. 2 Corinthians 1:12-24, esp. verse 20
  7. Hebrews 10:19-39, esp. verse 36
  8. Bonus: Hebrews 4

eGroup Discussion Questions (great for personal reflection, too!)

The Other Side of the Promise

This message is for those standing outside the Promise that they should be standing in.

The main narrative of LB’s sermon revolves around two promises: first, that God will give the land of Canaan, a “land of milk and honey” to the Israelites. Second, that God, who anointed David to be king, would make him king.

Right before the message we sang “Here Again,” where the first verse says:

Can’t go back to the beginning
Can’t control what tomorrow will bring
But I know here in the middle
Is the place where You promise to be

LB’s main point was to go toward’s God’s promises for you, with confidence, because God’s got this. God’s taking care of the problems. God’s preparing a place for you. While he didn’t go into very specific details about how to do this, I believe the key is faith and trust: Trust that when God makes a promise, he’s going to keep his promise.

Promise

The first place where God promises a land of “milk and honey” is in Exodus 3:17 when he appears to Moses in the Burning Bush. (However, the first time God promises the land of Canaan is actually in Genesis 15 when he makes a covenant with Abraham.)

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:20, NIV

Sometimes the “milk and honey” comes with problems…

Possess

Your promise comes with problems.

Deuteronomy 7 explains that the Promise Land is currently occupied by seven nations bigger and stronger than Israel (verse 1). Later, God says that he didn’t love Israel because they were the bigger nation (they weren’t) but because he chose to love them and made a covenant with them (verses 7-8).

Some of us walk away from the promise because we don’t understand the problem.

My job isn’t to fight; my job is to show up and possess what God has promised.

Sizing up your opponent/problem: The size of the problem matches the size of the promise.

Like the old Mike Tyson’s Punch Out game, each opponent gets harder and harder: but there are no cheat codes to the promises of God.

God didn’t give the Israelites the Promise Land all at once: Deut 7:22 says that God will drive out the nations “little by little.” This way, we learn to depend on God.

Persevere

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Hebrews 10:36, NIV

On this side of the Promise, we may be asking God: “Have you forgot about the promise?”

But on the other side of the Promise, God is asking: “Have you forgotten to persevere?”

God’s promises are active; you need to move toward the things of God. A body that stands still will never enter the promises of God. (Nick: But this is not about “works righteousness”–this is still about faith and trusting God. And even our faith is a gift from God, so the ability to move toward God comes from God–Ephesians 2:1, 4-5, 8-9)

If you tell yourself a lie long enough you start to believe it. In the same way, if you pray about something long enough, you assume it’s a promise from God.

I get promises, prayers, and preferences confused. (Nick: I wish he spent more time diving into this, because I’m afraid that confusing a prayer request with a promise, particularly one that isn’t answered the way we would hope, might hurt our faith.)

Does God answer all my prayers? Yes, but the answer may not always be “Yes.”

You’ll never possess the promise if you stop moving into it.

The statement “You got to do it for the right reasons” becomes an excuse for inaction. God will fix your motivation. He uses even bad intentions. LB uses the example of David asking “What’s in it for me?” before fighting Goliath (1 Samuel 17:26).

At this time, David had already been anointed to be king, but David would not assume the role of king until Saul dies in battle many years later–LB says 20 years, but I’ve seen other folks say 15 years and as little as 7 years–I haven’t quite done the calculation myself, but you get the point: it was years. Even when Saul tries to kill David, and David has a chance to kill him, he refuses, because it would be unrighteous. (1 Samuel 24)

God blesses the direction, not the motivation.

God may deliver someone else’s promise through your voice. He is referring to Samuel being the voice that God uses to deliver David’s promise. (1 Chronicles 11:3)

God’s promise to us isn’t to be a vacation, but a permanent destination. This matches what the Book of Hebrews says about us believers entering into the rest that God has for us–Hebrews 4:9-11–the whole chapter is great.

I declare a spirit of “nevertheless” over you. (1 Chronicles 11:5)

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