Standing on the Promises of God
"O LORD, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. But you promised me, 'I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.' "
Years before this episode in Genesis 32, Jacob had fled from his home because his brother, Esau, was plotting to kill him. During his sojourn in a distant land, Jacob was blessed by God with a large family and many possessions. But, finally, God told him to return to his own people, which meant that he would have to face his estranged brother. No doubt this was a scary proposition for Jacob. To make matters worse, his servants reported that Esau was coming to meet Jacob with a large army. Jacob's fear increased, understandably so. In that moment, Jacob turned to God in prayer, reminding the Lord that he was going home on God's own instructions, and that God had promised to treat him kindly. His prayer for protection was, simply put, a plea for God to keep his promises.
When God asks us to do something risky for him, like Jacob, we bank on God's promises, trusting that he will be faithful to us. I am reminded of a marvelous old hymn by R. Kelso Carter, "Standing on the Promises of God":
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
I'm standing on the promises of God.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever been in a situation like that of Jacob, where you took risky steps of faith because you relied on God's promises? Which of God's promises are you relying upon today?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for your promises to me. And thank you for keeping those promises, for being faithful far beyond anything I deserve. Your goodness to me is astounding, your grace truly amazing.
Today, Lord, I continue to claim your promises, to live in the confidence that you will fulfill what you have spoken. I trust that your word will be a lamp to my feet, guiding me in your ways. I count on the fact that you have forgiven me because of Christ's death and resurrection. I claim the promise of your presence with me through the Spirit. You will be with me always. You will never leave me nor forsake me. For these marvelous promises I praise you, dear Lord. I will live today by standing on your promises. Amen.