“These were all commended for their faith. Yet, none of them received what had been promised. Since God had planned something better for us that only together with us they made the promise perfect.” ~Hebrews 11:39
A profound question was asked to my on-campus Bible study this week. The question was, “If you knew you would not live to see the promises God gave you, would it effect the way you view and serve God?” Maybe it’s just me, but this question sunk in hard. And to be honest, in my meditating on it, I haven’t even got to the place where I have answered the question. I am still stuck on what it means to not see the promise.
From my perspective, if I feel God has promised me something, but I don’t live to see it being fulfilled, was the promise really for me? After questioning this, and doing some studying, I realized something. I realized this is a very limited perspective. Maybe the promise was given to me, but it isn’t only for me. Maybe in my self-centered, single-tracked mind, I misinterpreted the promise? Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t all about me. (Please catch my sarcasm here.)
At the mention of this question, I was immediately reminded of this verse in Hebrews. It says, “All these were commended for their faith, yet not one of them lived to see the promise.” My first thought when I read this was to find out what they had not received. I re-read the full chapter and it seemed to me they had received their promises. Sarah had a son in her old age, the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, and the walls of Jericho fell. As I dug a little deeper,(there is always more to a verse than you think), I realized the promise being referred to is the promise of the coming of Jesus. None of the mentioned followers of God lived to see Jesus come as the Savior. Though some of their other prayers were answered (many of which played into the coming of Jesus), they didn’t live to see the completion of the promises of His coming.
So, this question again, if I knew I wouldn’t see the promise fulfilled, would it change how I view and serve God? Trying to take this verse in context of my own life, my own promises, I am realizing I may need to redefine my promise. While it is true that I may not have misinterpreted the promise, I feel it is important to evaluate the possibility.
This is where I am. Taking the content of my promise and placing it in a larger context. One bigger than me. One that can impact a much broader range of people. After all, that sounds more like God’s character to me than a promise that only meets my needs. Fact is, my needs will be met by God regardless of His plan through the promise.
Considering all of this, I ask myself, as well as you, would knowing you would’t see the end result of the promise change the way you view God?