Remember when you were a child waiting for Christmas to come? Can you recall the anticipation? The music, decorations and hype just magnified the sense that it would never come! But imagine if Christmas were not on a fixed date. What if, much like in the fictional land of Narnia, it was always winter but never Christmas. There is perhaps no better definition of childhood torture.
Throughout the book of Genesis, God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all had a central theme to them: descendants and land. When the book of Exodus starts we are given an update on how these promises are coming along. After three generations, there are seventy within the “covenant community” and every single one of them is in Egypt. (Whoopie!)
Yet the Lord is always faithful in his promises. And he is never late, never slow, in keeping his promises. Certainly we feel the delay as we wait, but the timing of the Lord is never a moment too late or too soon.
In a foreign land the Israelites begin to flourish, so much so that the Egyptians begin to fear their numbers. Yet even under slavery and oppression, the Israelites flourish. The Israeites’ blessing of children even spills over onto the Egyptian midwives because they fear the Israelite God more than the Pharaoh.
God’s timing is rarely our own. In fact, for the Israelites it seems like the worst time for God to make good on his promise because His blessing lands them in slavery!
Perhaps you have felt the same way. God’s blessing seems to be absent or it comes and doesn’t feel like a blessing. Paul reminds us of the truth of God’s work and His promises:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. —Romans 8:28
Cling to the promises of God and to the fact that even when the promise looks to be turning sour, there’s a promise about that as well.
1. What are some promises from Scripture that you or someone you know has trusted in, counted on and found comfort from?
2. What makes us think that God is reliable in his promises? Are there things in the Bible or in your own life that have made you feel that God is unreliable?
3. Have you ever had a time in your life when a promise or blessing felt like it was poorly timed? Explain.
4. How can Paul say with such confidence that all things work for the good of his children?