Promises of Grace

Psalm 111; Romans 9:6–18

Promises hold a ificant place within the stories in the . Much of this has to do with having to trust the fulfillment of a promise that people would not see.

Abraham is one such example. He was given a short (one year) promise as a “down payment” for the long term one. had made large promises, and had definitely taken care of him, but the promise of not “just” a son of the woman he d, but also countless descents.

While , understandably, focuses on Isaac, Ishmael is a different kind of promise. While Isaac is the promised line of , still promises Abraham that Ishmael will live and have descents, too.

didn’t have to make this commitment to Abraham, yet chose to. This speaks to ’s . understood that while Isaac was the “child of the promise”, Abraham still d Ishmael and wanted him to do well and be well. Abraham, just as , would not have questioned the of ’s will, neither would have Abraham.

Unquestionably, ’s commitment towards Ishmael reassured Abraham that he (Abraham) had made the right decision. Decisions are part of the struggle that the has a problem with this passage. As has been preached on (at Generations) and addressed here in the devotionals, is that the ancient world understood differently than we do.

’s s prompt many to reflect upon ’s mightiness and glory. In the face of such, how could any person not believe, follow, and trust ? That’s ’s assumption. How could anyone not believe in and ’s promises?

That same logic is carried forth to today within certain strains of Christianity. Those strains of Christianity, understandably, are of the same mindset as . It’s not that they are wrong, per se, but as theology as aged and matured, the understanding of ’s grace has transformed thinking from the “chess player” who chooses certain pieces to die or live to the guiding hand of , which still allows humanity the ability to choose their path.

Jesus promised to be with s and us by extension. If is as capricious as many modern theologians presume, then a promise from is cold comfort. On the other hand, if makes promises through guidance and , then the comfort of a promise warms the soul.

Pastor Ian

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.