Beholding and Holding God’s Promises

When the proof copy of my new book arrived last week, one of the first people I texted was Rabi Maharaj, author of one of my all-time favorite books, Death of a Guru. His response to the cover image I’d sent was heartwarming.

Apart from warming my heart, Rabi’s text reminded me of the process of obtaining God’s promises. And it is a process. The Bible makes it clear that God’s promises don’t automatically fall into our laps. While His love is unconditional, His promises are not.

I must clarify that I’m referring to God’s specific promises here. The Bible contains many general promises, which are made to everyone, for we all reap what we sow, as Galatians 6:7 says. If we sow the seeds of faith and obedience, we are promised the rewards of faith and obedience. And vice versa.

I am not talking about those general promises here. I am talking of the specific and personal promises God makes to us individually. He first reveals them to us, then confirms them in this way or that. This is part of what we call “hearing the voice of God” or “knowing the will of God.”

When the Lord makes a personal promise to us, we must receive it by faith. Or, to put it in terms of my title, at this stage we are beholding the promise by faith.

As a word of caution, there is a difference between receiving God’s promises by faith and acting on presumption. Faith pleases God, as we know from Hebrews 11:6, but presumption is not of faith, and whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). This is why I focus so much on biblical faith in my ministry.

We may need to continue beholding the promise by faith for weeks, months, or even years. In Abraham and Sarah’s case, they had to wait 25 years before they held the promised son, Isaac. I had to wait almost as long for the book on faith the Lord had promised me in 1993.

And finally, after we have waited with faith and patience, we receive what has been promised! Or, to put it terms of Rabi’s text, we get to “hold” the promise. The image of the book I sent him last week, which he beheld on his phone, he will soon be holding in his hand.

When I read Rabi’s heartwarming text, the Lord reminded of Hebrews 10:23, which urges us to hold fast our confession without wavering, because the One who promised is faithful. The Greek word translated “hold fast” here is katechó. It can mean to detain, restrain, bind, and arrest, but in this verse it is used in the sense of holding on to something firmly — in this case, our confession.

According to Hebrews 10:23, if we hold fast our confession of who God is and the hope we have in Him, we will receive the manifestation of what He has promised, because He is faithful. As the risk of overdoing the wordplay in my title, if we hold fast, if we will hold at last.

(c) 2022 by Sharon Arpana Edwards. All rights reserved.

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