I recently had the opportunity to share at a women’s weekend at Keswick. In my preparation over the past 10 months I gained a broader vision of the redemptive story of God in the Scriptures and realized, even after 33 years, how much I don’t know. I still only scratched the surface of the richness of the Word.
For months I focused on reading only Joshua. Then I read Judges because that gives the story after Joshua and it gave insight into what Israel did once he died. Then I read Deuteronomy which leads into Joshua—and so much of Moses’ writings in Deuteronomy is a prelude to what happens to Joshua and in the book he is credited to write.
Now why do I tell you that? No, I’m not bragging. Believe me. The more I read and studied the more I realized I didn’t know. That is unsettling when preparing a series of messages. I take seriously what James said: Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness (James 3:1).
Yikes – always hovering in the back of my mind was the truth that I am responsible for what I “teach.” I am not responsible for what my audience does with it but I am responsible for what comes out of my mouth or off my pen (my Victory Calls).
Anyway, I share my “method” of preparation because I have never approached a message this way. But the blessing I gleaned was greater insight into the thread of God’s redemptive story throughout Scripture. It seemed like everywhere I turned God was pointing me back to His promise and His people.
We can’t get a full picture of Joshua without starting with Abraham.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
In Genesis 12:1-3, God promised Abraham 3 things:
- A great nation – many descendants
This promise was reiterated over and over through the generations.
“Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” (Ex 32:13)
While in Egypt, under the oppression of the Egyptians, God multiplied their number.
But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. Ex 1:12
Even in the midst of adversity God was fulfilling His promise to Abraham. He was making Israel into a great nation (as numerous as the stars of heaven – Deut 1:10) and He was blessing them – they gained possessions, were fruitful and strong (Gen 47:27; Ex 1:7)
Don’t read biblical accounts as you would read a story out of the history books, as if they have no bearing on your life.
Stop and consider…are there ways God is fulfilling His promises to you in the midst of adversity perhaps even through your adversity, because of your adversity?
We want God to hand us the blessing and withhold the trials but it is often through the trials that the blessings come.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
If you are redeemed by the work of Christ on the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit, then God’s promises in your life are past, present and future. Some have been fulfilled; some are being fulfilled and some are yet to be fulfilled. God is a promise-keeping God and the story of Abraham and the people of Israel is evidence of it.
Praise to the God of Abraham. Praise to our God.
After serving 16 years full-time on the staff of America’s Keswick, Diane Hunt and her husband moved to North Carolina where she continues to serve part-time as a contributing writer and Partner Care Consultant. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.