Praising in the Promises
"We have twenty-five cents--and all the promises of God." --Hudson Taylor, in a letter to his wife during a trying time in the work of the China Inland Mission.
Trying times are ahead for many people. Resources that we have taken for granted are going to dry up. Hard times are on the horizon. The government of the U.S. can send out stimulus checks to its citizens, but only prolonging the inevitable. The money will dry up. The unbelieving world accuses Christians of using God as a crutch; well, I'd rather have God as a crutch than the government. At least my God has never broken any of His promises.
Hudson Taylor knew the secret. God's promises can sustain His children even through the worst of times. The Apostle Peter wrote this particular letter to prepare those who would carry on the Gospel message after his departure. He wanted them to know that everything they required to live for God has already been provided for in Christ Jesus. Their responsibility was to identify those provisions and appropriate them for themselves.
The reason so many of us are destitute spiritually is our ignorance of God's promises.
The following story is related from The Biblical Illustrator:
Neglect of the promise:—Many years ago, an aged and ragged Indian wandered into one of our western settlements, begging for food to keep him from starving. A bright-colored ribbon was seen around his neck, from which there hung a small dirty pouch. On being asked what it was, he said it was a charm given him in his younger days. He opened it and took out a worn and crumpled paper, which he handed the person speaking to him for inspection. It proved, on examination, to be a regular discharge from the Federal army, entitling him to a pension for life, and signed by General Washington himself. Here was a man with a promise duly signed, which, if presented in the right place, would have secured to him ample provision for the way, and yet he was wandering about hungry, helpless, and forlorn and begging for bread to keep him from starving! What a picture we have here of many Christians, who, with all the promises of Jesus in their hands—with the charter of their inheritance in full possession, are yet gloomy and sad and starving in the wilderness! (R. Newton, D.D.)1
1 Exell, Joseph S. The Biblical Illustrator: Philippians–Colossians. Vol. 1. New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d. Print.
God's children have no reason to go without!!
Spurgeon said, "I can say myself, I have lived on one promise for weeks, and want no other. I want to just simply hammer that promise out into gold-leaf and plate my whole existence from it!"
What promises do you turn to during times of distress? Its time we dust them off and get them back out. We may be down to .25 cents just like Hudson Taylor was, but the promises weren't just for Hudson Taylor. They are for you and I. Not that we might be stingy with them, but that we might display the magnificence of God and magnify the grace of Jesus Christ.
The promises can be appropriated and used for the glory of God once we really understand their purpose. In our text verse, the phrase "that ye might be partakers of the divine nature" is found. God's promises are provided for us to be more like Jesus. A promise is like a check. If I go to the post office to cash my check, they won't do it. Why? Because that's not their function. You have to go to the bank. If I am taking God's promises to cash them in the world, they won't be able to pay them. That's why Peter said, "having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." God's promises are valid after we've turned our backs on the lusts of the world and are cashing in the promises to be more like Jesus.
So let's turn our backs on the impurities of sin and the allurements of the world and begin today praising God for His promises! Praising in the promises of God helps us remember them. We say things like, "I've lost my car keys," when in reality, we forgot where we put them. Have you forgotten the promises of God? Want to know how to tell? How's your joy? How's your peace? How's your love for God? How's your meekness and temperance? How's your gentleness and goodness? How's your faith? These are all the fruit of the Spirit that is producing the promises of God within us. (See Galatians 5:22-23)