Links Daily Devotional

Promises and Providence

There…stood the LORD and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac… All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.” (Genesis 28:13-15, NIV)

Golfers know this, if they know nothing else: Good shots do not always produce good scores. Of course, the converse is also true: Bad shots do not always produce bad scores.

As a high school coach, I have sometimes taken to telling my better players, “Birdies are made from the fairway.” In their youthful strength they want to hit it as far as they can, consequences notwithstanding. And on many courses, because the consequences are not so severe, and because their short game nerves are also youthful, they collect their pars and march on.

But if the objective of a top player is to keep going lower, then birdies are also a necessity. And birdies are not made from positions of recovery. At least not usually. And there is the rub in my whole philosophy, the undoing that comes with a wry smile from one of these young magicians who has just broken jail again.

Now let’s make an important spiritual analogy of all this.

For the good player, birdies are the promise. They represent the best the game has to give them.

And trouble is, well, trouble. It is the circumstance that seems so counter to that promise.

In our walk with the Lord, we are sometimes granted wonderful promises. Jacob was met by God at Bethel (meaning “house of God”), where the Lord reaffirmed the covenant he had made with Jacob’s father and grandfather. In so many words: “You will be blessed with land and family, and by that blessing you will bless the nations.”

What we don’t want to miss here, however, is that Jacob was, at the time of this encounter with the Lord, on the lam. He had deceived his father and more so his brother, with the latter now set on murdering him. Jacob was headed to Aram, far from home, where he would toil under his uncle Laban for 20 years. If ever the providence of God looked to cross the promises of God, here it was.

And yet we know this: the promise never died. The lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob became the lineage of Jesus. The Messiah, God with us, came to nurture this people and all who would enter the household of faith with them. That, friends, includes you and me.

Are you having trouble seeing God’s sunny promises today for all the clouds of his providence? Do not worry. God has not lost sight of you, nor of all that he has planned for you. Call on his name. Honor him. And know that he has every notion of meeting you, as he has met Jacob, in the eternal Bethel.

Jeff Hopper
October 9, 2013
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