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Understanding God’s Promises and Principles of Fulfilment
In recent years, I’ve met people bitter with God for non-fulfilling of Promises. I met a lady who was bitter and fume at God for inability to secure a husband. According to her, she has been serving God for a long time, yet, God can’t give her a husband; even though He promised to meet all her needs according to His riches in Glory. In her words, “I serve the Lord. I served Him with all my heart. I hide nothing from Him. I didn’t reserve anything. I didn’t hold back. Why can’t He give me a husband? Didn’t He said, “The hearts of Kings and Princes are in His hand”? Proverbs 21:1
The second was a close friend, man I call my back-to-back friend. We both graduated from same university and department. We became friends because of our common interest in politics. Four-five years after graduation, neither of us had a job. That’s a little hard to handle for one who loves and serves the Lord.
"Why can’t the Lord, who controls everything help us to find a job?" we asked severally. My friend and I, though in the same situation have different personality type. I take life as it comes, and worries less. I believe my loyalty to the Lord is not because of His ability to bless me in return.
My friend, on the other hand, worries a lot. He worries about things that are of no importance. The last time we met, he complained of how God is not keeping his end of the deal. In his words, “I go to church. I pay my tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8-10). I struggle daily to lead a Holy life. I know I am not perfect, but I’m doing my best. Besides, I am better than 'this' and 'that' and 'those'" he said, as he mentions names of our classmates who had job. Some cheated to graduate and others womanised, yet they got favoured by the Lord. Somehow, I could identify with my friend’s pain. We’re in the show together, though we adopted different approaches while being tossed by life’s turbulences.
The third person was a poor neighbour, whose son had been sick for a long time. Although, a devout Christian, God hasn’t spare His son from getting sick, or at least hear their prayers, cries and call for healing. But God said in Chronicles 7:14, “If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land (Household—wife, children and oxen)”. Not this man and his household repenting and re-repenting can bring fulfilment of this promise.
On these list goes—to a fourth, a fifth, a sixth … and a thousandth. The questions, also, were growing too lengthen. Is God not a promise keeper he said he is? Didn’t He say, “I am not a man that I should lie?” Numbers 23:19. These, are among the many questions arising from man’s ordeals.
Points of differences
There are thousands of reason why God’s promises are not fulfilled. Most of these reasons point toward man’s inadequacies in understanding God's working order. We shall consider a few things that get in our ways in an attempt to obtain God’s promises for us.
God’s Promises and Principles
First off, I wish to say there is God’s promise and God’s principle. Every one of God’s promises has a principle attached. Most time, we fix our eyes on the promises without giving a thought to the principles upon which this promise is fulfilled. For instance, if God promises us wealth, we've to learn the principles of wealth creation. If we don't, chances are this promise might not be fulfilled. We might blame God for not fulfilling His promise. The fault is, however, ours for not being able to acquire financial intelligence. The reason this promise is not fulfilled is either because we refuse to learn wealth creation principles or failed to apply the principles adequately as necessary.
God’s Promises and Conditions
God always promise with conditions. We cannot get the fulfilment of God’s promises if we don't meet the conditions attached to them. Somehow, we’re myopic and self-centered, such that we want fulfilment of God’s promises without making effort to meet these conditions. This is another barrier to God's fulfilling of His promises to us.
God’s Promises and Commands
God’s promises rarely get fulfil without obeying God’s commands. An instance is confronting someone more powerful than you. If God’s command is “Run for safety”, but you decided to stay because of God's promise protection. You might be well beaten. God won't share in that blame. Do you know why? Staying out of trouble is one of the ways God protects the weak from the cruelly strong? If you don’t know this, you've to borrow examples and sense from other animals. Understand that God fulfils His promises, only when we obey His commands. God wants His promises to be fulfilled through us—activeness, hard works and obedience to His commands.
God’s Promises, Long and Immediate Commands
There is God’s age-long standing command and God's immediate command. If the immediate command doesn't over-ride the age-long command, God’s promises may not be fulfilled in that scenario. Most of us think God disappeared from Man’s affairs after the Bible was inspired. No! He is still available in our everyday lives—saying something to us directly. This is the immediate command, which, we need to obey and follow. Somehow, we've to listen because we've to hear what God is saying now. We might not need to cling to what is written in the Bible so religiously. The Bible says, “The word of God is alive and active” Hebrews 4:12. What that means is that it’s dynamic, and not stalk-static. Also, God sent His Holy Spirit to us, so we can be taught what to do His will at any given instance. When we’re not listening to what the Spirit is saying because of what was written. We run a risk of living in the past; and not the present; hence the promise of this moment can’t be fulfilled.
God’s Promises, Standing Conditions and Man’s Conditions
Here is a big conflict—a conflict that exists between God’s conditions and man’s conditions. Both of these conditions exist and have relationship and interplay one on another. Sometimes, we meet God’s conditions without meeting those of men. Since the power is shared between the two, God might decide to let men's will prevail, or simply over-rule. If God Over-rules, we’ve miracle. As stated by Philip Yancey, “God rules by overruling”. That means, there is a rule—perhaps, a line; and God rules another line over it. God had ruled by over-ruling. However, He doesn’t do this often. He allows a man to rule with his God-given free-will.
God’s Promises and Imposition of Faith or Fear
Faith and fear are the two sides of the same coin. They super-imposed on each other, however, they both can't show up. My friend always says, “Everything I fear in my life has always come to pass”. Now, fear and faith are mirror images of each other. They’re not opposite of each other—they’re faces of the same coin. What we need, however, to obtain God's promise for us is faith, but we most times chose fear.
How many times did God admonish us not to be afraid? Bible researchers say 365 times. Yes, the phrase, “Do not be afraid” appeared 365 times in the Bible. That means each day, God says to us, “Do not be afraid”. Byt we chose to be fear and expects God’s promise to come to pass? No! Our faith has to be super-imposed on our fears such that we take dominion of God’s promise. The theory is, one with higher faith occupies a higher position.
God’s Promises, Knowledge of God and Self
One of the major point we should understand on God’s promises is the fact that they’re made to humans. What I here refer as the 'self'. We must comprehend why self-knowledge is important here. Also, we must understand God's promises from two perspectives—personal or general. Personal promises are those God made specifically to individuals while general are promises made to no one in specific but the general humanity—those who meet God's conditions and apply His principles by obeying His commands, obtain these promises irrespective of race or location. Why is ‘the knowledge of self’ important to fulfilling of each category of these promises? It's because ‘the self’ has a role to play in bringing about their fulfillments. If there is no knowledge of self, there could be abuse or under-utilization of potential. “My people perish because they lack knowledge (Isaiah 5:13). And because we lack knowledge, we can’t operate on God's power". Another important thing is the knowledge of God. Knowing God, however, comes in stages. First, we know ourselves because we’re God's image. Then, we study the society and nature because they’re God's expression. Once we do these, the knowledge of God comes true and practical us. God is not just a theory. He is a being, real and living through us.
God’s Promises and Knowledge of Time
The knowledge of time is one that set a pace for lots of dynamics. When we talk of time, three things come directly to mind—past, present and future. There are God's promises met for the past—the historical. They no longer apply to present the generation because time has changed. If we don’t understand the concept of time in relation to God's promises, we might miss our seasons. Yes, we run the risk of losing out. In understanding God’s promises and principles. The knowledge of time is invaluable. If it’s met for the future and we’re demanding it now. Sorry, it can't come true. If it’s met for the present and we aren't pursuing, it can’t be fulfilled. God rarely change the timing because of demands. So we need a good knowledge of the time. The sons of Issachar demonstrated this understanding of times in 1Chronocles 12:32.
God’s Promises and Men's Operation of the World
The principles operating in the world is different from the one God operates. We can't use one to judge the other. That will be like using a Jews to judge a Gentile—those two can't knit. The way we deal with the world is different—we bribe and take bribes. But, how can we bribe God? Isn’t through constantly going to church, singing in a choir, cleaning the altar or living holy lives? How? Our living holy lives or services in the church has no direct effect on God's nature. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). When, therefore, we chose to operate on God’s principles, don’t expect the same result as in when operates on human principles. There exists a marked difference. We can’t pull the two together neither should we compare them. For God’s to fulfil His promises to us, therefore, everything must coincide—adequate and proper commitment from both parties; timely response to God's command voice; and well-tailored energy to the right course. We must do our part of the deal.
Note: I wrote this article keeping in mind my friend and the frequencies of these problematic phenomena. I felt people should understand God’s promises are fulfil base on conditions and principles. We should stop beefing or be hypocritical about our Christian lives. God sees the heart; any hypocritical attempt to deceive God will rather discredit us.
This article is not entirely exhaustive. I wish I could be a follow-up. That anyway, is not a promise. It’s a wish—and I pray God gives the grace to make that wish comes true.