promise

God's promises stand up to evil.

God's promises stand up to evil.

2 Kings 11

After King Ahaziah of Judah was killed, his mother Athaliah went nuts: "When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family." (vs 1) Can you imagine this? A grandmother setting out to kill all of her grandchildren? The children of Ahaziah were heirs to the throne, but apparently, Athaliah decided that she should sit on the throne. And she did. She became the only queen of Judah.

God changes fortunes in a heartbeat.

God changes fortunes in a heartbeat.

2 Kings 7

A few years ago, our water heater unexpectedly broke, and after some consultation with a plumber, we realized that we would not only have to get a new water heater, but a water softener as well. I just hate it when that happens! If you don’t have money in savings, unexpected expenses like that can really get you down.

God doesn't forget His promises.

God doesn't forget His promises.

JOSHUA 13

At the beginning of Joshua 13, the Lord comes to Joshua and says, "You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over." (vs 1) And then, He proceeds to outline exactly what areas of land are left for the Israelites to take possession of. I was struck by the specificity of it. He didn’t just say, "There’s still some land to the east over there." No, it was from this border over here to that border over there and everything below this mountain and so on.

Jacob's If-fy Reply {gn28:20}

Photo © Unsplash/Yoann Boyer

Photo © Unsplash/Yoann Boyer

God said
I am your God, and I am with you.

Jacob replied
If God will be with me, then he will be my God.

This, this!
is the human problem—

Always adding doubt to God's steadfast recipes.
Always placing conditions on God's unconditional offers.
Always suggesting a coalitional approach to God's unilateral operations.

 

A Tetractys on Trust {gn23}

Photo © Unsplash/Scott Rodgerson

Photo © Unsplash/Scott Rodgerson

God
promised
Abraham
Canaan, the land,
as a gift to him and his descendants.

Years passed with no fulfillment of the vow,
but Abraham
had learned to
trust in
God.

When
Sarah
passed away,
he bought a grave,
and laid her there to rest in promised land.

Israel's first piece of Canaan was a
burial plot,
a wager
on God's
word.

 

*Tetractys: A poetic form consisting of at least 5 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10 syllables, respectively. Tetractys can be written with more than one verse, but each must follow suit with an inverted syllable count.

God takes us seriously.

God takes us seriously.

LEVITICUS 27

People who say whatever they think you want to hear. You know some of those, right? I  certainly do! And boy, do they ever get on my nerves. I’d rather people just be honest about what they think and feel instead of thinking that they have to try to manipulate my moods with their words... especially when they don’t mean what they’re saying.

Foreshadow of Faith {gn17:10-11}

genesis-circumcision-foreshadow-of-faith-poem.png

Forefather Abraham must have been filled with
such foreboding as the appointed blade drew near.

He could never have foreseen God's circumscriptive request...
nor foregone its fulfillment once it had been proposed.

After all, he was God's foremost friend on the planet.
Mostly, though, he didn't want God to foreclose on the covenant—

Ishmael had turned out to be the forerunner of the promise,
just a foretaste of the legitimate heir.

God was still forecasting Isaac's arrival,
so obedience was forefront on Abraham's mind.

He cut a deal, therefore, skin and all.

 

Cruel {gn13:16}

genesis-miracles-cruel-poem.png

It's sort of cruel
to make such an outrageous promise—
innumerable children
for a man who doesn't even have one

for a man who feels the relentless beat
of a childless father's heart in his chest
to promise more daughters than dust is cruel.

It's sort of cruel
to make such an outrageous promise—
dirty diapers and sloppy kisses and giggles
for a woman whose body long ago
stopped reminding her like clockwork
of her power to deliver new life

for a woman who has felt the monthly sting of bitterness
diffuse into the dull ache of perpetual barrenness
to promise more sons than sand is cruel.

Who makes such outrageous promises, anyway?
Who messes with people like that?
And once you're settled so squarely in the realm of the inconceivable,
where does it stop?

You might as well claim the power
to muzzle hurricanes
to disembowel suffering
to dissolve brickish hearts
to bring back the dead
   AS IF
   the grave had a revolving door

What on earth would drive you
to guarantee the one thing that could
answer the lonely echo of a desperate soul?

What in heaven's name would possess you
to make such an outrageous promise?

It's sort of cruel, you know—
   that is . . .
   unless you can deliver.

 

On Not Controlling Outcomes {gn12:11-13}

Photo © Unsplash/Denys Nevozhai

Photo © Unsplash/Denys Nevozhai

You promised Abraham blessings galore,
Progeny more than the sand on the shore.
Still, he was worried he might come across
Someone with power to turn gain to loss.
So he embarked on a self-serving plan:
Impersonating an unmarried man.

I know I'm prone to a similar skew,
Trying to pull off what you said you'd do.
It shouldn't matter if life remains rough.
All of your promises should be enough.
I should be willing to stay on my knees
And let you work out your plan as you please.

Help me to trust you beyond what I see
And not to fear what the outcome will be.

 

Sonnet: A poem consisting of 14 lines with a particular rhyming scheme.

Promise {gn9:17}

Photo © Unsplash/Abigail Keenan

Photo © Unsplash/Abigail Keenan

a rainbow always appears
where the storm
meets the sun

a defiant reminder
that

pain can be beautiful
heartache can shine
suffering can glisten
sorrow can be radiant
grief can be stunning


after all
there'd be no rainbow
if there was no storm

and in this world there's never a storm without one

that's how we know
we're never alone
when we face
the howling winds

for

a rainbow always appears
where the storm
meets the Son

 

God never forgets.

God never forgets.

EXODUS 1

I was so intrigued by this statement in the first chapter of Exodus: "Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt." (vs 8)  This astonished me! Certainly, some time had passed in Egypt, but a new king came to power who did not know about Joseph? This was the man who had single-handedly come up with the plan to rescue Egypt (and all the surrounding nations) from famine. How could anyone forget about Joseph?!

God fulfills promises creatively.

God fulfills promises creatively.

GENESIS 36

The land of Canaan had been promised to Jacob and the future Israelites. It was the Promised Land, the land that God planned to give to the descendants of Abraham. However, the rivalry between Jacob and Esau could have put a wrench in things. Instead of trusting God to fulfill His promises in His own time, Jacob devised a way to get what he thought was rightfully his (the birthright and his father’s blessing). Esau was initially jealous and angry and even sought to kill his brother.

God blesses without condition.

God blesses without condition.

GENESIS 28

There is something so interesting in this chapter, and it is the comparison between God’s promises and our promises.

As Jacob is journeying to find a wife, God renews His promise to make a great nation from Jacob’s descendants. He says, "I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.

God's timing is different than ours.

God's timing is different than ours.

GENESIS 23

As I was reading this chapter, it dawned on me that the first part of Canaan that Abraham possessed with a burial plot. That seems rather odd, doesn't it, given what God said in Genesis 15:18-21? "On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, 'To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.'"