Pathway to promise


By Fr. Joseph Edattu VC
One day, a gentleman told me, "Father, there are beautiful promises in the Bible that I used to claim for myself. But nothing seems to be happening in my life. If God is faithful and keeps His Word, why doesn't it materialise in my life?" This is one of the most frequent questions that people ask us.
God is faithful (1 Cor. 1:9)
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it", the Bible promises us. God is faithful, He will fulfil all the promises in our lives. But to fulfil all those promises, He wants us perfect and holy. "You therefore must be perfect, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). The Lord longs to fulfil His promises in our lives. Therefore, He wants us to be holy first. "The Lord your God travels along with your camp to save you and to hand over your enemies to you; therefore your camp must be holy, so that He may not see anything indecent and unholy among you and turn away from you"(Dt 23:14)
If the Lord came to fulfil His promises in our lives now, He would see much unholiness and many imperfections. Therefore He wants us to be cleansed of these imperfections, so that He can complete His promises in us. To fulfil the promise of the Land of Canaan, God took almost 40 years, why?
Purification leads to the fulfilment of promises
The Israelites had sojourned in Egypt for almost 430 years. They must have been strongly influenced by the paganism in the land. This pagan influence was ingrained in the culture of the Israelites. Before taking them to the new land, God wanted to cleanse the whole generation, so that they would be faithful to the One and Only True God.
When the Israelites travelled to the Promised Land, they took 40 years to reach it. The Lord made them take several laps around the same place and eventually only Caleb and Joshua reached it. I have often wondered why they were not easily given the land promised to them. It was because they had to be purified from Egyptian cultism.
They were not easily provided with manna and water either. They complained and fought with God, and only then did He give them manna. God might permit many problems in our lives, before He takes us through to our own Canaan. Every problem has a hidden, potential blessing at the end. If we have a weakness, we have to face and fight the same weakness again and again, until we get strengthened. If you are weak in one area, you will be made to go another mile in that one.
Jacob was unforgiving towards Esau. The day he decided to forgive his brother, God appeared in front of him, blessed him and made him 'Israel'. He became a new creation. He had to purify himself from his sin of hostility, to become a new creation.
When Elijah was sent to the widow of Zarephath, the whole family was blessed because of him. The widow was grateful to him for it. But after a while, when her only son died, she blamed Elijah. Elijah was now in trouble. If it was someone else in his place, they would have run away from there. But Elijah took the body of his enemy's son, went to the room upstairs and prayed over it. Thus, for the first time in the history of humanity, a human being got the gift of raising a person from death.
Behind every suffering and crisis, a mighty blessing is waiting for you. But you may have to go through a purification process to achieve it. Many of us withdraw into shells when struggles come, fall into temptations and leave God. Do not loose heart, for none of your tears will be wasted.
Judas was probably a man just like the other apostles. All of them wanted power and wanted to be in command. Judas loved wealth too. Knowing his weakness, Jesus entrusted the money purse into Judas’ hands, so that he would be able to fight that craving for wealth. Temptations are opportunities for us to prove our faith and overcome our weaknesses; not occasions to fall into them and disappoint God. Judas had many chances to mend his ways and let go of the money bag, but he did not.
If you are weak in one area, the Lord will make you go another lap around that mountain - to help you come out of it. Another chance. The Israelites had to be purified. So do we. Until we become 'new creations', blessings may be delayed.



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