It’s the phrase that couples say at the altar. Used to be “I do”, but somewhere along the line it switched to “I will.” How beautiful are the vows a couple makes when they marry, a covenant they swear to uphold – to love, honor and cherish until death do they part. Only thing more precious is when our Heavenly Father breathes the eternal words, “I will,” and they become covenant promises to us as His children.
He does it often. The Lord is walking me through Genesis and what a thrill it is to be in the garden with Adam and Eve, ride the ark with Noah and read about Abram and Sarai’s ensuing dramas – who needs TV when there are exciting tales right here in the B-I-B-L-E??!!?? :p It is here I want to sit a while, at digest the “I wills” that God spoke to Abram. In Chapter 12, starting in verse 2, He says,
“I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you. I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
“So Abram went…” (vs. 4). Yes, it was easy for Abram to go, head out, enthusiastic and thrilled, energized and motivated with just receiving a WORD from the Lord. Who wouldn’t be? He grabbed his ‘ol wife, and nephew and headed out for an adventure to ‘who knows where’. “The world is my canvas,” he must’ve thought. “Let’s do this thing! In fact, let’s quick build an altar to the Lord just to celebrate!”
…’til they got to Egypt. Roadblock. A little tired from the journey, stressed about the famine and freaked out that the Egyptians may want to kill him because he has a beautiful wife… so “let’s just tell the Egyptians that you’re my sister, Sarai.” Ya know, in case God really didn’t mean what He said back in Haran. Doubt – how quickly and subtly it creeps in. You hear a word from the Lord, but when the high of it wears off, doubt sets in, unbelief.
Further down the road, Abram’s getting old. Dude, he was like almost 100. It’s really looking bleak that Abram’s gonna be a Daddy. God blessed him with a reminder (which He so graciously does) in Chapter 15:5,
“Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them… Your offspring will be that numerous.”
Abram heard that and “believed the Lord.” And that belief was credited to him as righteousness. Credited to him as righteousness… even when what happened shortly after that was an act of unbelief, taking Sarai’s slave as his “wifey” and working out his own plan to get himself a son. And God still kept His promise. And gave him another reminder in Ch. 17,
“I am God Almighty (in case you forgot). Live in my presence and be devout. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly… I will make you the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful and will make nations and kings come from you. I will keep My covenant between Me and you, and your offspring. I will bless her (Sarah), I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will produce nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Vs. 1-2, 5-7, 16
Nevertheless, they did it again… played the sister card once more when they met Abimelech… and once again, God was still faithful. He had not wavered in His promise, His covenant. What He said would come to pass did, sure enough, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was no spring chicken herself, they became the proud parents of Isaac, who would later be named Israel – and will be the line of many nations to come, the lineage of God’s chosen people. God’s “I wills” were true, He kept His promises, His covenant.
I do find it somewhat comforting, that God has given us great men/women of faith (ie. Abraham) that were faith superheroes, and shown us how they too had moments of doubt, unbelief… a simple wearing off of a “word” they had received from the Lord. There’s nothing like hearing God’s voice, through scripture, circumstances, wise counsel. Knowing the God of the universe is speaking to lil’ ‘ol me always thrills me – invigorates me – revitalizes me. But there are seasons, when the journey is long, when the famine creeps in and when the Egyptians are working at stealing my joy that even if I can’t feel the ‘word’ He has given me, I have to trust in His promises. I have to read His truth over and over until I feel it once again, until my unbelief becomes belief once again and even when I can’t see, walk by faith. The “I wills” of the Bible are abundant, from Genesis to Revelation. He hasn’t gone anywhere. His promises are still true. Oh, and these “I wills” from Genesis are just the top of the iceberg!
Praise You sovereign God that You are faithful. You are El Elyon – God Most High. Praise You that You are gracious in giving us chances, that despite our moments/seasons of unbelief, doubt, indifference and even apathy that You stand firm, ready to forgive, and to remind us of the WORD that has been spoken in us. Be lifted up, Most High God! You ROCK!