Devotional Thoughts for Today
“The Delay Before the Fulfillment”
37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 39 With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves. 40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.
In my freshman orientation class, my professor shared that the key to thriving in our college years would be based on our ability to accept delayed gratification. Thought it didn’t feel like an absolutely foreign or new concept, it was the first time someone guided me to pause and search how I would cope with delayed gratification if I were to face it in a new environment and life stage. Finding steadiness in delayed gratification is not only applicable for thriving in school, but can also apply to our life-long journey of faith. For Abraham and his descendents, the delays in receiving God’s promise served to develop their faith in God and increased their praises towards God.
Several generations before Israel’s exodus, God assured Israel’s forefather, Abraham, in the Genesis passage that He would indeed fulfill His promise of making Him a great nation and give him the land He has chosen for His people. God gave Abraham insight that the hardship his descendants would face for many years will end in His fulfilled promise. The reality of delayed fulfillment was very evident in Abraham’s life, as well as in the life of his descendants. The 430 years of being in Egypt probably felt like an unending delay, but in hindsight, it was only a delay before the fulfillment. Abraham himself didn’t live to see the promised land or the great people his descendants had become, but God’s promise indeed was fulfilled and his descendants did come out of the foreign land with great possessions.
In the process of fulfilling His good plans, God sets in place seasons of delay to produce in us greater faith, hope and character (Rom. 5:3-5). In fact, the delays and setbacks along the way are part of His promised blessings, so that we would be attuned to trust in Him and to declare His praises when the blessings come. If you are facing a season of waiting for an answered prayer, let David’s words in Psalm 27 encourage you this morning, “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Ps. 27:14).
Prayer: Dear Father, I acknowledge your faithfulness and your goodness. I praise you because you are God who begins a good work in me and completes it. You not only bless me with Your provisions, but you also reveal to me Your character and faithfulness in seasons of waiting. God, I cherish even the hardships that are leading me to draw closer to You today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 5
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 4:18-25. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Questions to Consider
- What is Paul referring to in this Romans passage?
- What can we learn about God’s promise through this passage?
- How are those who are in Christ also “Abraham’s offspring”?
- Paul is referring to the dialogue between God and Abraham in Genesis 15:1-6. With his own reasoning, Abraham inquired God if He was going to fulfill his promise of an heir through Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, since God didn’t give a son yet. However, God reassured him that He would indeed give him a son who is his own flesh and blood even though Sarah was barren and they were old in age.
- In Abraham’s case, God’s promise required him to surrender hope in his own ability, and to hope in God alone. “Against all hope” refers to Abraham and Sarah’s barrenness and old age, or any aspect of their circumstance that makes God’s promise seem impossible. Against all hope in their abilities, Abraham turned to hope in God.
- For those who are in Christ, we are also Abraham’s offspring because the righteousness of God is given to us in the same way as it was given to Abraham. Righteousness was credited to him based on his belief in God’s power to fulfill His promise. In the same way, we are credited with righteousness when we believe that God has the power to save us through Christ’s death and resurrection.
Genesis 15:1 “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
In waiting for God’s promise of offspring and land, God assured Abraham (formerly, Abram) that He himself is Abraham’s shield and very great reward. Beyond the greatness of what he would inherit, God comforted Abraham that He is ultimately His reward and protection. How does God being “your shield, your very great reward” speak to you tonight?