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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.


Long promises.

Genesis 26:1–5 (ESV)

Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

Christians understand the meaning of the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12 & 22 (“In your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”). It’s all about Jesus.

But non-Christians don’t see it that way. They’ve come up with various theories for how Abraham’s descendants will bless all nations. They will be beneficent rulers. Their wisdom will bless their neighbors. They will do great things.

But two things in this passage contradict those theories.

  • The entire promise is passed to Isaac; none of Abraham’s other sons are involved.
  • Isaac is told to stay put and not travel to other lands.

These things dictate a single line of blessing through Isaac’s descendants while preventing the spread of those descendants who might bless all nations with their wonderfulness.

The whole Old Testament points to Christ.

That said, God’s timetable still takes a little getting used to. The Messiah is over a thousand years away.

Imagine that God told you that He was granting you a thousand year life, and that at the end, Christ would return. How would that make you feel?

Would this try your patience? We’ve already waited two millennia for Christ’s return. What’s so bad about waiting one more? (Note: Richard Seymour’s view is not Biblical and looks to me to be way off.)

Well, there’s something intimidating about actually living through the whole thing. We like to talk about how God deals with things on a larger scale, and about how God’s ways are not our ways, but we rarely ponder how large that can get.

For the time dimension, we at least have some feel for it. We have a mental image of a thousand years—and it’s scary. That helps us see one aspect of how God’s ways are above our pay grade.

Praise God for who He is. We have no idea what His in-basket looks like. I don’t want to know either.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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