Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Inheritance of Promises

The Inheritance of Promises UV 535/10,000 Hebrews 6 v 12 That ye be not slothful but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises We are expected not to be like the lazy heir who knowing that he will inherit all the wealth of the father wastes his life and time. We are called to be diligent in knowing, understanding and claiming the promises of God contained in the Word and specifically spoken to us. We must imitate the long line of our faith fathers who through faith and patience inherited the promises. Abraham for instance waited for decades before the promise of an heir was fulfilled. We need to imitate the patriarchs and the apostles to replicate in our lives their kind of patience and diligence in our lives. We need to diligently study the promises of the Covenants, old and new, the clauses and sub clauses as a businessman would pore over every letter to discern the fine print. St Paul studied the scriptures for three years before he launched on his global mission to reach the gospel across the then known world. We need to diligently study, faithfully ask, eagerly seek, persistently knock and patiently wait. We should not be slothful but active, energetic and alert, not abdicating our responsibility and doing what lies with us. The promised land of the Israelites is itself nothing but a metaphor for eternal life that is promised to believers. When I turned forty ten years ago, I told myself that I have spent forty years in the wilderness and now I am entering the land of promises. The promises of the Word are the milk and honey of His Kingdom. We need to savour it, delight in it and treasure it. Normally, a promise is made between two consenting or contracting parties. But, the promise and its conditions are also binding on the heirs to both parties. We have entered into a covenant relationship with the Holy, Almighty, Just , Sovereign and Loving God. He is able to fulfill all His promises. In fact, His part of the compact is already blood-signed and “ finished”. This uni-verse throws the responsibility on us, the second party to the covenant, of being faithful and not slothful in remembering, retaining, believing, trusting, claiming and waiting for the promise. Interestingly, the word used is “ inherit” and not inherited to indicate that our inheritance of faith is a continuing experience through the generations. The trouble is many of us give up before we reach the finishing line. The other day, a believing batchmate and a senior police officer in the North East India sent me a single word, “ suddenly.” We might be waiting for many years for the fulfillment of a promise of God. I have had the experience of waiting for fifteen to thirty years for answers to several prayers. But, “ suddenly” it will come to pass, it will be fulfilled. It is our forbearance or patience that helps us find favour or grace in the eyes of God. Our diligence pleases Him even as our impatience and murmuring displeases Him no end. The waiting period is a time of training and churning of our character to build into us the qualities of endurance and perseverance. Our waiting period is like the gestation period- it must be characterized by constant nourishment of our faith and evidenced in thanksgiving and praise of Lord Amen- the establisher and fulfiller of hope, the vindicator of faith. Indeed, perseverance pays and the perseverant pray. Prateep V Philip

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