When we talk about the promises of God, most of us talk in big terms - grand sorts of things that are happening on a cosmic scale, rooted in the character and the heart of God. We talk about His love, grace, mercy. We talk about Heaven and eternal life. We talk about the resurrection of the dead and a peace that passes understanding.
And these things are good. Don't get me wrong.
But when we talk about the grand scheme of things, all the big, cosmic stuff that God is doing and has promised to do, we're missing something.
What we're missing is the intimate nature of God's promise.
If you read through the early chapters of the Old Testament, you can see that God made a lot of promises to persons whose names we know well - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel). What's interesting about these promises is that God keeps making them. He makes them all over again with each new generation, with each new man. Even with Joshua, when he takes over for Moses.
God has already promised these things to the men who came before, but God doesn't expect you to live in the promise He made to someone else. He wants you to live in the promise He made for you.
That's why, a generation after God promises Abraham that he will have descendants as numerous as the sands on the shore, He promises Isaac the same thing. A generation after that, He promises Jacob the same thing.
He never says, "I'm going to fulfill through you the promise I made to your father." No, that's not how our God works. He always says, "Here's the promise I'm making to you."
God has already promised, through Moses, to bring His people into the Promised Land. But then Moses dies and Joshua takes over, and God promises Joshua two things - that He will bring Israel into the Promised Land and that He will be with Joshua as He was with Moses.
This means that the work that you take up for God, the relationship that you have with Him, is not anyone else's. You're not spending your life laboring away for God's goodness outside of a promise He's made with you. You aren't working for someone else. You're working for God, the God who comes and makes a new promise with you because you are sacred and holy and unique and lovely and promise-worthy in your own right.
It means that when we talk about the grand, cosmic-scale things that God is doing, we have to remember that they aren't separate from us. They aren't these massive things that are disconnected from our actual existence. God isn't just making the world right; He is making us right. God isn't just preparing for eternity; He's preparing for our eternity. Yours. Mine. Individually.
When God promises love, peace, mercy, grace, hope, resurrection, eternal life...these aren't just big words; they are intimate words. They are words He is speaking not into the universe, but into your very heart. They are for you, dear one. God is making His promise all over again with you.
I love that.