Monday - February 7th
Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 2:11-22
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
A wealthy Missouri farmer named Valentine Tapley vowed that if Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States, the farmer would never shave again. He kept his promise and then some. By the time Tapley died at 80 years of age in 1910, his beard was over 12 feet long!
Tapley's beard got so long that he tied it in a knot most days and stuffed it into a silk bag that he wore beneath his vest. Talk about going to great lengths to stage a political protest. But he made a promise and kept it!
Two thousand years before Christ walked on earth, God made a promise to a man named Abraham. God promised Abraham that God would birth a nation through him and his wife, Sarah. At the time of God's promise, the couple was well beyond childbearing years and had no children. God's promise could only be accomplished by the miracle of birth to an unlikely couple. God kept that promise. Sarah gave birth to Isaac.
The Nation of Israel emerged in successive generations. God's promise to Abraham (as given in Genesis chapters twelve and fifteen) included the promise that the nation of his descendants would bless all nations. When a Jewish carpenter and his wife welcomed baby Jesus into the world, that part of the promise began to take shape. Ultimately, through Jesus' death and resurrection, every nation, not just Israel, would be blessed.
The distinction between Jew and Gentile was removed. All of us are one by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. While the Nation of Israel knew of the promised Messiah, the gentiles can now come to Christ too. Paul said this to the primarily Gentile believers at Ephesus: "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 1:13). God made a promise that He would send a Messiah through the descendants of Abraham for all the nations of the earth. And He did!
Whether we are Jewish or Gentile in our background, any of us can enjoy a relationship with God through Jesus. God kept His word! It is now a promise fulfilled. Because of His faithfulness in His promise to Abraham, we can cling by faith to the promises His Word makes for us today!
Our God is the ultimate promise keeper, and that should give us all hope as we live our lives of faith in Him!