“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” – Genesis 28:15
This is an Old Testament promise, to an Old Testament man by the name of Jacob, in a specific, Old Testament time, for a specific, Old Testament reason.
But can this promise be for you and I? Can we take the promises we read in the Old Testament and make them our own?
I believe, yes, based on the Bible, but allow me to explain
In Genesis 27, Jacob deceives his father, Isaac, by leading him to believe that he was indeed his brother Esau. Isaac was getting older, and his eyes were getting dim, so he could not tell it was Jacob by simply looking at him.
But the author also describes Jacob as being smooth-skinned, while Esau was a hairy and rough-skinned fellow. So Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, decided to help Jacob out by tying goat fur around his arms and on the smooth part of his neck, so as to make him feel like Esau.
But why all of the deception and lying and going behind people’s back?
Because Isaac had just sent Esau away to hunt and cook up a meal for him, that he may bless Esau.
But Rebekah overheard all of this and decided to help Jacob get the blessing instead. Then began all of the deception and lying.
So Isaac, being dim-sighted (and maybe a little dim-witted), blessed Jacob instead of Esau (Gen. 27:28-29).
Why is this important for us to know?
Because we are Jacob.
The verse from above, Genesis 28:15, was God’s promise to Jacob when he is on the run from Esau after Esau found out about the deception and desired to kill Jacob. Jacob was in the middle of the desert, he grabbed a stone and used it as a pillow, and there God showed up in his dream to give him this promise.
But if we are Jacob, then this was written for us, just as much as it was for Jacob. But how are we Jacob?
You see, Jacob goes on in Genesis 32 to wrestle with God until God blesses him, and once he does receive the blessing, God changes his name on the spot to Israel.
Jacob (Israel) then goes on to be the patriarch of the entire nation of Israel, who would be described as God’s chosen people (Deut. 7:7-9).
So far, it makes sense that God’s chosen people are the ones who can hold fast to this promise… But how does that mean that I can?
Won’t I be stealing their promises and making them my own? Wasn’t this written for a specific audience, that not being me?
I believed this to be true, until I read Galatians 3.
“Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” – Galatians 3:7-9
If we are believers in Jesus, if we have faith in His salvation of us for His glory and praise, then we are sons of Abraham. So, we are blessed, as Abraham’s offspring.
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” – Galatians 3:29
Do you see it now?
WE, if we are believers in Jesus Christ, are Abraham’s offspring, just as Jacob is, and so the promise to Jacob in Genesis 28:15 is for US, just as it is for Jacob.
This means that when we read a promise of God to his people, then WE can hold fast to it.
Are you a believer in Jesus? Then God’s promises are for you.
We can hold fast to the promise of Genesis 28, that the truth is that God will keep us; HE will not leave us until HE has done the work that HE has promised.
So to answer the question: can we take Old Testament promises and make them our own?
I believe so, on the basis of Galatians 3.
What about you…? Do you believe it? More importantly, do you believe that God upholds and keeps and will never leave His children whom He loves?
Whether or not we agree on the issue of Old Testament promises being for us today, we can agree that God has surely upheld and kept us, and He has surely not left us.
It would seem that whether or not we agree on God’s promises, God is still faithful to take care of his people. What a beautiful Savior.
– Jacob Simmons, Family Pastor