If you want to receive what God has promised to you in the most biblical way possible, here are 3 things you must do.
1. To Receive God’s Promise, You Must Make Sure God Actually Promised It
Perhaps there is no better illustration of receiving God’s promise than the story of Sarah. She knew God had promised her husband Abraham to be the father of many nations, yet she was growing older and older by the day without child.
She made mistakes along the way and yet God remained faithful to the promises he made to her. Genesis 21:1 states, “The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised.”
Likewise, to receive God’s promises to you, we must remember it all depends on God, not us. God will never forsake his promise to you. If God doesn’t do something you felt he promised, this is not a sign God has failed to deliver. Rather, this is a sign he did not make this promise because God never lies (Titus 1:2). To truly receive what God has promised, you must be sure God actually promised it.
This is why we must first depend on the promises of God in Scripture. When a promise is made in Scripture, you can be 100% certain that God will deliver that promise either in this life or in the life to come. But if you sense God made a personal promise to you, have faith that God can produce that promise if he really did make that promise. But never allow the lack of a blessing to fuel your doubt in God’s power to produce his promises in your life.
Rather, believe God knows best and has ultimately promised you good, not harm. What that good may look like is not always revealed in the present. But in time, if you remain faithful, you will see his promise of good for you fulfilled.
2. To Receive God’s Promise, Don’t Try to Constrict God to Your Timetable
Genesis 21:2 states, “And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.” By the time God delivered on his promise to Sarah, she was 90 and her husband was 100 (Genesis 17:17).
Sarah believed God’s promise, but she mistakenly expected it to occur at a different time than it did. And in her waiting, she made a terrible mistake. She took matters into her own hands, she tried to rush God, and she tricked herself into believing that she needed to get God’s promise through a sinful means. She told Abraham to take her servant, Hagar. In Genesis 16:2, she said to her husband, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.”
This sin by Sarah and Abraham caused an immense amount of pain and confusion. In God’s sovereignty, he used it for good and still delivered on his promise to Sarah. But because she was so committed to receiving God’s promise on her timetable rather than submitting to God’s timing, she had to go through a lot of extra suffering.
Likewise, to receive God’s promises well, don’t attach God’s promise to your own schedule. Always submit to God’s timing.
3. To Receive God’s Promise, Confess Your Sins and Allow Him to Sovereignly Redeem You
There is a bit of irony and humor in God’s plan to name their son “Isaac.” This name means “he laughs.” This seems to relate to what happened in Genesis 18:9-15. When Sarah heard that she would bear a child in her old age, she laughed to herself.
God heard her and confronted this. Genesis 18:15 then says, “But Sarah denied it, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid. He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’”
And so when we get to the fulfillment of God’s promise to Sarah, we see her come full circle. In Genesis 21:6, it states, “And Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.’”
She stopped lying about her mistakes. She stopped fearing God. She was finally honest, fully realizing that the fulfillment of God’s promise was not rooted in her good works but rather in God’s everlasting grace.
None of us should reside in sin. We must all confess and repent as we seek to be sanctified through the Spirit. But never think God’s promise rests upon your perfection. It doesn’t. Like Sarah who received good from God even though she erred along the way, God is sovereign enough to produce his good will for you even without your perfect obedience.
Again, this is not an excuse to sin but rather this is the reason we can remain faithful to God even after we error (Romans 6:1-4).
As God said to Israel, one day he will say to all of us, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord’” (Ezekiel 12:28, NIV).