MisunderStanding on the Promises
By David M. McNabb

Our God is a God of promises. He has always kept His word, and He never changes. Whatsoever God says, He does, and He can always be trusted to follow through. There is, however, an occasional misunderstanding on the part of the recipient of the promise as to its application.

For example, we find one of the very first promises of God in Gen. 2:15-17. "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ĎOf every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.í "

God promised that Adam would die if he ate of that tree. The serpent, however, caused Eve to doubt the promise. He asked her, "Yea, hath God said, ĎYe shall not eat of every tree of the gardení?" He skewed Godís words and Eve began to think twice. She said that, regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God had commanded, "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." God had never mentioned that touching the tree would result in death, but having added this clause further clouded Godís law.

In fact, neither touching, nor even eating of the fruit of that tree caused the immediate physical death of the partaker. Eve, being tricked, ate of the tree. Lo and behold, she didnít die. She came to her husband, fruit in hand. He could see that she had not died: she was still breathing ... her heart was still pumping. So he, too, ate. Was Godís promise invalid? He said they would die, yet they did not.

The Bible records that Eve "saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes." She, and her husband, chose to "the pleasure of sin" over obedience to God. They did not know the truth that Paul would later pen to Timothy in 1 Tim. 5:6, "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth."

Truly, they did die that day. Theirís was a spiritual death: one that they passed on to all future generations of mankind. Godís word was sure, His promise Ė steadfast. Man merely erred in his interpretation of the promise.

That was not, however, the last time Eve was wrong about Godís promises. Surely, she spent the rest of her life, as did Adam, regretting their sin Ė and its huge punishment. Nevertheless, Eve was aware of another promise. God told the serpent, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen. 3:15)

Eve knew that, of her offspring, a man would arise that would have victory over Satan, and redeem mankind from their fallen state. This explains her words, as recorded in Gen. 4:1. "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, ĎI have gotten a man from the Lord.í " She knew that one of her children was to be the redeemer, and rejoiced when she bare her first son, Cain, mistakenly trusting that he was the one. This is further proven by the matter-of-fact account of Abelís birth in the next verse. "And she again bare his brother Abel." No great announcement was made by Eve here, because she knew Cain would be the savior.

When Cain murdered Abel, not only was Eve disheartened that Cain proved himself to not be whom she had hoped, but he also eliminated the chance for Abel to fulfill the prophecy. Eve was left to wait for another. She did bare another son, and with a renewed hope called his name Seth, "For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew." (Gen. 4:25)

Because she misapplied the promise of God, Eve believed that their exile from the garden would be ended by one of her sons, even in her lifetime. She could not have known that the prophecy that her seed would conquer the devil was to be fulfilled by one of her descendants some 4000 years later, as Pilot declared of Jesus, "Behold, the man!"

Throughout history, man has misinterpreted the promises of God. Many have erroneously thought God unfaithful, because things didnít work out according to their explanation of the Scripture. Consequently, they have become disheartened, even as Godís Word says in Prov. 13:12, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick..."

Paul gives us an important lesson about the promises of God in 2 Cor. 1:17-22. "... as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. ... For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us."

When God speaks, it is not "Maybe-so, possibly, or probably." He always keeps His promises. God told Abraham that Sarah would bare him a son. Abraham was satisfied to make his servant his heir, but God said no, the heir would be born by Sarah. Abraham was satisfied to make Ishamael, son of Hagar, his heir. Again, God repeated that Sarah would bare the promised seed.

Isaac, the child of Abrahamís and Sarahís old age is just one shining example that God always keeps His word.

Do not be disappointed when Godís promise doesnít get carried out just as you expected. The failure was not in Godís promise, it was in your expectation.

Let us walk in the light of God, being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Thatís His promise.