God’s Promises Fulfilled (Exodus 12).
God is faithful. Everything He promises comes true. It just might take a little time. For instance, the promises He made to Abraham way back in Genesis 15 are only fulfilled now in this passage in Exodus 12. He promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:5). In verse 37 of Exodus 12 we’re told that the number of Israelites leaving Egypt was ‘about six hundred thousand’. And that’s just the men. Add in the women and children and you’ve probably got a nation of well over a million. That’s a lot of people, considering just 70 came to Egypt with Jacob in the first place (Genesis 46:27). Promise of lots of descendants? Check.
God also promised Abraham that his descendants would possess the Promised Land of Canaan (Genesis 15:18-20), but not before certain conditions had been fulfilled. The current inhabitants had to have time to repent so that when judgement finally came they would have no excuse. There would be for the Israelites a time of waiting therefore ‘in a country not their own’ (Genesis 15:13). God doesn’t name Egypt but He does define the time period: 400 years. That’s a long time to wait. Even longer than the 100 years Abraham waited for a son. Certainly far longer than the delays we have to endure.
I struggle to be patient when waiting for something more than a few days. That’s not just a personal character flaw, it’s symptomatic of a fast-paced society that has become accustomed to instant access, immediate delivery and constant gratification. Some of us stress no end when God hasn’t fulfilled a promise after a few months or years. By comparison with the Israelites we’re getting off easy. Back to Exodus 12 and we find out that the Exodus began 430 years after they arrived in Egypt (Exodus 12:40). Give or take 30 years, that’s pretty much exactly what the Lord foretold to Abraham. Promise to deliver Israel out of slavery after 400 years? Check.
Finally, God promises Abraham that He would punish the nation that enslaved Israel and that Israel would ‘come out with great possessions’ (Genesis 15:14). That punishment promise was also fulfilled in Exodus 12, as ‘the Lord struck down all the firstborn of Egypt’ (v. 29), the climax of ten horrendous plagues. A few verses later, in the aftermath of this punishment, ‘The Lord made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.’ (v. 36). You might have expected hatred and animosity towards the slaves who had caused all their misery – although the blame truly lay at Pharaoh’s feet – but perhaps the Egyptians were just so desperate to be rid of the Hebrews that no price was too high to pay. So the Israelites walked off with livestock, to be used in sacrificial offerings later, and gold and silver and valuables, all of which would be needed to build the Tabernacle. Promise to punish their oppressors and enrich them at their expense? Check.
All God’s promises are fulfilled. Not only that, but fulfilled in a bigger, more breathtaking way than would have been expected. God is a God who exceeds expectations (Ephesians 3:20). He’s a God who can fulfil His promises no matter how many He makes – He never goes too far or promises too much (2 Corinthians 1:20). Nor is He slow or forgetful in delivering. The apostle Peter urges ‘do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ (2 Peter 3:8-9). God does everything in His own good time. In perfect time. Neither too early nor too late; ‘just at the right time’ (Romans 5:6). We want everything now, nothing can come too soon, but if everything came all at once much would go wasted and unappreciated. Many opportunities would be lost, lessons would go unlearned, and characters remain undeveloped. Delays are for good reasons. But delays should not make us doubt.
Is God keeping you waiting for something? Take heart that it is truly coming, and that it’ll be even better than you hoped. Has God promised you something? Don’t let anyone take that away from you, either to make you doubt that the promise was ever given or make you despair of it actually coming true. Think how much you will grow in the waiting and remember just how many times He has proven His faithfulness in the past. God’s promises will always be fulfilled.
To take away:
What promise from God are you most looking forward to seeing fulfilled? How can you best use the time while you’re waiting?