Most of God’s promises are conditional. In other words, when God makes a promise, He says, “If you will do this, then I will do that.” We have no right to claim the promise unless we first meet the condition He puts forth.
We need to see that the fulfillment of God’s promises does not depend upon our circumstances, but upon our fulfilling God’s conditions. We must keep our eyes on the conditions, making sure that we fulfill them instead of being influenced by the circumstances that might prevent us from doing so.
Let’s look at the example of Abraham. God had promised Abraham a son who was to be his heir, but he reached the age of ninety-nine, and still no heir had come. (On his own, he produced Ishmael, but he was not to be the heir.) Why did God allow Abraham to reach such an old age before He fulfilled His promise? Why does God often allow us to come to a position of seeming impossibility before He fulfills the promises we are claiming?
First, we are emptied of excessive self-confidence. We realize that if something is going to be done, God will be the only one who can do it. Abraham’s own body was worthless in terms of procreation, as was the womb of his wife. There was no natural way that the promise could be fulfilled. Abraham had to focus his eyes exclusively on God, the only one capable of fulfilling the promise.
Second, when the promise is finally fulfilled, all the glory goes to God. Remember, the purpose of the promises is that God may be glorified. When there is a possibility of us doing something on our own, we might be tempted to take the credit. But when we come to the place where we know we cannot do it by our own effort, we are exhausted of self-confidence, and all the glory truly goes to God.