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The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail

When you read the papers or watch the news and hear some of the devastating things happening in the world today, and even in the church, does it ever make you question, “Lord God, where is the fulfilment of your promises for your church?” Thankfully, God understands, and to encourage and inspire us, has gone ahead, providing accounts in His Word, of those who might also have been tempted to ask similar questions.

In Genesis 24, we’re told, ‘Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way.’ Yet, he was still waiting for the one thing that must have mattered more than anything else to him. He was still waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promise decades earlier, that his descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky and through them all nations on earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:17-18). Isaac was forty years old, unmarried and without children. Who could have blamed Abraham if he had wavered in his faith in God to fulfil His promise?

There had been times earlier in his life when he had doubted God’s Word to him, but not now. Now, he totally believed God would provide a wife for Isaac. So much so, that he sent his servant on a trek hundreds of miles by camel to Nahor, with unwavering belief that he would return with the young woman God had chosen.

Although Abraham couldn’t have known, we have the benefit of the whole story. Upon the servant’s arrival, he prayed a very specific prayer, which if answered, would reveal the woman’s inner beauty, ‘Lord, the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a young woman, “Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,” and she says, “Drink, and I’ll water your camels too”—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac’ (Genesis 24:12-14).

Rebekah was the answer to the prayer, and God’s plan played out. Against all human rationale, not only were her family willing to let her go with this stranger to travel the long distance to marry an unknown man, but Rebekah herself, recognised the call of the same God who had called Abraham many years before, and was willing to trust herself to Him and go with the servant to the Promised Land.

In a way that could never have been humanly worked out, God fulfilled His promise to Abraham, providing His chosen wife for Isaac, who would bear him twin sons, Esau and Jacob. And through that line, would eventually come the Lord Jesus, who would ‘bless all nations on earth.’

When we hear things that might try to persuade us to question and doubt, we can be assured that our God, the same God, has not changed in His commitment to fulfilling His covenant promises. He said, ‘I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:18). He is faithfully bringing the lost, the hurting and broken to a saving knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ, healing, preparing His bride for the day when Jesus returns.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a promise-keeping God. Thank You for the stories in Your Word that encourage and inspire. Please help me to grow, as Abraham did, in faith and trust in You, and as I do, to pray for Your church, and to share the message of real hope I have in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


 

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Scripture

I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:18, KJV

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Today's Writer

Julie Smith is married to Roger, and they have two grown up children. Having received deep healing in her own life, primarily through ministry at Ellel Grange and then attending the Modular School at Glyndley Manor, she went on to join the Glyndley associate ministry team. She now works part-time for the International Director’s Office and is an associate teacher for the ministry. She is passionate to see others restored and released into the abundant life Jesus won for us all.

Julie Smith


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