Misapplied Promises

God will disappoint us if we presume the unique commitments he made in the Bible, to certain people, under specific circumstances, also apply to us in situations of our choosing.

Specific Promises

For example, in Deuteronomy 28:1–14 God promises to prosper and protect the nation of Israel in response to its corporate obedience.

This promise did not oblige him to give every obedient Israelite an easy life. Likewise, it does not obligate him to similarly reward our individual obedience.

The apostle Paul proves the point. He was a godly man and an effective evangelist, but God did not honor his faithfulness by shielding him from all unpleasantness.

Paul endured beatings, shipwrecks, jail, hunger, thirst, cold, and other miseries. Tradition says he was beheaded for proclaiming the Gospel.

General Promises

Misinterpreting the general promises God makes to all reborn believers can also create false expectations.

For example, Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This promise does not mean God will give us everything we want in response to our obedience.

The promise means that, as we walk in harmony with God, he instills in us the desire for the good things that will truly satisfy us at a soulful level. He helps us discover our passion and purpose in life.

Determining Applicability

The personal applicability of a specific Bible promise depends on its context, its conditions for fulfillment, and its thematic consistency throughout Scripture.

God’s promise to come to our aid was originally given to the Israelites centuries ago, but its six implicit truths are reiterated throughout the Bible.

We therefore know the promise still applies to us today.