One of the books of the Bible I return to again and again to read in its entirety is the Book of Genesis. This book is so foundational to the metanarrative of Scripture and to the Christian faith in what it teaches us about the greatness of God, the fallenness of humanity and the redemption God provides in Christ.

Early on in Genesis, we are introduced to an important concept—the biblical covenant. In essence, a covenant is a promise given by God on His terms, not ours, that He keeps for all eternity. We may read about the covenants and promises of God in the Old Testament and wonder if they have any impact on our lives today. Indeed they do!

Even as early as Genesis, the text points to Christ as the means through which He will fulfill the promise of redemption. Speaking to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, God says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). In Gal. 4:4, Paul refers to this offspring of the woman to be none other than Jesus who would defeat Satan and the curse of sin, and who would redeem and adopt His followers as children.

Similarly, Paul reminded the Corinthians, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him (Christ). That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Cor. 1:20). All of the Bible points to Jesus, and all of God’s promises are ultimately fulfilled in Him. So, as followers of Christ, this means the covenants and promises of God are important, relevant and serve as a great hope-giving encouragement in our lives.

To illustrate what God’s promises should mean to followers of Jesus, James Boice once told in a sermon about a family tradition of his predecessor, Donald Barnhouse. The Barnhouse family had what they called a promise box. It was a small box containing many tiny rolls of paper on which promises from the Bible had been written.

The Barnhouses used to take a written promise out of the box whenever they needed a special word of comfort. Barnhouse was preaching in France and led a woman to Christ. He told her about the promise box. She made a promise box for her family, writing out all these same promises in French.

The time came when World War II swept over the European continent, and France was particularly affected. The people struggled to live. Food ran short, and the time came when this woman had no food for her family except a bunch of potato peels from a local restaurant. Her children were emaciated. They were crying for food. She was desperate.

In this tragic moment she remembered the promise box and turned to it, praying, “Lord, O Lord, I have such great need. Is there a promise here that is really for me? Show me, O Lord, what promise I can have in this time of famine, nakedness, hopelessness and violence.”

She was crying by this time, and as she reached for the promise box, blinded by tears, she accidentally knocked it over and all the promises came showering down upon her, into her lap, and tumbling to the floor. Not a promise was left in the box. She knew in a moment of great joy that the promises of God were beyond counting, that they were all for her, and that they were indeed “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus.

Take a moment and reflect on the powerful and wonderful promises of God. His promises should comfort us, give us peace and motivate us to live our lives for Christ. Why not try something like the promise box in your life or with your family? Recounting God’s promises at all times is an effective way to place our focus on God and His provision.