God's Promises: An Advent Meditation
In 2 Samuel 7:8-16, the Lord promises David that the throne of his kingdom will be established forever. God does put David’s son on the throne. Then he gives the throne to David’s grandson, his great-grandson, his great-great=grandson and on and on.
Eventually, though, the sins of David’s sons built up to the point that their nation was dismantled and their reign was over. Beginning with the deportation to Babylon, there was no descendent of David on the throne. For many generations there was no throne at all, just foreign rulers. Even when the Jews ruled themselves, their warlords were no longer the descendants of King David.
But God did not forget his promise. Jesus of Nazareth is of the bloodline of David. He came as ruler and even now he sits eternally enthroned. Jesus is Lord. In him God’s promises are fulfilled. None of David’s other offspring could even have imagined such a glorious throne.
The promise did not come the way that many would have hoped, and it didn’t come in a way that was personally satisfying to thousands upon thousands of people. Centuries passed in which it looked like God had forsaken his promise. Generations lived and died and did not see the promise fulfilled.
Advent is a time when we expect the fulfillment of God’s promises. God always keeps his word, but he doesn’t necessarily keep it according to our vision or our timing. He will do what he said he will do, but he may not do it the way we wish. He will provide for us, but maybe not give us what we want. He will save us, but may not make us feel good while he’s doing it. He will help us, but his help may bring us to some difficult places.
God does not promise instant anything. Advent is a time to be reminded of God’s promises, but it is also a time to be patient for them. Only by his grace will we be patient, because it is only in him and with his strength that we can hope to do any good thing. He is trustworthy to give us grace, and we must rely on that grace to stay peacefully expectant. He will fulfill his promises to his people and to his creation. And he will do it in his own time and in his own way.