Today at our church, I am preaching about God fulfilling his promise to David. In 2 Samuel 7:8-16, the Lord promises King 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 the Kings 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. In fact, there was no throne at all. Just the rule of foreigners in distant palaces.
God did not forget his promise. Jesus Christ came as ruler, and this son of David sits eternally enthroned. He reigns, and 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 do that 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.
Our culture is populated by men and women who are selling instant success and instant happiness. Just read their book, or watch their show, or take their drug, or wear their jeans. Some of these people even claim to be Christians, some even use the church as their platform. At best they are self-deceived, at worst they are thieves and liars.
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.