category: Advent

Advent Devotion: Day 19

Thursday, December 15

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 2 Samuel 7:1-17; Galatians 3:23-29

In the most general of terms, promises hold human society together. For example, we collectively promise not to harm one another, or steal, etc. The breach of this social agreement is the foundation of discord and violence. Promises tend to encourage and entice us towards loftier goals and at times warn us of incoming consequences. As a child, I recall heavily relying upon the promises of family and friends, placing my monumental naivety on full display. An older cousin promised to take me to the local mall after school one day. For nearly a week, I anticipated our trip anxiously, saved my meager allowance, and rushed through my days in growing excitement for the arcade and sweets that awaited me at the mall. Finally, the day arrived for our fated trip, but he never showed up. I remember standing in the front yard of his mother’s house patiently waiting for him to arrive; he never did. That day I learned that promises matter and that everyone cannot be trusted to keep them. As I have aged, I have resolved never to make anyone feel as I did on that fabled afternoon. A promise is to be kept.

David, now recognized as King of Israel, had come through many toils and snares to get to his place of prominence among his people. The entire endeavor was the fruit of God’s promises in action. God promised David’s ancestor Abraham to bring his descendants to this great place. Moreover, God promised to make David King as David stood earlier before the prophet Samuel. Now, God once more makes David a promise. Here, the Lord promises to bless David’s lineage and provide a path forward to his people.

God promises steadfast love, consistent support, and generational blessings to any willing to open their hearts unto the Lord. The promises of 2 Samuel 7:1-17 are invoked by David’s desire to build a house for the Lord to honor God. In effect, David wishes to make himself and by extension his people more susceptible to God’s loving embrace. Moreover, David desires to codify and solidify his commitment to the God of Israel. Similarly, if we commit ourselves to the Lord too, the promises of God become increasingly apparent within our lives and our family as well.

Revelation 3 presents the notion of Jesus knocking upon the doors of our hearts, seeking fellowship with us. Upon entry, the Lord promises to fellowship and bless deeply. Thankfully, God is not like my cousin or other fallible humans who struggle to keep promises. Rather, the Lord has never and will never fail us. A promise from God is truly something to live by.

Jamaal Edwards
School of Divinity Graduate

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Advent Devotion: Day 20

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