Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Promise Kept (devotional # 6)

Yesterday I read this quote by Fredrich Beuchner from the book Secrets in the Dark:

Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of Him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man. If the holiness and awful power and majesty of God were present in this even, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there also. And, this means that we are not safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from his power to break in to and recreate the human heart because it is where he seems most helpless that He is most strong and just where we least expect Him that he comes most fully.

I couldn't shake the thought of what it meant to have the Holy Son of God coming to earth as a babe in a stable. The treasures of Christ's birth are too many to count. My mind wandered to varying themes on the story until I landed on the thought, "He kept His promise." Mary knew this. She ends her Magnificat with (Luke 1:54-55), "He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever." God fulfilled prophecy through her and kept His promise.

Ok, God kept His promise. Fundamental. I know that one. But do we LIVE like we believe it? When Romans reminds us that "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose," (8:28) do we KNOW it's true for us?

The children of Israel were blessed, but let's not forget that when Christ appeared, they didn't have everything. Their lives were oppressed. Mary and Joseph were peasants. Poverty and subjugation to the Roman government was the order of the day. Ultimately, they only had the promise. And that was enough.

Think of the OT saints who had given their lives for the hope of the promise. Hebrews 11 records how they "died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them." They embraced them.

What God did when he sent his Son into the world is an absolute guarantee that he will do everything he has ever promised to do." (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

The birth of Christ in glorious simplicity is a promise kept. Do I trust that what I can not see will come to pass? (faith!) Do I look to the future fulfillment of His promises yet to come and embrace them?

Oh, to have the faith to say, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." To trust in the promise. That's my heart cry today.

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