Daily D – 1 Kings 8:20
“And now the LORD has fulfilled the promise he made, for I have become king in my father’s place, and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised. I have built this Temple to honor the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.” 1 KINGS 8:20 (NLT)
A promise is a commitment. It is either a commitment to another person creating an obligation, or it is a commitment to oneself initiating the development of a reinforcing habit. This is a gross oversimplification but play along for a bit.
Each of us has made promises we did not keep. Life involves learning what we can promise and what we cannot. Some promises are too big for us when we breathe them. Sometimes we know this immediately. Sometimes it takes a little longer. Some people require our promises come in writing with signatures of witnesses and a notary stamp.
Some promises are kept for a lifetime and even go to the grave with those who made them. This brings to mind my spelling textbook from the seventh grade. A simple line drawing showed three men. Two of them were dead. Below was a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
Promises often require some kind of accountability. This is true even for promises we make to ourselves. Accountability, Brian Moran and Michael Lennington tell us in The 12 Week Year, is a promise to ourselves we invite others to help us keep.
A song from 1983 says,
You made me promises promises
Knowing I’d believe
You knew you’d never keep
Songwriters: Rob Fisher / Peter James Byrne
Promises, Promises lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
There has probably never lived a soul who kept without fail all of his or her promises with one significant exception. This Bible text is about a promise fulfilled. In 2 Sam. 7:11-13, God makes a promise to David:
Furthermore, the LORD declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings! For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple— for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever.
Three decades later or so, Solomon declared God’s promise fulfilled. What happened in the intervening years? Well, there was the incident recorded in 2 Sam. 11. This involved a beautiful young married woman, adultery, a murder, and the death of a baby. Surely the promise was broken at this point?
Then there was a rape, a murder, and an enforced exile among David’s children. When at long last the murdering son returned, he turned people away from his father for the purpose of seizing the throne. His arrogance led to his death. Surely the promise was broken at this point?
Then David ordered a census and brought disaster on Israel. Surely the promise was broken at this point?
Then one of David’s sons decided he would succeed his father to the throne and gathered important allies to ensure his plan. He was not the successor God had in mind. Many tense moments passed as Solomon was appointed as the next king. Solomon told his brother Adonijah he would not kill him if he went home and stayed there. Then Adonijah asked for something, someone actually, who would elevate him where he thought he belonged and possibly position himself for a challenge to Solomon if the opportunity arose. An executioner paid him a visit. Surely the promise was broken at this point?
No. God’s promise to David survived significant roadblocks and challenges. What he promised came true. Solomon recognized and declared how good God is and how faithful he is to keep his promises.
Some promises require years, decades, or more to fulfill. Many people give up all too soon. Our Father in heaven is not hurried by our impatience. He is not rushed by our mistakes. He is never early, never late. He is always right on time. He always finishes what he starts.
Solomon marked a milestone. He recognized a promise fulfilled. He celebrated God’s goodness and faithfulness. He praised God: “Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who has kept the promise made to my father, David,” (v. 17).
Is there a promise you await? Is there something God placed on your heart which is not yet fulfilled? Read all of 2 Sam. 8. It is in a word, glorious. Anticipation at last satisfied is like that.
I will wait on God to fulfill his promises in his own way in his own time.
Our Father, you can do anything but fail. Your promises are always true. As the old song says, we can stand on them. Indeed, there is nothing more firm than your words of truth and life. We will wait on your perfect fulfillment in your perfect timing. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.