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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Genesis 17:1, 2 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, “I am God Almighty. Live in my presence and be blameless. I will set up my covenant between me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.” (CSB)
Genesis 12:1-3 “The Lord said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (CSB)