All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:22-23)
How long was it between the day God made this promise and the day He kept it? Several hundred years, at least. God spoke through Isaiah to the evil King Ahaz, who was worrying about an invasion at the time. He didn't really care what Isaiah had to say.
The rest of us cared, though—everyone who realized that God had just promised to come into our world as "God-with-us," God made human, God born of a virgin as a tiny baby—our Savior. That was a promise worth waiting for!
Still, the waiting was difficult. People spent years suffering under wicked kings—taken off into exile—returned to a ruined country and to homes they had to rebuild stone by stone. And they wondered: When will God keep His promise?
We, too, groan sometimes as we wait for God to keep His promises to us. It is taking so long for Jesus to return—for God to put an end to all evil—for God to destroy death, our last enemy. In the meantime, we suffer. How long, O Lord?
But we know God is faithful. He kept this first promise, to come to us as our Savior. He kept other promises, to suffer and die and rise again, all to free us from the power of evil. And He will keep every promise He has ever made, including the ones we will see fulfilled when Jesus returns, and the world is made new. God will not forget.
THE PRAYER: Lord, help us to keep hoping in Your good promises. Amen.
* When did someone make you a special promise?
* What does it mean to you when someone keeps a promise to you?
* How has God been faithful to you in difficult times?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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