Advent Reflection: God’s Promise to David

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
15316635444 0330adef86 k 1

Lord, where is your unfailing love? You promised it to David with a faithful pledge.

Psalms 89:49

In our Advent reflection today, we remember that we are waiting for the one who is the Son of David, the rightful king of Israel. Psalm 89 accentuates this kind of waiting, first by celebrating God’s unfailing love, which was expressed through the Lord’s covenant with David. The Lord promised: “I will establish your descendants as kings forever; they will sit on your throne from now until eternity” (89:1-4). The all-powerful, all-righteous God raised up David as his blessed king, even calling him his “firstborn son” (89:27). This did not identify David as divine but rather as one favored by the Lord, one whose kingdom would never end (89:29). Even if David’s descendants rejected the Lord, he would still be faithful to David (89:30-37).

At this stage, Psalm 89 makes a quick, jarring u-turn, objecting to God: “But now you have rejected him and cast him off … You have renounced your covenant with him” (89:38-39). Thus, the psalmist asks, “O Lord, where is your unfailing love? You promised it to David with a faithful pledge” (89:49). A couple of verses later, the writer continues as if he were David himself, “Your enemies have mocked me, O LORD; they mock your anointed king wherever he goes” (89:51). The next verse concludes the psalm with another unanticipated u-turn: “Praise the LORD forever! Amen and amen!” (89:52).

Though life has not turned out as the psalmist had hoped, and though it seems to him as if God has contradicted his own commitment to David, nevertheless the psalm writer continues to put his trust and even his praise in God. He looks to the Lord to remember his covenant with David and to raise up someone to rule on David’s throne. In the midst of deep disappointment and suffering, the psalmist exercises shocking freedom in challenging God and shocking faith in praising God.

As we draw closer to the end of Advent, Psalm 89 encourages us to speak freely to the Lord, letting him know all of our yearnings, fears, and frustrations. At the same time, we join the psalm writer by worshiping God even when we don’t understand his ways. We continue to hope in him, looking for the fulfillment of his promises.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Are there times when you have felt as if God has forgotten his promises? What have you done in those times? In this season of Advent, will you tell God the truth about your hopes for work and life, your fears, your disappointments, your yearnings?

PRAYER: Gracious God, how I thank you for the example of Psalm 89. I am so grateful for the honesty of the psalm writer. He is so free in his praise and in his lament. He lifts his voice to honor you and to complain. He holds nothing back. And in the end, even when his prayer has yet to be answered, he offers praise to you.

Help me, I pray, to exercise this sort of honest exuberance in my relationship with you. May I open my heart and my lips to praise you with abandon. And may I have confidence to tell you what is burning in my heart, even when it questions your faithfulness.

Like the psalmist, I wonder why you let things in this world be so wrong. I wonder why you tolerate so much suffering, so much injustice. I cry out to you to send your kingdom. I look forward to the day when Jesus, the Son of David, will reign over all the earth. In my waiting, I offer you all that I am, including my praise.

“Praise the LORD forever! Amen and amen!”


Advent Church

It’s not a secret: sometimes it’s hard to find Jesus in church. Some of us have gotten used to the routine and the way things unfold in our weekly church services, and we just can’t seem to move beyond going through the motions. Others of us have been disappointed or we’ve become disenchanted, and we’ve decided to look for Jesus outside the church building. Others have gotten bored with the whole thing, and no longer expect to find Jesus in either the church or the Church. And then, there are those of us who find great comfort and deep meaning in both the church building and the Church of God.

Jesus built the church on Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of Living God. Jesus pronounced that not even the gates of hell would prevail against it. Christ’s grace is at work in the church. And in the Church. In Advent Church, let’s celebrate the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and let the Church say, “Amen.”

Featured image by Cindee Snider Re. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.