I live in a small rural community where people often burn brush, trash, and other debris that they do not want to take the time to dispose of. It is common in the summer and fall to drive past houses where dark clouds of smoke are billowing from the back...
Read God’s promise, given to David, that belongs to us through the Lord Jesus Christ:
He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever… And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. (2 Samuel 7: 13, 16)
I want to identify three places in your life when God’s promise will be especially valuable to you.
Lean on God’s promise when you don’t get to do what you wanted to do.
That was David’s situation. He wanted to build the temple and he didn’t get to do it. I am struck by how many Christians speak about a door that has closed on something good they wanted to do. Here we have what God says when you don’t get to do what you wanted to do: “You wanted to build a house for me. I will build a house for you.”
Solomon got to build the temple, and it stood in in all its magnificence for about 400 years and then it was destroyed. Since then David and Solomon have been in the presence of Jesus for centuries. How much do you think it matters to David, in the presence of Jesus, that Solomon got to build the temple and not him? Any tears that David shed over that are long since wiped from his eyes.
The answer to the bucket list of all the things you were not able to do in this life is this: you have an eternal future with Christ in glory. However hard the calling you face, God says to you in the light of the resurrection: “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
Lean on God’s promise when you mess up what you might have done.
There are times in life when our own sin, or our own foolishness, closes a door that otherwise might have been open. If that is your position, you might find yourself saying from agony of heart, “If God had closed the door I could live with it, but what I hate myself for is that it was my own foolishness, my own sin, my own rebellion, that changed the path of my life and shut off opportunities that might otherwise have been open for me. My life would have been so different, if I hadn’t been such a fool!”
If that is your position, I want you to hear this promise. God says to you in Jesus Christ when you rebel: “I’m going to do whatever it takes to get you back, and my steadfast love will not depart from you.” Your life may follow a different path as a result of what you have done, but God never abandons his own children.
Think of David in the presence of the Lord. Later in his life, David messed up big time. He could only cast himself on the grace and mercy of God, and plead, “Lord, don’t cast me from your presence and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Please don’t abandon me. Please don’t take your steadfast love away from me.”
What matters to David now, is not what he did or did not get to do in this life. What matters now and forever is that God did not take his steadfast love from David. And, in Christ, God will never take his steadfast love from you.
Lean on God’s promise when you no longer know the joy you once did.
This application came from meditating on the word forever. This is not always an attractive word in this world. Our life in this world is like a bell curve that begins with rising opportunities and ends with declining strength. Visit a care home where an older person sits with limited activity. Things that once were easy are now much harder to do. Time passes slowly, and a day can seem like forever.
When the joys of life have diminished for you, remember the forever that lies ahead of you. It is beautifully described in the book of Revelation: “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17). Brother, sister in Christ, you will never tire of the life that God has in store for you. It will never seem long, stale, routine, or dull.
God speaks not of a stagnant pool but of springs of living water! Christ himself will lead us into the joys of this life. You will never want it to end and God says that it never will!
This promise gives us a marvelous glimpse of our hope in Jesus Christ. What good would a promise be if it died with us, or if it was canceled when we sin? What good would a promise be if it expired after a certain period of time?
The Promise that Never Perishes
But God’s promise to us in Jesus Christ is stronger than death, greater than sin, and longer than time itself. When we come to the New Testament, Peter says:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:3-4, NIV).
God’s promise can never perish, spoil, or fade. Therefore, death cannot end it! This promise can never spoil, so sin cannot ruin it! This promise will never fade, so time cannot diminish it! When God closes a door, your faith will be tested. But when God closes a door, his promise remains sure.