Years ago I was at the store with my four year old daughter. At that time we were in the final stages of going overseas as missionaries. In the store we went by the pet section and she asked me, “Daddy, can I have a bird?” Well, I hated to say no to my sweet little girl so I said this instead. “You know, Princess, that we are moving far away and we can’t take that pretty bird with us.” She looked downcast for less than a second. “But what if we didn’t move, Daddy?” I replied, “Well, then, Princess, you can have a bird.” That was a promise from a father to his child.
With just two months to go before departure my beloved wife suddenly became very ill. She was sicker than she had ever been and there was no apparent cause. As we had no insurance we did not rush to the doctor but we finally had to. We were going to have another baby – surprise! Several of the shots required for the country where we were going were potentially fatal to the baby, and so our plans abruptly changed. (By the way, that baby is now a pastor.)
Now there was a little matter of a promise of a father to his child. She was only four and she might have forgotten, but I hadn’t. Sometimes promises take a while to be fulfilled. Two thousand years before Christ’s birth God had made a promise to Abraham. During those two thousand years many had forgotten about the promise or assumed that God meant something allegorical instead of literal. But God had not forgotten His promise. Jesus was born, Paul said, in the fullness of time. There was neither a delay nor a rush for the promise to be fulfilled. God had it under control and Jesus was born when and where He should have been according to all the promises made to all the prophets during all of those thousands of years. (By the way, she got the parakeet.)
During Advent we remember that the promises of God are sure.
Great promise from the Sovereign God, to Abraham He gave
The “Blessed Seed” from out your loins, I’ll send for all to save
To Isaac and to Jacob, too, the certain word was shared
And prophets down through centuries reminded all God cared
But hearts grew cold and worldly ways had near erased the dream
But God His promises did keep and Abram’s Seed was seen