What Promise?

Psalm 146, Mark 13:14–27, Mark 13:32–33, Hebrews 11:13–22 (read online ⧉)

The New Year is no longer new. By now many New Year’s Resolutions are broken. People have already surrendered to their loss. Often people telegraph or expect their loss, and behave as if they have already lost. By God’s grace, many of those who went before, especially those that are revered in some aspect, didn’t behave the same way.

The Founding Fathers (of the United States) were human beings. They were marred by sin and imperfection…just like us. The system they developed, a hybrid of multiple governmental ways of thinking, was an experiment. The Founding Fathers had many fears about this system they created. Oddly enough, on both sides of the political spectrum is a growing belief that it has failed. That it failed (or hasn’t yet, or won’t, or…) is not the question or issue, nor has it ever been. The amazing thing is that it was tried at all. That a bunch of (granted) well-educated “aristocratic” men were able to motivate others not as fortunate to take on the ruling empire of the world (at that time) is amazing. It actually means, a cynical point of view, means that nothing has changed. Still to take on the British Empire was insane. These same men feared that democracy would fail, no matter what fail-safes they put into the system. They did anyway. Were they going against the flow? Would failure be catastrophic? Yes to both. Again, they did it anyway.

When the U.S. system was designed it really had no trust in princes nor did it really have trust in people. It’s odd, wouldn’t you say, to put the fate of your legacy in the hands of people you don’t really trust? Much of the angst of the current “feeling”* really boils down to putting our faith and trust in princes (and people) who haven’t really earned it. The ones that earned it are the ones we know, not usually someone on a website or a TV screen (though in this day and age that may no longer be so).

While it is wise to not trust humankind without some serious testing and discernment, people still do it. We have to. We cannot survive being paranoid. However, during his prophetic statements, Jesus still advises people that there will be false messiahs and false prophets. Jesus advises that the end will come with God the Father decides, and that is not for anyone else to know. Despite these words, men and women for ages have declared “special” knowledge of the end. People then feel betrayed when the end doesn’t come.

Those that know the end date, or those who will give us power or stuff or safety, we put a lot of trust in them. Then we become upset because they failed us. When it comes to politicians and leaders we really treat them like New Year’s Resolutions…something will go wrong. We have no real hope in them, yet we still feel disappointed. Yet, we should actually be relieved when they disappoint us. Whew! They’re human just like us. That is the point of the author of Hebrews, God is not human like us. God is far more. God is faithful. God fulfills his promises.

1) What promise(s) of God do you hold onto?

2) What promises of people do you hold onto?

3) Why do you think we hold onto people’s promises, yet often turn away from God’s promises?

Action: As you read the Scriptures this week, write down the verses that seem to be promises.