Day 6 – Friday, December 8, 2023

LORD, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin.

Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the LORD will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.
Psalm 85:1–2, 8–13

I do not keep my promises. My faults are many, but perhaps the most frustrating of them all is this — that, even when I try, my word is inconstant. I’ve broken promises to so many different people: to my students, to return their exams by Friday; to my husband, to pick up a tomato from the grocery store for the chili; to myself, to be the wife, daughter, professor, person I want to be. With each broken promise comes renewed resolve to keep the next one, and the sneaking, correct suspicion that I will always, at some point in the future, return to my inconstant ways. I am human, and humans break their promises.

How fortunate we are, then, that God does not. Psalm 85:10 tells us that his love for us is married to a permanent faithfulness to his promises. His love is not our love, which even in its most constant human forms forgets to be faithful to its word (ask Jake about the chili). His promises are not the stuff of exams and tomatoes; they are promises of peace, protection and, ultimately, salvation. “We are assured” is a term oft used in Christian services and circles, and it is easy to forget that when we say these things, we speak with authority on God’s plan for his creation. Friends, consider this: God, in this moment, on this day, holds tight to the promises he has made to his people. He has not forgotten; he will not forget. The end is known, and it is this: “Yes, the LORD will give what is good.”

Dr. Kirstin Birkhaug is an assistant professor of political science at Hope College.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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