PAST MERCIES, FUTURE HOPE
Lord, Your faithfulness is beyond human expression.
Read 1 CHRONICLES 17:16–27
16 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:
“Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 17 And as if this were not enough in your sight, my God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You, Lord God, have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men.
18 “What more can David say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant, 19 Lord. For the sake of your servant and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made known all these great promises.
20 “There is no one like you, Lord, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 21 And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for himself, and to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? 22 You made your people Israel your very own forever, and you, Lord, have become their God.
23 “And now, Lord, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as you promised, 24 so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty, the God over Israel, is Israel’s God!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you.
25 “You, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. So your servant has found courage to pray to you. 26 You, Lord, are God! You have promised these good things to your servant. 27 Now you have been pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Lord, have blessed it, and it will be blessed forever.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
When we remember how God faithfully saw us through challenges and trials in the past, it encourages us to entrust our lives to his loving care for the future.
John Newton, ex-slave-trader turned Anglican priest, often wrote hymns to accompany his sermons. He and fellow hymn-writer William Cowper published a three-volume hymnal in 1779 titled The Olney Hymns. Their hymns were arranged according to the biblical text that had inspired them. Volume One includes a hymn called “Faith’s Review and Expectation,” written to accompany the sermon Newton preached on New Year’s Day, 1773. The sermon and hymn were based on verses 16 and 17 of today’s reading, where King David manifests his amazement at all that God has done for him and will continue to do.
Newton encouraged his listeners to follow David’s example and consider God’s “past mercies and future hopes” in “the frame of mind which becomes us when we contemplate what the Lord has done for us.” We know that hymn by another name: “Amazing Grace.” It has become a time-honored favorite with Christians all over the world. It even affected the destiny of a nation, after appearing in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published in 1852. Sung by the book’s black slave hero, Tom, its words express ultimate hope in God in the midst of deepest suffering and injustice. The book laid bare the wickedness of slavery and cried out for its demise in the USA.
When we as Christians are facing trials, it does our hearts good to review how God rescued us from sin through faith in Christ. He is the Son of David, through whom God’s promise in today’s passage to establish David’s house for ever was to be fulfilled. How encouraging it is to remember times when God delivered us “through many dangers, toils and snares,” as Newton’s hymn puts it.
Have you ever tried “Bible journaling,” i.e., reading Scripture, pen in hand, noting how it speaks to you each day? Why not give it a go!
Lord, establish Your word with us as You did with Your people Israel that Your name may be magnified among us as it was in Israel.
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