Day 17

December 19

Psalm 89:1-4

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations. 2 I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens. 3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to my servant David: 4 ‘I will establish your descendants forever and build your throne for all generations.’ 

God Keeps His Promises

by Toby Barnett

There are many forms of promises and agreements in our world. There are promises we make – and break – to one another: promises to stay in touch between friends, promises to save the last cookie for a child, promises to love a significant other. Agreements fall more within the business world. For 18 years at Baylor, I have worked alongside many incredible alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff who have pledged their support of the University, making a commitment to give of their resources to fund scholarships, create research funds or underwrite missions trips.

There are many forms these promises can take, but none are as sacred as the covenants we make as Christians. Promises can be brittle. As humans, and therefore sinful beings, our promises, agreements and, even, covenants can be broken as we try and fail to keep these commitments modeled on the Divine. None of us has kept every promise. We have all failed. But in our failure, that is where we find joy! Our brokenness points even more to God’s faithfulness and His commitment to us.

The Psalmist rejoices, reminding the reader of God’s covenant with David. Of his unfailing commitment to David that his descendants would be the rightful heirs to his throne. Generations after God’s covenant with David, after invasions had scattered his descendants and Roman rule had made the thought of a King for the Jews impossible, God chose that moment of Jesus’s birth to fulfill his promises, and as it says in Isaiah 11:1, a shoot, springing from the stump of Jesse, bore fruit.

There is so much comfort in witnessing the fulfillment of God’s covenants. We can find such joy in Christmas, as we see God fulfilling His promises, knowing that as He has been faithful to fulfill those covenants, so will He be faithful in fulfilling the New Covenant Jesus spoke of in Luke 22:19-20 and the promise of Jesus’s death and resurrection as redemption for our sins. We cannot help but rejoice as we observe Christmas, knowing that we worship a God who keeps His promises!

May your joy be complete in Him. May this exercise of observing Advent fill you with joy as you reflect on God’s promises which have been fulfilled and which point to our own personal covenant with Jesus. Thank you, God, that you are a God who keeps Your promises.

About the Author

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

Toby Barnett

Toby Barnett has served at Baylor University since 2006 and has held a variety of leadership positions supporting the philanthropic enterprise of the University. In addition to serving as interim vice president for advancement, he holds the title of associate vice president for advancement and director of the Give Light campaign, which has successfully generated more than $1.45 billion in philanthropic support for the University. Barnett also provides leadership and guidance for alumni engagement efforts at Baylor.

Barnett is a 1994 graduate of Baylor, where he earned a BA in sociology and was a member of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce. He began his professional career with significant roles at the American Cancer Society, the Baptist General Convention of Missouri and the University of Missouri, where he supported the provost in generating philanthropic resources for the For All We Call Mizzou Campaign. He and his wife, Trista (BSEd ’93), have three children: Brooks (BBA ’23) and current Baylor students Chloe and Owen. They are members of Harris Creek Baptist Church.