"I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob,
I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.
I will put them together like sheep in the fold;
Like a flock in the midst of its pasture
They will be noisy with men.
The breaker goes up before them;
They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it.
So their king goes on before them,
And the LORD at their head."
Micah 2:12-13 (NASB)
Hymn: "Thank You, Jesus" Ruth G. Hallett, John C. Hallett
I had a teacher who regularly stated that "believers always exist in a state between promise and fulfillment." It was a very concise summary and I often find use for it as something of a quick guide. It is easy for us to think about this in terms of ancient Israel awaiting their Messiah, but how often do we consider this our position when God's promises seem far away? When things are difficult, or the way unclear, or God's presence feels distant, is it our default to fall back on His promises and look forward to the fulfillment?
Peter offered the following instructions to the churches in modern central Turkey about living in the world day by day.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober [in spirit,] fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts [which were yours] in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all [your] behavior; because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."
1 Peter 1:13-16 (NASB)
But what is the heart of this? By what means are the people encouraged to fix their eyes on God?
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay [on earth;] knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, [the blood] of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
1 Peter 1:17-21 (NASB)
He takes them back to the promises of God and reminds them of those promises which have already been fulfilled. God is faithful to do as He says. We can live in thankfulness for that which He has done already, and in hope look forward to that which He promises yet to do.
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, where I'm writing. We set this day aside to offer thanks for all that we have, but Christmas is always in the corner of our vision. The most famous Thanksgiving parade ends with Santa's arrival, people will leave dinner to go straight out to wait or work for Black Friday, Thanksgiving has essentially become little more than a precursor to a very commercialized Christmas. But we can celebrate the day in a healthy way, and learn to live our lives as believers, if we will see our waiting in the nature of Thanksgiving: aware of the coming Christ and fulfillment of our hopes, and focusing now on the greatness of what God has done. We must learn to be thankful for today and eager for that coming day, and there are few days better to ponder this need than today.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation