Light displays and Christmas trees in Hobby Lobby no longer indicate Christmas is at hand. The only reliable sign that Christmas is near is a spike in the catalog-to-bill ratio of my mail. By mid-November catalogs from knife-makers, clothiers, garden suppliers, toy companies, charities providing livestock in the third world, leather-crafters, Amish tradesmen, and purveyors of fine novelties are all vying for a place on my wish list.
As a boy, only one catalog ever came in the mail. And it was the only one that mattered. Larger than a phone book, the Sears and Roebuck Catalog opened up whole new worlds of Christmas possibility and gave substance to my letters to Santa. My parents were well aware of the power of the Sears and Roebuck Catalog and were careful to restrict our access to it.
While aware of its dangers, my parents also understood the catalog’s power to guide expectations. They recognized that, as children, our joy came more from exceeded expectations than receiving a useful gift. Before the catalog arrived, they would talk up the ideas of what they planned to give. Then when it arrived, they used the catalog to reinforce their ideas either by confirmation or contrast.
To our delight, Christmas always brought exactly what we hoped for. No matter what was in our stocking or under the tree it was exactly what we wanted. Our parents knew what was best for us, but wanted us to rejoice in receiving it. Our heavenly Father is like this. He wants us to rejoice in receiving His gifts. The history of redemption is the epic story of God giving His greatest gift to beloved children, but not before teaching us to expect and long for what He desires to give. From Genesis to Revelation, He trains our expectations and creates desire for the Savior He offers.
In the Old Testament, God does this through various covenants. His covenants with Adam, Noah, Moses, and David, differ in emphasis and immediate application, but all point to the same thing – salvation and eternal life through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Each of these Old Testament covenants is simply a renewal and expression of the one Covenant of Grace. In each of these covenants, God meets some pressing need and blesses his people. But more importantly He offers a reminder not to hope in Adam, or Noah, or Moses or David, but in the Coming One, the Messiah.
In the same way, the New Testament examines the person and work of Christ by looking back at how he fulfilled the Old Testament covenants. We see that Jesus is exactly the Savior God promised. And in understanding that ‘the Coming One’ is the One who came, we learn to desire his coming again. Men are always tempted to look for a savior who conforms to their own desires and expectations. And so, through Old Testament covenants and New Testament fulfillments, God teaches us who to expect and what to desire so we will rejoice in receiving Him.
What type of Savior are you looking for? Someone to save you from your circumstances? Or your feelings? Or you past? Or you fear of the future? Or one who is much more – an everlasting and eternal Prophet, Priest, and King. The author of Hebrews makes a remarkable statement in Hebrews 7:24-25.
[H]e holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.Hebrews 7:24-25
Jesus lives forever. Only he is able to save us ‘to the uttermost.’ Beyond what you imagine you want or know that you need. God reveals the Savior He freely offers us through Old Testament promises and New Testament fulfillments. Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine 2 Samuel 7:1-14 and consider Jesus as our Everlasting King.