From making promises to becoming a promise


Epiphany- Day 43

Isaiah 42:1-9 NIV

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations.

He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

He will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his law the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the LORD says—
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,

To open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.

See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”


In former times, God entered into covenants with his people. They were his promise of provision and protection and peace and they were ratified or sealed by a blood sacrifice. Here the prophet points to the future, speaking of one who will himself become the covenant. The promise is a person. He will open blind eyes and lead prisoners out of the dungeon of darkness. In Jesus Christ, God has himself come to us as the literal embodiment of a new covenant. It gets even more astonishing. By the power of the Holy Spirit, who is the supernatural presence of the Holy Love of Jesus Christ, God the Father makes his people to be the embodiment of his covenant in the world. In this way the followers of Jesus become the promise of God for the world.

We mostly think of a promise as something we make and try to keep. But have you ever thought of your life itself as a promise? What if a promise is not so much a transaction as it is a transformed life? Consider that.

-jd walt


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed’s Sower-in-Chief.