We are loved by a God who always keeps his promises. The Old Testament is rich with promises concerning our coming Messiah, and from the opening lines of Matthew, we begin to see those promises perfectly fulfilled, starting with the most intimate details of Jesus’ birth. Back in 2019, we invited you and your teenagers to join us for a 16-day Christmas devotional series centering around Messianic prophecies. This year we will round out that series with eight more posts, so you’ll have one for every day of the Christmas season.
We pray your heart will be encouraged and your faith strengthened as you and your teenagers meditate together on the game-changing truth that our God says what he means and means what he says. O Come Let Us Adore Him!
“In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this. Amos 9:11-12
I can’t stand cheesy movies, but if I’m honest, I also kind of love them. You know the ones—within the first 30 minutes, you can already guess exactly how it will end. Yes, those movies; the type of movie that just so happens to reign during the holiday season.
I want the drama of real life; I want to feel the rollercoaster of emotions—from the sorrow of disappointment to the excitement of love and even to the pain of heartbreak.
But occasionally, I want to throw on my “holiday movie watching” sweatshirt, make a hot cup of cocoa, snuggle up in a cozy blanket and watch a movie where love clearly wins and justice is ultimately served—all in the most predictable way.
While you may love a good drama-filled movie like I do, if we were honest, most of us also secretly long for the predictability of a cheesy movie now and then. While we may not like to admit it, we find deep comfort in watching a movie in which we know without a doubt that good will prevail and all will be made right. It is the promise of predictability that disarms us and offers hope no matter the plot.
And it is God who has created in us this longing for certainty. He gave us hearts that crave assurance, knowing that he alone is the one who can meet that desire. God’s promises are not merely hopeful, they are predictable.
Today’s Scripture drops us into the story of God’s people in the middle of great uncertainty. The prophet Amos has traveled back to the “hometown” of his people—to Israel, to a city called Bethel. The name Bethel literally means the “house of God.” In fact, it is here that, long before, God had made a promise to the father of Israel’s people, Jacob. God promised to be with Jacob, to give him this very land, to increase his family, and to bless the nations through his family—the very same promise God had given Jacob’s grandfather, Abram (Gen. 12). Only now, God was both reminding Jacob of the promise and planting the promise in the very land in which would one day grow. And it was because of this promise that Jacob first named this city Bethel (Gen. 28:10-22).
When Amos writes hundreds of years later, Jacob’s family is, in fact, at home in the land. Yet, they seem to have forgotten their God. They have built a temple in the city, but have filled it with the worship of idols. They have turned from seeking justice toward pursuing evil. Because of this, in the same place God spoke hope to Jacob, he now speaks despair to his descendants. Through Amos, God tells Israel that disaster will come upon them and all they have built will be ruined. This is the part of the story where hope seems lost.
Cue the promise.
In Amos 9:11-12, God promises resurrection on the other side of this ruin. While Israel’s magnificent temple will come to rubble, God will raise the humble and lowly tent of David. God will rebuild what he promised to Jacob. He will raise up the ruins of his people. He will resurrect what has fallen. This promise of resurrection was certain, yet it comes in the most unpredictable way.
After several hundreds of years of ruin, a son is born to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David, a descendant of Jacob. Yet, this child is more than the Son of Man; he is the only begotten son of God himself. Through this baby, God kept his promise to Jacob. This child is the very offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—who would finally, and fully, bring blessing to all the nations.
Jesus, the Son of Man and Son of God, not only bore the weight of what sin had ruined, but by his resurrection, he raised all who had fallen.
In Jesus, God rebuilds his house at last; he irrevocably raises the tent of David. Only, this time, it was not a house made of brick and stone, but it was a family, a people, from every nation, tribe, or tongue. And to all who come to Jesus by faith, God has given the same blessing as Jacob — “I am with you and will keep you wherever you go … for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Gen. 28:15).
This is the comfort of certainty we have in our God. While we will experience moments of ruin, we do not have to despair. We know the ending of the story, and it is sure. For all who are in Christ, what was once ruined will be eternally raised.
Questions for Reflection
What do you think can be so comforting about predictability?
Is it ever hard for you to trust that God’s promises are certain?
God fulfilled his promise in Amos 9:11 in an unpredictable way. What might that tell us about how God works?
How does knowing our home is with Jesus give you comfort?
God, thank you for building us a certain and eternal home in your son, Jesus. Make us a people of hope as we take comfort in your promises. By your Holy Spirit, give us eyes to see what you have rebuilt, and are rebuilding, in our own lives. Help us to faithfully labor alongside you as we seek to be a blessing to those around us. Amen.
Click here for a downloadable pdf to share with your teenagers.
Click here for the entire series as it is posted.