7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. 8 “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
“Promises, promises,” some people say. Sometimes they say this because they’re trying to be funny, and sometimes, I’m sure, these words are recounted from history. Promises made but not kept can leave lasting memories for us. Even those things we promise that are so simple, that we don’t keep, mark time for some. But God isn’t that way. His promises are true and unfailing. Even when we feel starkly visible and unaccompanied, his promises ring true.
Jesus is making promises to the church at Philadelphia. Take a moment, before continuing, and find them, as many as you can, perhaps even writing them down.
Those true promises are yours, too. There is a door propped open by God, impervious to anyone closing it. Those that make your life difficult will, through lies or other means, see, in the end, that God loved you. Your patient endurance in Christ will bring the presence of Jesus during hard times. The Philadelphians received promises because of their powerless stand for Jesus, and their heavenly reward is everlasting. While Jesus spoke these words to the Christians of Philadelphia, they’re written so you can realize these promises, too. But, these aren’t the only promises made to you by the triune God.
Some say, for a variety of reasons, Isaiah is hard to read. But I’ve come to sincerely cherish its words. Before Isaiah proclaims God’s words, the people of Israel had been wandering from God for a long time, worshiping crafts of their own making, and slipping into the motions of worship, but without heart-felt conviction. But, despite all the judgments God was outlining for the Israelites, his words were laced repeatedly with wonderful, and for me, tearful, promises. If you want to (re)discover the beautiful, awe-full promises of God, read these few referenced here, using the Bible version of your choice.
Isaiah 41:13 – Personal Favorite
Certainly, God is speaking these promises to the nation of Israel, but that same God loves you just as much.
There are several promises outlined here. Some you may have already known about, and some, perhaps, are new. Take them to heart! Memorize a couple, or all of them. They are spoken to you for a reason – you are loved, known, and cherished. The magnitude of love demonstrated by Jesus in his death, God in sending Jesus to earth, and the heart-healing balm of the Holy Spirit eclipses that of anyone in your past who has done you right or wrong. Hold these things in your heart.
By Rich Obrecht