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Posted: June 22, 2017 3:18 p.m.
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Chaplain's Corner

Shavuot - Claiming Your Promise

Webster’s dictionary defines promise as “a legally binding declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act.”

Direct observation of this “legally binding declaration” is found in the energetic and tenacious heart of a child.  One afternoon my little girl asked for some ice cream, and being late in the afternoon and approaching dinner, I denied her request.  Seeking to sway my decision she persisted.  In annoyance I dismissed her with a simple phrase:   “No, we are eating soon but I promise after dinner we can have some ice cream.”

As the afternoon and evening unfolded with various activities, the opportunity for the promised ice cream faded.  As we began getting ready for bed, the child in her wisdom approached:  “Daddy, can we have some ice-cream now?”  Citing the lateness of the evening, I again denied her request, but she knew the power of promise.  “But daddy,” she said, “you promised.”  Bedtime ice cream came for all. 

As June begins and summer draws nearer, Jewish service members along with Jews all over the world celebrate an ancient feast as old as the Exodus:  the feast “Shavuot.”  It is also called “the feast of weeks,” and within Christian circles it’s known as “Pentecost.”  It is the feast that marks the giving of the covenant [law, Torah] to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, and also the giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts. 

Shavuot marks the culmination of redemption and God’s fulfilment of the promise that He would deliver his people from the bondage of slavery.  It is a consistent annual reminder that even in the midst of absolute impossibility and insurmountable odds, God is faithful to His word and will indeed deliver on His promises.  As such, we are able to lay claim to those promises by faith that the One who promised is indeed faithful. 

When it came to late night ice cream, my little girl was well aware she could not have such a sugar filled dairy treat so late simply on her own desires or even her own word.  She also knew, however, that her loving father, who had shown himself faithful many times before, would hold true to his promise even in the midst of seeming impossibility.

Knowing her legal right to “expect or claim the performance of a specified act,” she laid claim to the promise:  “Daddy, you said!” 

There are many promises that have been made, given, and laid out for humanity by the divine hand.   Whether they be physical, spiritual, emotional, or the like, they are promises made for us by the One who is incapable of failure.  The ancient Israeli text of the Torah records that God “keeps His covenant [promises]…to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9). 

Be encouraged friends, the same tenacity and faith demonstrated and exercised both in the budding nation of ancient Israel and in the heart of a child can be demonstrated and exercised by us all. 

When God makes a promise, He – by the very nature of promise – gives us the spiritual legal right to expect and claim the performance of that specified act.  It begs the question “What are you lacking in your life that God has promised you should not lack?”  Whatever it may be, however great the impossibility, however bizarre the need, take courage to approach the divine as a little child - “Daddy, you said!”  

If He promised you healing, lay claim to your healing.  If He promised you peace, lay claim to your peace.  If He promised you hope or joy or any other thing, lay claim to your promise. Remind the Father:  “Daddy, you said…”, “Heavenly Father, You said…”  Then watch as His promises unfold in your life.

Let me close with a thought taken from words within 2 Corinthians 1:20 "– May all His promises for you and yours be released, unfolded, and manifested in your life in accordance with His word, for all His promises are yes and Amen.”

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