Advent Devotions (Week 1): Faith and Expectancy

Text: Psalm 52:1-9, Isaiah 52:7-10

“I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.” —Psalm 52-9

It was Christmas Eve, 1981. I was restless with the excitement of what I might find wrapped under the Christmas tree in the morning. The popular NFL Electric Football game had been on my Christmas wish list since, like spring. I had been holding out hope for many months, anticipating getting my hands on those little plastic football players and setting them up on the metal vibrating gridiron. I couldn’t sleep as that expectancy was already vibrating in my little 10-year old imagination.

We live in a time of the instant fix. Whether it’s instant downloads, immediate text responses, or that microwaved dinner on demand, we’ve grown addicted to getting what we want—or need—at the moment we desire it. Yet God has His ways of reminding us that He won’t be manipulated to suit our demands. No matter how addicted to instant fixes we get, there are still things that we must learn to wait for in patience and hope for in faith.

Waiting is the embodiment of faith—a faith that must learn to trust God’s character, His intentions, and His timing.

Hebrews 11:13 tells us that faith involves trusting God’s promises even if they are fulfilled long after we’re gone. The writer says, “These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance…”

Advent is about faith in God’s divine goodness, expectancy in His redemptive plan, and patience in waiting for His promises to unfold in His timing. The 400 years leading up to the birth of Jesus have been referred to as the “Silent Years,” because it appears that it was a span when God revealed nothing new to His people. Then suddenly the Messiah was born! The story of Christ’s birth gives us assurance and joy because even though the waiting lingered for decades, God broke through at just the right time.

Consider your relationship with God in this moment. Are you struggling in a season of silence?

Psalm 52 is written during such a season. It is set to the backdrop of David’s flight from Saul (1 Samuel 21:1–7), which led to the slaughter at Nob of the priests who had helped David (1 Samuel 22:9–19). The situation looks dauntingly bleak. But David looks beyond his dire circumstances to the unswerving character of God. His faith imbues confidence that God will “uproot” the wicked and establish the faithful, whom he describes as a “green olive tree” (an image of vitality and fruitfulness, cf. Jeremiah 11:16; Hosea 14:6; cf. Psalm 92:12–14 for a palm tree in God’s courts). He concludes that the faithful trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever (52:8). The prospect that God will vindicate His name by protecting those who trust in Him enables David to wait in hope.

Friend, no matter how silent the season or bleak the circumstances may be—health complications, unemployment, financial hardship, loss of purpose, broken relationships, the sting of betrayal—God has never changed and He will show up. His character can be trusted. His intentions can be trusted. His timing can be trusted. He will establish the faithful and He will vindicate His own name in the story of your life. Trust Him!

As believers, we live with the anticipation that God will flex His strength in every situation, and that “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:10). Break forth in singing… for the Lord has comforted His people!


God, I can get impatient with life. I can get snippy about having to wait. Teach me the virtue of waiting with patience. Show me how to trust You even in seasons of silence. Remind me that everything is temporary, including my momentary afflictions. Help me to trust in Your eternal redemption of all things, and to be assured that Your timing is always perfect. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Questions for Reflection, Small Group or Family Discussion:

  1. When have you had to wait for something you eagerly anticipated?
  2. Why do you think waiting can be a vital component of our faith?
  3. What expectations do you have of life after death? How does a person’s beliefs about life after death impact the way he or she chooses to live?
  4. What vow did David make to the Lord in the conclusion of the psalm? (Psalm 52:9)
  5. What kind of faith resolve to you need to make right now?

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