Since all of us are finite humans, we can never say we’ve always kept our word. I’ve failed many times to keep a promise because I simply forgot. I have committed to pray, to pass on a message, or to help with a project, and I had good intentions, but I failed. It’s embarrassing to admit that we’ve let down a friend or family member. We learn in God’s Word that God is very different from us: He always keeps His promises.
Luke 1:37, which is part of the Christmas story, is a very powerful verse. As a child hearing the King James Version of the Bible, I learned “For nothing is impossible with God.” One of the more modern translations says, “For no word from God will ever fail” (NIV). All we need to do is to look at the historical record to prove that this is true concerning the birth of Christ.
The account begins in Genesis 49 with Jacob blessing his sons. Verse 10 says, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs.” Matthew 1 traces the lineage of Jesus from Abraham to Jacob and then to Judah, Jacob’s fourth son.
About 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophecied, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.” Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:26-37 tell us that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived.
Jeremiah prophecied that the Messiah would come from the line of David. “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land” (Jeremiah 23:5). Once again we look to Matthew 1 and realize that Jesus’ lineage is traced through David.
Micah, a contemporary of Isaiah, says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times” (Micah 5:2). Because of Caesar Augustus’ taxation decree, Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem, Joseph’s hometown, to comply with the law. Jesus was born while they were there. Even the chief priests and teachers of the Old Testament Law recognized that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:3-6). The Wise Men traveled there and found the Christ Child.
Scholars have calculated that God’s Word has between 3,000 and 6,000 promises. Some of those apply to us as widows. I especially like Isaiah 54:4-5: “Do not be afraid, you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is his name.” Many times I’ve said, Lord, You are my husband and I need You to take care of this. His answers may not come as quickly as I think they should, but HE is a good husband to me, listening when I cry for help or wisdom and caring for my needs.
If God gave specific promises for the birth of Christ and then fulfilled them, certainly we can count on Him to fulfill His promises to us as widows.