I had the pleasure of speaking at a Women’s Gift Exchange at our church last weekend, and I thought I’d post my notes as it’s something that I’m still learning and would love to share. I spoke on the following verse from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
So let’s start where the verse starts with the Key of David. Do you know that feeling? That pit in your stomach feeling that you might have lost your keys, or that you might have left the house without them, or, in my case, that they were stolen with my bag this summer? (Along with my clothes, leaving me in a swimsuit and a towel to go down to the police station to make my report. You can ask me more about that later.) It doesn’t really matter the situation – if you don’t have your keys and are wanting to get into your apartment, panic, or frustration, at the least, usually sets in. Why? Because keys are what make it possible to get into your home, and without them, you’re locked out.
There are a few verses of scripture which explain this phrase about the key of David. One is a prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 22:22:
“And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”
And then again in Revelation 3:7:
“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.'”
So obviously Jesus holds this Key of David. And what does a key do? Well, it locks and unlocks things. It also signifies having control or authority over the thing which it locks or unlocks. In this case, the first verse is explaining that Jesus would have control over David’s domain, the kingdom of Israel. Even more so, he is the fulfillment of God’s covenant with David, which was God’s promise that the Messiah would come through the line of David and establish a forever kingdom, which Jesus has done for us in Heaven.
So he’s opened wide this heavenly home for us. Basically, he is our only way into Heaven. He has the key. And he’s invited us in! So let’s think of it like this. This illustration will pale in comparison to Heaven, but just track with me any way to get the idea. 520 Park Avenue. Does that address mean anything to you? Probably not, but after a quick google search, I found out that this will soon be the address for the most expensive apartment in NY. From the pictures, it will be gorgeous. It’s planned to be a 3-story, 12,000 square foot penthouse mansion with all the amenities. It’s worth 130 million dollars. It’s something the likes of which I will probably never see.
So let’s imagine that I wanted to visit this apartment, just wanted to take a look. I waltz right in to 520 Park Avenue only to be stopped by a very stern-looking, unamused doorman who is 100% not going to let me go up to the penthouse no matter what I do or how much I plead. (And I will be quite a sight just trying to get in.) BUT. Imagine that I stroll up to 520 Park Avenue with whoever buys it- insert billionaire’s name here. This time the doorman won’t try to stop me. He will let me in. I am no longer a crazy stranger but a welcomed guest because I am with the person who has the key. (And as a side bar – imagine how doubly crazy I would seem if, while with said billionaire, I still continued to plead my case of why I deserved to go up to the penthouse. Obviously, I am already with the person who holds the authority over that home. The doorman would definitely think I was nuts if I tried to tell him all the good things I had done and why I deserved to go up to that apartment. But sometimes, aren’t we like this with God? We know that Jesus is our only hope of getting into Heaven and that he holds the key, but we still try to flaunt our good works before God, as if we could have earned our way in?)
So this is the great news of the Gospel. As we peek in to this heavenly home, there’s nothing that we could do to get us in. There’s no amount of pleading or good works that would convince God that we belong there. But praise God – we have Jesus. It’s like he’s with us saying, “It’s ok. She’s with me,” and we get to waltz right in because of Jesus. Because HE holds the key, and he’s welcoming us in. And we get to enjoy this kingdom forever. We are actually more than guests there; we are residents because we are co-heirs with Christ. He has made safe the way that leads on high. And he’s closed the path that leads to misery.
Yes, without Jesus, life would be full of misery. Because of our sin, we would still be separated from God and on a path towards more misery as we moved closer and closer to an eternity without him. But instead, if we believe in Jesus and what his work on the cross has done for us, we are on our way into a forever home that is infinitely more lovely than any NY penthouse mansion. And more importantly, our souls will be at rest there. As John Stark mentioned in his first advent sermon a few weeks back, there are things in our current environment, here on earth, that are hostile to our existence. We cannot ever fully rest here because sin entered this world, and it’s broken, and therefore, we will always have burdens here. We will never be fully satisfied here. C.S. Lewis once said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
So here’s where my application comes in. Are we trying to be fully satisfied here? Are we striving to feel at home here? To feel at perfect peace here in this world? Because our efforts will be in vain, and we will be striving to build something that won’t last. The little kingdoms we build here will not last. So are we working more to further God’s kingdom, the one to which Jesus holds the key? Or are we trying to build up our own earthly kingdoms?
Sometimes I like to read from the “Jesus Calling” devotional, and the reading for Thursday said this: “Remember that you have an eternity of trouble-free living awaiting you in heaven” so I took that to mean, “stop trying to make a trouble-free life your goal now.” Don’t try to create your home in a place that is not actually your home. Remember how the Bible reminds us many times that we are sojourners, or temporary residents, of this world.
So think about it like this: I have what I consider a comfy, cozy apartment in 3B of my building on 127th Street. (It’s no 520 Park Avenue, but it’s home to me.) How silly would it be if I tried my hardest to recreate and build a new home on my stoop? It would be ridiculous for me to try to set up a bed, a table, and everything else it requires to make a home on the wrong side of my door. My home is not actually on my stoop.
So for me, this begs the question, why do I often seek my comfort here on this earth above seeking God himself and serving him? We can stop striving to build and maintain a comfortable kingdom here. Rather than always seeking better circumstances, we should seek to know more of the one who controls all of our circumstances. My encouragement is to spend time in his presence and get to know him and his character and then we will be able to more fully accept our circumstances here, while longing to be with him in heaven, in our perfect home. And the door to that perfect home is opened through our Savior, Jesus.
So all of this reminds me of a psalm that has become one of my favorites lately, so I’d love to end by praying it over us, found in Psalm 16:
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.[b]
4 The sorrows of those who run after[c] another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.[d]
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.