Have you ever thought about this before?
Expectations and promises aren't necessarily one and the same.
I'll type that again.
EXPECTATIONS and PROMISES are NOT one and the same.
We like to think they are.
What do I mean?
The book of Proverbs is full of all sorts of expectations... we can expect this and thus to happen to the wise, to the foolish, to the humble, to the proud, to the son who listens, to the son who chooses folly... and so on and so forth. Just take Proverbs 22, for example.
- A humble fear of the Lord results in riches, honor and live.
- If you stay away from the wicked, you will preserve your life.
- Start off parenting your kids right and they will turn out alright as they get older.
- The generous will be blessed.
- Get rid of mockers and all strife, quarrels and insulting will be ended.
- Corporal discipline will drive foolish behavior away from our children.
- If you oppress the poor to get rich, you will become poor.
- If you give gifts to the rich to incur favor and get rich, you will become poor.
- If you exploit the poor because they are poor, if you crush the needy in court, the Lord will require life for life.
- If you go into debt, your very bed will be taken from you.
Proverbs is full of many principles - identifying what is likely to happen if as a result of certain behaviors - both good and bad. Proverbs contains a few promises. Principles are a general operating idea. Promises are what we can count on.
It feels like betrayal when an expectation I'd been counting on, one that I had been treating as a promise, doesn't happen. In this sense, an expectation is simply the logical, reasonable, expected outcome of following a certain path.
God's promises, on the other hand and at least from my experience, are miraculous and are undeserved, unexpected and totally unreasonable from the perspective of human logic... Like a promised son to an infertile couple already mostly beyond the age of child-bearing... Like God giving me what I deserve instead of His grace and mercy...