Advent devotional: O Key of David

O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Isaiah 22:21-23
Revelation 3:7-13
Psalm 89:1-34

If you’re anything like me, you likely have a large collection of keys. Some important — car keys, house key, key to the office building. But you might also have keys that you haven’t used in a long time and have long forgotten what it opens.

In the ancient world, keys were not as ubiquitous. They were large and weighty, made out of iron or bronze. Keys were so large, in fact, that those entrusted with them slung them over their shoulder. The keys unlocked city gates or a ruler’s palace or a prison.

The one with the key had tremendous authority. He had access to these significant places and had the power to let certain people in and keep certain people out.

In Isaiah 22:22, the prophet tells the palace secretary Shebna that he will be replaced by Eliakim, for God “will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David”. The one who holds the keys has the authority. The “key of David” implies control of King David’s domain, which was promised to the Messiah in both the Old and New Testaments.

Revelation 3 tells us that the key of David has been put in the hands of the only one truly trustworthy — Jesus. He is the Messiah and holds the keys to the Kingdom of God.

In this passage in Revelation, John is writing to the church in Philadelphia. These Christ followers had been kicked out of the Jewish synagogue by the Jewish leaders. These synagogue leaders liked to think they held authority and were telling the Philadelphian church, “You can’t be part of the household of God.”

But Jesus tells the church, “It is I who holds the keys to the house of God, not the religious gatekeepers.”

If you have ever felt kept out by religious gatekeepers, there is good news. Jesus holds the keys to God’s House and He holds the door open, waiting for you to enter.

Where have you felt left out or excluded? Bring this to God. Ask Him to show you His love and acceptance of you. He has flung open the gates to his divine love. Enter in.
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