Over the last several years I have listened to several pastors teach on this passage. Given that we have seen so many people, especially politicians, make empty promises during campaigns that they never intend to keep, the topic must have seemed apropos.
Today the topic came back to mind as we watched a TV show. One of the characters made a promise to never crack another safe. Apparently, the character had recently been released from prison. His “gang” talked about how he was the best safe cracker they knew. It didn’t take long before the character broke his own promise and broke into another safe. Thankfully, in the end, he returned what he stole. However, he still broke a promise and was easily swayed to do wrong.
The word promise is defined as 1a: a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified. [Webster’s Dictionary, promise] Promises are nice to hear but so many are rarely kept. It is in our human nature to think of ourselves first and, thus, not keep promises, especially when they do not benefit us personally. I know there have been times in my life when I have been on both the receiving end and the giving end of broken promises. In general, most of us, when we make promises, intend to keep them, but God knows our fallen nature will get in the way. So, many promises are empty.
Whoever falsely boasts of giving [Is like] clouds and wind without rain.[Pro 25:14 NKJV]
God doesn’t take promises lightly. When He says he will, or will not, do something He keeps His word. When He made a covenant with Abraham, He really made it with Himself because he knew that Abraham’s human nature would not let him keep it. [Genesis 15:17-18, Hebrews 6:13]
Although we are human, God expects us to keep our promises as well, especially when we make that promise to God.
When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.[Num 30:2 NIV]
Although we can’t trust humans to keep promises, it is good that we can count on God to keep his. The Bible is full of promises made by God to man. Every single one has been kept. The world will try and find a broken promise, because even one broken promise by God invalidates the entire Bible. Thankfully, we know the world will never find a broken promise by God. Every word in the Bible can be trusted as true. [Psalms 37:7-9] God promises life with Him. We are assured through accuracy of all other kept promises that this is true.
For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: For yet a little while, [And] He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if [anyone] draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”[Hebrews 10:36-39 NKJV]