While living in Portland where I worked for Hyster Company, we also managed the apartments where we lived. The apartment owner, Bob, found out I liked to hunt and asked if I could set up an elk hunting trip back in Montana from where we had moved. So, I made arrangements for a hunting trip in Montana. He had an attorney friend who was going to fly us over. We invited Bob to join us for an early breakfast the morning we were to leave. We waited and waited and Bob didn’t show up. Later in the day I was able to reach him and he said something had come up and the attorney couldn’t fly that day. We set another date for our trip. Well again, a no show. Later that day, his son showed up at the apartments and asked if his dad was around, as he was to meet him there. I said, “That’s interesting. We are supposed to be on a hunting trip to Montana!” He never did show up or call that day. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. We discovered as we worked for him that it was a pattern of his life, making it very difficult for our job.
Have you ever made a promise that you haven’t kept? I’m sure we all have at one time or another. Sometimes we may just completely forget about it. Other times we may never have intended to follow through, or maybe we made a promise we were incapable of fulfilling. It makes it difficult for those to whom we made the failed promises to trust our word anymore. It is especially damaging on relationships with your spouse, children, parents, friends, and if it happens at work, it could cost you your job. It is really important that we be a person of our word.
I know of only one Person who can be trusted completely to keep the promises He makes, and that is God. He alone is all-knowing and all-powerful and loves unconditionally. Whatever He promises, we can be totally assured He will do. For example, He promised to make of Abraham a great nation, and bless him and make his name great and make his descendants like the stars of the heavens and the sand on the seashore. He also promised that in his “seed, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:1-3; 22:17,18). But, Abraham and his wife Sarah grew old and were childless. It wasn’t until Abraham was 100 and his wife 90 that God provided the promised seed, Isaac, through whom would come the nation of Israel, through whom one day would come the ultimate “seed,” Jesus Christ, who will one day soon come to reign on earth and every nation on earth will be blessed. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul wrote regarding God’s promise to Abraham: “yet, with respect to the promise of God, he (Abraham) did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform” (Ro. 4:20,21).
When you think of how many times the lineage of Christ was down to just one individual, you can see the obvious hand of God carrying out His plan and keeping His promise. No one, not even Satan, could stop Him. Think of how often the Jews have suffered severe persecution and near annihilation and how even today there are many nations that wish to destroy her. But, throughout the Old Testament we read of all the promises God has made to that nation, His chosen people. All those promises will be fulfilled, for our God is sovereign. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, saying: “Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure…truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it’” (Isa. 46:8-11). Regarding God’s promises to Israel, we read in I Kg. 8:56: “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.”
Way back in Genesis, after the disobedience of Adam and Eve, God promised that a “seed of a woman”’ would come that would defeat the enemy, Satan. Throughout the Old Testament, we see additional, more specific references to that “seed of the woman.” For example, Isa. 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son (the “seed of a woman”), and she will call His name Immanuel”… “which translated means ‘God with us’” (Mt. 1:23). We learn that this promised seed would be called the Messiah (Hebrew), or Christ (Greek). The promise (covenant) God gave to Abraham was repeated to Isaac and Jacob and another promise made to King David that his kingdom will be forever (through the Messiah that would come through his family and one day reign on his father’s throne).
The last of the prophets, however, came and went, and the promised One still hadn’t come. There was, in fact a silent period of 400 years from the last prophet Malachi who heard from God, until John the Baptist came on the scene. But, as recorded in Gal. 4:4, “When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…” God kept His word. He always does and always will. Jesus, after telling His disciples He would be leaving (Jn. 14:31-38), promised: “…I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (v. 3). Just as Jesus came at just the right time (Gal. 4:4), He will return at just the right time. He also promised that after He left, the Father would send the Holy Spirit to live in them and guide, teach, and empower them (Jn. 14:26; 16:7). Again, God kept His word, and just 10 days after Jesus ascended to heaven, on the day of Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers (Acts 2:1-3). Paul wrote: “in order that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:13).
God’s Word is full of promises to us as believers. We have, for example, the promise of eternal life through believing in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection on our behalf (Jn. 3:16; 5:24; Ro. 10:9,10; Gal. 2:8,9,16). Titus spoke of “…the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago” (Tit. 1:2). We have assurance of our eternal life in Christ, for Jesus Himself promised: “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise Him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:39,40). Peter, in his second epistle, wrote: “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises , in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (II Pet. 1:4).
So, when we consider all the precious promises of God, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23). And keep in mind, you can’t break God’s promises by leaning on them!
“Nothing binds us one to another like a promise kept, and nothing divides us like a promise broken” (Leighton Ford).
“God never made a promise that was too good to be true” (D. L. Moody).