“Nothing binds us one to the other like a promise kept, and nothing divides us like a promise broken” (Leighton Ford).
How true that is! Promises reveal our character Do we make them quickly and then fail to follow through? Or do we refuse to make any promises because we don’t want to be bound by any commitments? Or, are we careful in making promises, making sure we fulfill them? Think of how many times a young child has heard a parent promise to do something special for or with them, but fails to keep the promise, maybe apologizing and renewing the promise, only to break it again.
When we first moved from Montana to Portland, Oregon where I worked as an engineer, we lived in some apartments (100 units) which we ended up managing for a couple of years. The apartment owner found out I liked to hunt and asked if I would line up a hunting trip back in Montana. He would have his pilot friend fly us back there. So I did make those arrangements and we invited him to have breakfast with us the morning we were to leave. We waited and waited but he didn’t show up. Later in the day, he said his pilot friend was unable to fly us, but he would still like to go and would do the driving, so we set another day to leave. This time we didn’t invite him to join us for breakfast! And again he didn’t show. Later in the day his son showed up at the apartments, looking for his dad, who was to have met him there at a certain time. The owner didn’t make an appearance. Obviously from that time forward, we had difficulty in believing anything that the apartment owner promised or even said.
I’m sure that each of us has been disappointed by someone’s broken promises. I’m also sure that each of us has also broken promises that we have made. Some of the promises may have just been forgotten, some may have been impossible to keep and shouldn’t have been made, while others were never intended to be kept. Because of the frailty of our being and our old sinful natures, it is impossible for any of us to perfectly keep every promise.
But, praise the Lord, there is Someone who keeps and will keep all His promises and that is, of course, God our Creator and Redeemer. First of all, God will never make a promise that He doesn’t intend to keep. “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken and will He not make it good?” (Nu. 23:19). God will never deceive us or lead us along and then disappoint us. He doesn’t use the “bait and switch” tactic on us. He can be totally trusted. “It is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18).
Not only will God never make promises He doesn’t plan to fulfill, but in His omnipotence and omniscience, He is also able to keep all His promises. God promised a son to Abraham that would be the beginning of a great nation, yet Abraham was old and his wife was past child-bearing age. It would be another 25 years before the child miraculously came, “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 (God) had promised, He was able also to perform” (Ro. 4:20,21). On one occasion when King Solomon had been pouring his heart out to God, “he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying, ‘Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel according to all that He promised; not one of word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant’” (I Kgs. 8:55,56).
Peter writes concerning God’s promises: “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these (His glory and excellence), He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature…” (II Pet. 1:3,4). The believer shares in the life of God by means of Christ and the Spirit living in him (Ro. 8:9; Gal. 2:20). And, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘yes’ in Christ…” (II Cor. 1:20). God has made many incredibly wonderful promises—and He fulfills them all in Christ. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (I Thes. 5:24).
Have you been disappointed by someone in your life? Do broken promises litter your past, causing you sorrow and doubt? No one can perfectly keep every promise and meet every need—but God. Take your pain and heartache to Him. You can trust Him—fully! He can and will keep all His promises to you.