Today’s World and Promises
The word, promises, can conjure up many images and memoriesÂ in my fast-moving sometimes crazy creative mind. As I bounce the word around one of the first things I think of is the childhood chant that almost all of us heard or recitedÂ at some point or another ”“ ”Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye”. As an adult that sounds terribly painful but as a child this was a solemn oath that a promise would be kept as death and needles would indeed be serious business. Another thought that came to mind was the more recent use of promise keeping that depending on your age and I suppose nationality you may haveÂ utilized the ”pinky promise” which by entwining the smallest fingers, the pinky,Â of each promiser’s hand a promiseÂ is thenÂ made and kept between theÂ two people.
TheÂ genuineness of promises in today’s world often aren’t very reliable whether we speak of politics or the public. As adults we still make promises, no matter our careers,Â usually not with our fingers or chanting rhymes but promises made with simple statements or elaborate displays. These promises however are often just empty statements really meant to go nowhere and that creates a negative attachment with the word, promises. We know or have experienced firsthand people who promise to love and honor each other on wedding days but then as time passes so do the promises and the commitments made and this unfortunately is repeatedly seenÂ in today’s society as finality of a promise in a divorce. The truth is, for most of us, promises just do not seem to hold much credibility whether being said toÂ us or ifÂ we are the one saying them, they seem to be just noisy words. We hear often the term promises, promises, and the broken promise is something in our lives that most of us have experience with. If the broken promise occurs enough we develop the attitude that we no longer want to hear words we want to see action, in a prove it effort. Mae West gives a great analysis of this as she quoted,
Â An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.
Most of us feel the same way whether it is the promise of a co-worker to do something or the promises we or our children make regarding their best behavior. These types of promises are often empty promises asÂ regularly saidÂ in passing or without much thought or plan. For a promise toÂ take place it really must have commitment. Peter Drucker, the famous management consultant said,
Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes”¦but no plans.
It appears from our own experiences and advice of other’s experiences that for, hope, (future occurrences to take place), and promises,(solemn declarations to be made),Â we must have a strongÂ commitment with a means to move forward.Â So with a commitment in place perhaps we can place our faith in, shall it be said, a more solid plan that might actually take place. A plan then will add another element to the concept of promise and commitment.
Does Life Follow a Plan?
As I write this I can see out the window the blowing wind and the cold, brown, lonely looking earth that just stares back at me but I know that in a few months I will see the ”promise” of spring. There will be bits of green and yellow along with buds that will appear and then blossom into a show themselves and another season will move forward, a season that promises to bring with it not only new colors but warmer air. I do not question this in the least. I know that there will be a new season and I never doubt that it will not come about because this is the plan of the earth, God’s plan. Â (Genesis 8:22) I know this because it happens every year without fail. I have experienced the promise of seasons consistently throughout my life, a promise from God. As we think about promises and more specifically God’s promises it leads us to this week’s focus verse, Psalm 12:6;
The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. (NLT)
Why do We Doubt God?
We should not doubt God or His promises but yet we do and often we give in to those little demons of the mindÂ that whisper wrong or conflicting thoughts, doubts, ideas, and self-defeating images that bring us down. This week’s verse not only emphasizes that God’s promises or words are pure or trueÂ but they’re purified seven times over leaving no room for doubt. Examining this verse for deeper understanding requiresÂ us to look at theÂ time period which shows us that many things were ritually completed seven times, the perfect number, and considered holy. So when David wrote this Psalm he used words that would bring forth the imagery of that time period for deeper understanding and to make a point. It wasn’t just true, God’s words are over the top, and beyond belief pure because they are flawless, perfect by seven times. David experienced this first hand and saw that God is always faithful on His promises. It is so hard for us to image flawless and perfect in our torn world but God’s words are just that. The writers of the Bible saw God’s promises in action and wrote about them in verses such as Psalm 119:140;
Your promises have been thoroughly tested that is why I love them so much. (NLT)
For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does. (NLT)
Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. (NLT)
The ultimate promise verse however is found in the trust statement of John 3:16;
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever should believeth in Him should not perish, but have ever lasting life. (KJV)
Time and history shows us the testing that the words or promises of GodÂ go through in the reporting ofÂ countless stories and witness statements throughout the Bible. Paul reminds us of just how important the scriptures are to our faith and reactions to life not only in the current period but also to how we will conduct ourselves in the future. Romans 15:4;
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.(NLT)
Â It is so important that we read scriptures verses over and over as often we see things in a new way that gives light to a new view or thought. It also consistently reaffirms that God makes true on His promises as in the past and we are not to doubt His promises for the future. Often we read the stories of the Bible and wonder how the people of that time period could doubt God. They saw the miracles and held the past history evidence of where God consistently followed through with promises whether they are promises of good or despair. We shake our heads at their disbelief but yet we often do the same thing when life doesn’t seem to go our way. It is so easy to believe in God when life is good, full of riches, and everything is falling in place but when upsets come along how quickly we doubt and second guess our belief because we do not get an instant fix from God when we cry out.
Promises and Patience Must be Joined Together
Our instant world begs for quick remedies when problems arise. We want the world righted now, not tomorrow, next week, or next month. But James reminds us in James 1:12;
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (NLT)
Waiting is so hard when your lifeÂ turns upside down whether it is a simple upset like a busted water pipe or complicated such as learning the life threatening medical diagnosis of a family member or our self. We all want God to fix it as soon as we cry out but the plan of God often calls for a delay of solutionÂ or perhapsÂ it isÂ not the solution we wanted or expected. It is inÂ those instances that our faith affirms itself as without these times ofÂ affirmationÂ peppered throughout our lifeÂ there really isn’t much point to our living here on earth. In other words if life was without problems then what would we have to be faithful to or look forward to in the end? If God provided the good lifeÂ on the earth to only the believers then wouldn’t everyone be a believer out of fear. DoÂ we want our children or others to loveÂ us only because of the good thingsÂ we do and offer or doÂ we want their unconditional love because of whoÂ we are? God has promised us eternal life, a life in the future that is without problems, concerns, or worry given to us by our forgiven sins through Jesus Christ. It does require us to believe and stay faithful to Him during the good times and the bad. It takes not only patience and endurance for these promises to come to light but faith that God will always make good on His promises. We should not doubt when we have thousands of years of evidence that show He has followed through on His promises in the past because He has a plan.
Hope is Found in the Promises of God’s Commitment to the Plan
God has a committed plan which abounds with promises of the past and future and that is where our faith arrives and hope lies. God’s word, His promises, are pure and tested just like the purity that silver goes through in the fire. If testing has been given to God’s wordsÂ then it is to be expected that we tooÂ will experience testingÂ to see if we can faithfully come through the fire. We can rest assuredly though in the promises as Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 1:20;
For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ”Yes!” And through Christ, our ”Amen” (which means ”Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. (NLT)
God’s faithfulness isÂ clear throughÂ Jesus Christ. He is the plan that each of us are part of that pushes us to hold true to our faith that the Lord’s promises are pure! We should carry forth in our day-to-day with lives full of faithfulness no matter what may cross our path by heeding the words of Corrie ten Boom,
Let God’s promises shine on your problems.
As we continue to work on new priorities that we set this year let us remember God’s promises to us and hold true to our faith whether in good times or bad knowing that the Lord’s promises are fully tested and pure.
I pray all of you have a great week remembering that God has a plan for each of us and everything that we experience here on earth and in eternity is part of that plan.
Love in Christ,
* Thanks to J.J. for just a bit of help on scripture research and thoughts 🙂
Post Script – Let us strive to stay on God’s planÂ with a strong commitmentÂ to keepÂ the promisesÂ we makeÂ during this life to not only God but others in the days andÂ years to come for in the words of Robert Frost,
…But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep.
We all have far to go but we can move forward in those miles knowing that one day we will join our Father and be at peace.