Does God make promises?
By the Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Background text: Hebrews 10:23
Devotional text: 1 John 2:25
According to Bible statistics, God has made approximately 7,500 promises to us, as we add up his words in both Old and New Testaments. Of these scriptures, God has never broken a promise he has made. We can count on God’s word always and forever.
In the world, people make promises to one another. Some people are right and just to keep their promises, while others sometimes forget they made a promise. Still others make promises without even giving a thought to keeping them. And then there are those who must break their promises due to unforeseen circumstances.
However, there is one being whom we can always trust to fulfill his promises, and he is God.
To make a promise means that we will do exactly what we have said we will do. Breaking promises leads to distrust in a person. In God, our trust always remains secure.
As we look at what the Bible says, let’s begin today with Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
In this scripture, the author of Hebrews is speaking to the believers in Christ about their faith and the importance of perseverance. In the verse previous to this one, the author speaks of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ who died for their (and our) sins, having freed those who believe from a guilty conscience.
The verse following the one above reminds us “to spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” In verse 25, we read, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
In the book of Hebrews, the author reveals to us a synopsis of our faith. The author leads us through the great men of the Old Testament who trusted in God and received his promises. The last chapters particularly speak to us about salvation with the coming of Christ and encourage all believers to remain in faithful and enduring trust in God’s promises.
In the book of Chronicles, which includes the genealogy and the life of King David, we find in chapter 17 God’s promises to David. In particular, we find in 1 Chronicles 17:12-14 that these promises include the promise of the coming Messiah.
Later, in Acts 13:23, as Paul spoke about the history of the Hebrew nation and the good news of Jesus while at the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, he spoke these words about Jesus as a descendant of David: “From this man’s descendants, God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.”
It is through God’s promise of the Messiah that we have eternal life. According to 1 John 2:24-25, “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he has promised us, eternal life.”
In this scripture, John is reminding all believers to stay true to the faith and the promise of God will always be with us.
As we keep the promises of God close to our hearts and minds, this is a sure statement of trust found in 2 Peter 1:4: “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
Furthermore, in the book of Hebrews, in a section subtitled “The Certainty of God’s Promise,” we find these words in Hebrews 6:16-19: “Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.
“God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
In these very words of scripture, we find the truth that God cannot lie. His word is eternal and unchanging. The two unchanging things God has mentioned are his very nature and his promises. God’s nature embodies truthfulness. There is no lie in him.
Because of God’s promises made to us throughout the generations, we can believe and stay strong in him. God’s truth gives us confidence in his word. God’s promises give anchor to our souls and encouragement to our hope when we come before him in prayer.
While our own feelings cannot be trusted because they are so changeable, depending on what is going on in our lives, it is God’s promises that enable us to rise above our present situations. As we go through various situations in our lives, a popular saying tells us to “look up to God and stand on his promises.”
Our faith is not on how, but who. Our faith focuses on God our Redeemer.
Next week, we will look at some of the promises God has made to us.