“The Lord is not slack concerning [H]is promises…” (2 Peter: 3:9a.)
“Let your, “Yes” be Yes and your, “No” be No.” (Sermon on the Mount)
I can not remember ever making a promise to anyone and especially not my children. They may have asked me for a promise early on when they were younger but not anymore. I explained to them that I cannot control enough to make a promise. The weather, health, other events, and many other things can interfere with a promise. The will of God may over-rule a promise. I will say, “If God wills I will do my best to…” James in his epistle warns us of saying, “I will do this or that …” Instead he tells us to say, “the Lord willing I will do this or that.”
We are also warned in Scripture not to swear upon anything…” I swear to God” or I swear on …” This is because we have no power over God or anything else for that matter. I have heard others swear upon the life of their mother or their children…this is evil and very foolish for you have no power over either and thank God for that.
Why is it so foolish to make a promise? It is foolish because it is a sure way to loose your children’s confidence in you and your word. Your word will loose more and more worth or value with every broken promise. However, if you say God willing or I will do my best they will come to understand that you can be trusted to keep your word. Another piece of counsel, help them understand the will of God and that though His will may not always allow their every wish His will is best. You will want to tell them of times God over-ruled your desires or plans and why it was for your best. How many of us would not have the life and or families we now enjoy if God would have allowed us to “get the girl” or the guy from our youth? How thankful I am that He says “No” as often as he does. Thank Him today for all the times He said, “No” or “not yet”? Explain the blessedness of God’s “No” to your children.
There are only (3) that can promise. One is God. God can control all events to make His promises unbreakable. God is not slack or slow and it is only God Whose will is not over-ridden by outside events. The other persons that can promise is the God called prophet who speaketh the Words of God. The Old Testament prophet could promise based upon the God-Spoken Words and the New Testament prophet can make general promises based upon the revealed Word of God as can the well taught Christ-ian man or woman.
Understand what I mean when I say general promises and revealed Word. I Can say, “If you sense the drawing of God and if you will repent and believe the Gospel, you can be saved.” I can make that promise without heitation or doubt. If a broken hearted Christ-ian comes to me over a matter of sin, I can promise Him or her God’s forgiveness if s/he will confess them before God and I can make that promise without hesitation or doubt for it is God’s Word and will that I am speaking of and not just my own. I cannot promise that we will do this or that tomorrow because it may rain, I may be sick, I may die! I do not control the events that will allow or disallow my promise. I can say, If God wills it and all things go well we can do this or that. This will lead all of us to prayer and to have our thoughts upon God.
God caused the sun to stay for Joshua, It was God the Son that caused the wind, the waves, and the storms to bow to His will, It is the Spirit of God that can cause the unchangeable person to change. It is God that raised Christ from the dead. It is God that called the animals to the ark, It was God that caused to Red Sea to split and the ground to become passable, It was Christ that caused the blind man to see, the lame man to walk, the dumb man to speak, the deaf man to hear and the poor man to become rich through the Gospel. It is the Holy Ghost that changes the heart of stone into a pulsating and beating heart of flesh, it is the Holy Ghost that causes the spiritually blind to see, the spiritually lame to walk, the spiritually dumb to speak with a new tongue, the spiritually deaf to have an ear. You see God can remove all obstacles and make all obstructions bend to His perfect will. That is why we say, “If God wills” instead of I promise.” We can do none of the above.
Another wise act is to let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no. We want to be a Christ-ian of our word. If someone asks you, “Did you do this?” Your answer is yes or no and nothing more. Do not swear upon anything…simply let your answer be yes or no. There are not many honours above being known as a person of your word. To be known as a good or honourable person is the highest compliment one can be given. My wife gave me a Father’s Day card that said I was a good man and a great father. There is no better compliment or honour a husband/father could be given in this world. The only honour greater than this is, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
To be known as a person of your word; to be known as a good and honourable person means that if someone says something negative about you, those that know you will disregard it immediately. If someone came up to a family member and said, “Your Dad/Husband/Pastor promised me…….” My people would know immediately that they are not speaking truth. If someone approached my kids or wife and said, “Your Dad/Brian sent me to pick you up.” My family would know to avoid this person at all costs and they would be prepared to defend themselves. A family should have codes: names, symbols, signals, pass words, etc. to let each other know that this person is okay or what I am saying is true. These codes should never ever, ever, ever, ever………………………be shared with anyone, not even extended family or friends. If the code is ever used change it immediately.
God has made many promises in His Word. Some of His promises are unconditional and others conditional. All of His promises of hope are conditional upon relationship and covenant. In other words, His promises are made to the elect. God’s promises of hope are not for the lost, God’s promises of hopelessness are not for the saved. A conditional promise is based upon a condition and an unconditional promise is without condition.
Salvation is a promise made upon the conditions of repentance and belief. Salvation is promised upon the submission to the Spirit’s drawing. THe promise of God’s love for His person, persons, people, and peoples is unconditional. He does not promise His love to you if you do this or that. His promise of love is not even based upon the condition of your unbroken faithfulness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, God has promised Himself as well as you that He would remain faithful to you unconditionally!!!!!!!!!!! God is so Good! Everything that hath breathe, praise ye the LORD God!!!
It is important to know God’s promises because our prayers should find their strength in these promises. His promises do not back Him into a corner. You cannot hold God hostage over His promises. You can, however, Call upon Him and ask Him for X which is based upon His promise. You may go to Him with boldness AND humility petitioning His perfect and wise will and knowledge of what is best. I can state unequivocably that God has answered all of my prayers and sometimes in ways that are too wonderful to share. Sometimes one should keep things between self and the Lord…these are truly sacred things. It is enough to say, “God has answered my Prayer” as in your “Yes” being yes and your “No” being no.