“Now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant. Now therefore, may it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You. For You, O Lord God, have spoken; and with Your blessing may the house of Your servant be blessed forever.” – 2 Samuel 7:28-29 (NASB)
By this time in the life of David, King of Israel, he has accomplished a great deal. His major accomplishments have been to subdue the enemies of Israel and while he still has more to do in this task, David has secured Jerusalem as the City of David for the People of Israel. Through the profit Nathan, God has promised again that David’s royal line will be established forever. David turns to a prayer filled with humility and adoration of God. “Who am I, O Lord God,?” David asks. Today we focus again on the significance of how God makes promises to His people. David acknowledges “You have promised (spoken) this good thing…” Then in the next verse, “For You, O Lord God have spoken (promised);” The same original word is used in each instance. David, recognized as we should also that God’s spoken word is a spoken promise, a promise delivered. God made these promises which are promises we can trust. We took can trust that with God’s blessings our own houses, as His servants are blessed forever.” Forever means eternal and the life God has given to us is just that, an eternal life.
“You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.” Deuteronomy 23:23 (ESV)
Yesterday our verse from Genesis established how God’s spoken words are in fact promises. We know God is perfect in all His ways so we trust His words in the Bible without doubt. He is always truthful and what He promises are made to us through what He has spoken. Such is not so certain regarding the words we speak. Yes, we can recite the words God has spoken and trust them to be Promises from God. But, we must take greater care and not be flippant with our words. Our verse says, we are to be careful to do what passes our lips because our words are voluntarily vows to the Lord. A quick “certainly I can” or “I’ll do so, trust me” might slip out as a careless promise which we may not follow up and fulfill. How about with a concern shared with us and we respond, “I’ll pray for you?” Do we actually pray, even mentally? Or do we say that because it seems a good thing to say to ease their concern? “I’ll pray for you” is not a prayer itself. If we say it, are we not obliged to do it?
“Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised.” – Genesis21:1 (NASB)
When giving someone a promise, how do we go about making our words a promise? There are many ways to demonstrate that we are so sincere in what we say. We hear “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This when a witness is placed under oath in a court of law. If the witness fails that promise, it is under penalty of law. Why? Because humans are known to lie and give false testimony even when promising to speak the truth. Such is not the way with the Words of God. Throughout the bible and especially in the Old Testament what is translated as “promised” is from the original a word which means “spoken.” Every time we read ‘God has spoken,’ it is fair to say ‘God has promised.’ Today we hear the term, “my word is my bond.” Frequently found in movies, television and even hip hop and rap music. But only the Words of God can be trusted to be His Promise, His Bond to us. We can rest with explicit assurances that every Word from God is a Promise from God.
“Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,” – Titus 1:1-2 (NASB)
In our modern culture the very thought of being someone’s slave is abhorrent. So is the thought of any person having ownership of slaves for their service. But Paul uses the word “slave” to describe himself. Most often translated “bond-servant” it more accurately means an ordinary life-long “slave.” In fact Paul pictures himself as the most menial slave of New Testament times, signifying his complete willingness to submit to the Lord. All believers have been chosen by God by whom we have been “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). The promise we have been given is eternal life in which we have a hope. Paul’s meaning is that all of his ministry was “with a view to” that promise of eternal life. This hope was promised to the elect from eternity past by God, who cannot default on His word. Because God Himself is truth and the source of truth, it is impossible for Him to say anything untruthful. Paul places this act into a time long ages ago. God’s plan of salvation for sinful mankind was determined and decreed before man was even created (Ephesians 1:4). It’s a secure guarantee because the promise was made to God the Son.
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” – Genesis 28:15 (NASB)
After his trickery and snatching the blessing Isaac intended for Esau, Jacob had to flee for his life. It is Jacob who woke up from a dream of seeing angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven named the spot El-Bethel because it was where he met God. God affirmed for him the promises and covenant already given to Abraham and Isaac. It was through Ezekiel who described the gates of the New Jerusalem and the city spoke these last words of his prophecy, “And the name of the city from that time on shall be, Yahweh shammah “The LORD Is There.”” (Ezekiel 48:30-35) This name of the LORD expresses a blessed promise and truth about Him: the LORD delights to be wherever His people are. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. When they sinned, God instituted sacrifices so that relationships could be partly restored. Ezekiel prophesied a lot about God’s glorious presence with His people. Jesus promises that we would experience His presence wherever we go as His disciples (Matthew 28:20). The heavenly Jerusalem will be marked by the presence of God dwelling with His people as He has always promised.
“The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words.” – Psalm 119:57” – (NASB)
In the original language, verse 57 may be a broken sentence. The translators mended it by insertions, but even as it is without the fix it makes good sense. It would appear as an exclamation,—“My portion, O Lord!” As one nearly overcome with God’s goodness, the psalmist (likely David) is lost in wonder while he sees that the great and glorious God is all his own! This is understandable, for there is no possession we might have like the LORD himself. The sentence expresses joyous recognition and assumption,—“My portion, O LORD!” The idea of “a portion” springs from the lawful practice of the Levites when they were sacrificing animals brought to the Temple as offerings. They were given a portion of the meat that they might eat. In this way the priests were sustained since their work was fully within the compound of the Temple when they served. For the psalmist and for us, God is a great and permanent portion, our heritage. It includes all, and more than all; it outlasts all; and yet no one chooses it for themselves until God has chosen and renewed their life by being born of God.
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV)
God never promises the absence of distress or a journey without challenges to meet and obstacles to overcome. What He promises is His presence as the Holy Spirit. The presence of God’s Spirit assures us that we have Him and in Him, is God being our paraclete*, alongside as our guide and comforter. We also have the guarantee that our inheritance is reserved for us and kept for us we cannot and will not lose it. There is no one who can barge into our lives and overwhelm us with anything that will cause our separation from God. Like a ship or boat, small or massive, The Holy Spirit invisibly, yet indispensably, is the rudder for the ship of our soul. He keeps us from crashing on the rocks, keeps us afloat and going the right direction. The Holy Spirit is also our pilot. We are not alone on our journey. We’re sealed in Christ. Once upon a time, red wax with an identifying stamp in the wax was used seal the ownership of a letter. Sealing declares ownership and secures contents. It is the Holy Spirit as God’s seal that protects us. His word of promise is our seal.
*The Holy Spirit as Paraclete: The term Paraclete (παράκλητος, paraklētos) appears four times in John’s Gospel in reference to the Holy Spirit in John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7 and once in 1 John 2:1 in reference to Jesus. English bibles translate the Greek word as Helper, Advocate, Comforter, Counselor.