The Power Of Promise
It wasn’t that difficult in David’s mind. He had made promises to God. And promises were meant to be kept. Whether they had been offered in times of personal tragedy or in moments of genuine gratitude it mattered not to David. A vow made was a vow fulfilled. David was a man who honored his vows, especially the ones he made to God.
Part of David’s decision to fulfill his vows arose from his own understanding of God. David knew that God was faithful. God was upright. God was not a man that he should lie. God kept His word. Always. Without fail and without exception. End of discussion. When God made a promise it was money in the bank. You could depend on it. You could build your life upon it. You could trust every word that God spoke because God was completely trustworthy. It made sense to David that God’s people should readily reflect that same quality in their lives, particularly as it related to their dealings with God. If one truly feared God, it was reasonable to expect obedience and faith to fill the life of that same person. Such a person would not be flippant with regard to their words. Words would have meaning for them because words have tremendous power for God. God never failed to keep His word. His people should do the same.
In Psalm 61 David connects God’s faithfulness and his own personal responsibility in regard to promises. God had promised an inheritance to His people. In a very literal sense that inheritance was realized in the land of Israel. However, it also included things such as protection, provision, prosperity, and the guarantee of God’s presence. Think of it as a package deal if you will. In a very real sense the Lord was their inheritance. He was inseparable from the land in the OT context. In fact, that was one of Israel’s greatest struggles throughout their OT history. They failed to understand that the way they regarded God had a huge impact on their ability to enjoy the inheritance. The blessing could not be separated from Him. The promise could not be separated from the One who had given the promise. To disregard or neglect Him was to treat the promise as trivial.
I am reluctant to admit that in my own life there are far too many occasions when I have treated God’s promises as trivial. No, it’s not some demonstrative declaration of distaste and disgust. Rather, my lack of appreciation and awe for His promises is most usually displayed in simple neglect. Even after over 20 years of walking with the Lord, I can still slip into seasons of lethargy and apathy. I can go days (sometimes even weeks) without reading His Word. The real tragedy is all that I willingly forfeit in the process. Like the Israelites I fail to recognize that He is the promise. It’s much more than a simple matter of Him granting things like peace, protection, provision, and prosperity. He is my peace. He is my protection. He is my provision. He is my prosperity. If I do not have Him, I do not have any of those things either. He is the Promise.
The second area of struggle is related. In the same way that I treat His promises as trivial, I also at times have little regard for the true impact of my own words. In all things we are called to represent Him, to reflect His character in our conduct, conversation, and countenance. But far too often I fail to be a man of my word. I say one thing but do another. I make promises but they go unfulfilled. I want to remind each of us today that promises are powerful. Every promise that God has made to His children will be kept. And my prayer is that God will help every one of us to imitate that same nature, that we, His children, would also be marked as a people who keep their promises.