Have you ever made a promise that you didn’t keep?
The book of Joshua in the Bible ends on a good note. Joshua has led the Hebrew people into the Promised Land. They’ve been standing up to the bad guys there and winning victories in battle. God had asked Joshua and the Hebrews to drive out all the wicked people, and they’re doing it!
So far so good.
And so Joshua decided to gather all the people together to renew their covenant with God. Do you remember what a covenant is? A covenant is a set of promises made between two people. Often between a king and his servants. In the Bible a covenant was made between God and the Hebrew people back at Mount Sinai. God made promises to love, and protect, and bless the people, and they made promises to always obey God, and love him, and serve him.
At this covenant renewal the conversation between Joshua and the people sounded like this:
Joshua: “People, you must choose this day whom you will serve.”
The people: “We will not forsake the Lord to serve other gods.”
Joshua: “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.”
The people: “But we will serve the Lord.”
And then Joshua said this to the people:
Joshua 24:22. Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.”
Joshua calls the people “witnesses AGAINST themselves.” In other words, Joshua is telling the people that they are making a promise to God that they will never keep. They are promising to always love, and obey, and serve God and they won’t do it. They are “witnesses against themselves.” Has anyone ever said to you, “Don’t make a promise if you can’t keep it?” That’s good advice isn’t it? And that’s what Joshua is saying to the people. Don’t make promises to be good if you know you can’t be good.
And none of us can be perfectly good, can we?
And that is why we should not make promises to God – because we will never keep them. Sometimes people promise God that they’ll “try harder,” or “do better,” or “be more committed” to him. But God doesn’t want us to make promises to him. He wants us to trust his promises to us.
What has God promised to those who believe in Jesus?
An eternal home with him.
We don’t need to make promises to God. We need to remember that Jesus is God’s promise to us. Our promises to God just prove that we can’t keep those promises. But his promises to us will always prove that God is good and faithful and true. Why? Because all his promises came true in Jesus.
Because of Jesus I don’t have to make promises to God.
With Jesus I will trust God’s promises to me.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Remember, don’t focus on your promises to God, focus on his promises to you. What are those promises? Use Romans 8 to read several promises that God makes to us in Jesus. You can make a list of these promises or put them on flash cards. Or just read them.
Rom. 8:1 – No condemnation
Rom. 8:6 – Life and peace.
Rom. 8:9 – The Spirit is in you.
Rom. 8:10 – Christ is in you.
Rom. 8:11 – Raised to life.
Rom. 8:17 – Inheritance
Rom. 8:23 – Adopted as God’s children
Rom. 8:27 – The Spirit prays for us.
Rom. 8:28 – All things work out for good.
Rom. 8:29 – We are being made like Jesus.
Rom. 8:37 – Conquerors.
Rom. 8:39 – Never separated from God’s love.
You are God’s promise to me, and you always keep your promises to me. Help me to trust those promises especially when I’m bad and not good.
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