When someone made promises, most often politicians on TV, that were baseless and unable to be kept, my mother would reply with “Promises, Promises”. Even as a small child I knew that meant she had no expectation of that promise being kept. Making empty promises is the action of people who say whatever needs to be heard in order to get their way.
In the Old Testament, the Lord gave the people of Israel a covenant or promise in the form of an Ark. Inside the Ark were three things. A golden jar holding the manna from heaven, Aaron’s rod (which had budded), and the tablets of Covenant or 12 commandments. These items represented God’s provision, priesthood, and God’s law. The Lord’s promise to take care of the Israelites was represented in within the Ark.
She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.” 1 Samuel 4:22 NIV
God’s promise is strong. When the ark was returned to Israel it was because Samuel had interceded on the behalf of the people. He told them if they forsook all other gods and served only the Lord, the Lord would deliver them from the Philistines.
“So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 7:3 NIV
In the New Testament, God sent his only begotten son as an Ark, a new promise. Within Jesus were the law, the provision, and the priesthood. His death wiped us clean of our sins as the ultimate sacrifice.
God’s promise is indeed strong. Like the Israelites of yesterday, Christians of today have the promise and spiritual protection of the Lord.
“In His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” 1 Peter 1:3-4, NIV
When we walk away from our faith, when we allow the Ark to be taken from us, we suffer the consequences spiritually and, as the Philistines found out, physically. Worry, doubt, and anxiety are the products of the world. When we turn from Christ, we turn to the world. Look around today and know that the Lord has been removed from many things. He has slowly been edged out in favor of worldly principles.
Chapter 6 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, it talks about 12 Promises that will be kept if you follow the directions. The twelfth promise is that God will wipe you spiritually clean of your past transgressions and protect you again.
“Promise 12: We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” Chapter 6 pages 83-84 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
People make promises. Turn on the TV and watch your politician make all sorts of them. None of which can actually be kept. They are baseless and made for personal gain. Friends, neighbors and family can all make promises to you. The alcoholic and the drug addict are champs at promise-making. The problem is that all of these promises are empty. The only promise, the only Covenant that can be kept every time is the one from the Lord. That promise, even if you turn your heart from God, is still there and ready for you any time you want it.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV