Does God always keep his promises? If he does, people might have reason to fear.
God’s blessings have conditions.
These days, I seldom hear a preacher talk about God’s promises of judgment. Maybe that idea is difficult to sell. I know I’d rather hear about all the good things. Do I really want to hear about what I must give up to have them?
The Bible is God’s promise box.
I remember a little box on the dining room table and pulling out one of the little cards each morning, to strengthen my faith as a child. The Lord had plans to prosper me (Jeremiah 29:11). He would give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4). I could do anything through Christ, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
That little box contained no promise of God’s wrath, just mercy, kindness, and hope. But the Bible makes quite clear what I should expect if I choose not to follow him but decide to go my own way. God’s wrath comes to the children of disobedience (Colossians 3:6). Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed (Mark 4:22). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
God promises judgment.
I can’t recall one time when my dad ever broke a promise. “Frankie, he said, “you’re getting a spanking when we get home.”
My prayers began in earnest. God, please him to forget, just this one time? I agonized over my misbehavior, wishing I could erase that part of my past. The more I thought about the promise, the more I dreaded seeing the belt in my father’s hands in that come-to-meet-Jesus meeting in the basement. “I’ll never do it again,” I screamed.
The tears in my father’s eyes revealed the extent to which he shared my pain. Why did he have to keep his promise? He wanted me to change my ways.
With those experiences, I soon learned which side of God’s promises I wanted to be on.
I dare not misinterpret God’s promises.
The promises of God aren’t leverage to force him to do what I want. Some people think the promises of God are “yea and amen,” as if he is duty bound to fulfill whatever I declare. That’s not a very good interpretation of Scripture.
I need to answer God in the way I responded to my dad’s direction: “Yes, sir. Whatever you want, sir. Just tell me. I’ll do it without question.”
To experience God’s promises, we must always say yes to him, just as Jesus did. For when we are in complete agreement with his purpose, we share his achievements and glory. — 2 Corinthians 1:20