WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 11, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T PROMISE HELP YOU CAN’T GIVE
BY T. O. BANSO
“The town of Aczib has deceived the kings of Israel, for it promised help it could not give” (Micah 1:14b New Living Translation).
If there is any group of people often accused of not keeping promises made, it is the politicians. People always say politicians make promises only to get votes but forget as soon as they make the promises. Even when they voluntarily make a promise to help a community; they should not celebrate until they fulfil the promise. The breaking of promises has caused distrust or a crisis of confidence between the government and the people.
Soviet statesman, Nikita Khrushchev, is quoted as saying, “Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there’s no river.” Obviously, he didn’t have a pedestrian bridge in mind. It appears it is a global phenomenon that politicians over-promise but under-deliver.
I believe it is better to under-promise and over-deliver. Although some have said that if you do this, people won’t appreciate you for going the extra mile, I believe it is better. Roman writer, Publilius Syrus, says, “Never promise more than you can perform.”
Nevertheless, it is not only politicians who are guilty of making promises to help but fail to keep it. So many relationships have been destroyed because some people promised to help other persons but failed to fulfill their promises. Sometimes such people even make themselves unreachable or inaccessible after making the promises!
We all know that human beings have limitations and sometimes people have a wrong assessment of others, thinking they could be able to help them. Sometimes those approached for help sincerely want to help but have challenges that make it impossible for them to help. However, one thing one should avoid is making a promise to help when it is evident that one doesn’t have the capacity or means to do so. Nobody should yield to any pressure to make promises to help when he knows he can’t help. Perhaps, the person just wants to look good before others.
When you promise to help people, you raise their hope. It is better not to commit yourself than to make a promise and not be able to deliver. You would have succeeded in giving the person false hope. You disappoint his expectation when you fail to keep your promise. If your promise to help is dependent on some expectations that you also have, make it clear. Let him know that the help from you is not confirmed. God may have someone else He wants to use to help the person.
You must understand that not everybody is mature. Some people forget that the help they are seeking is not a right but a favour. They approach people for help as if they owe them. They have false expectations from people, forgetting that they have their personal challenges and other people they are helping already or have promised to help.
You must be careful when you make promises to help people with an entitlement mentality. If you are not sure you would be able to help, don’t commit yourself. They may likely get bitter if you have to tell them later that you are sorry that you could not help as promised. They would forget that you’re a human being, not God.
Maybe sometimes some people behave or give the wrong impression that they are God! Therefore, they run into trouble with the people they have promised to help without thinking it through. They are accused of being a liar or of disappointing them.
Be careful. Micah 1:14b says, “The town of Aczib has deceived the kings of Israel, for it promised help it could not give” (Micah 1:14 New Living Translation). Please read it again. Don’t be like this town. Don’t deceive others by promising help that you cannot give. It is only God that has no limitation. It is only God that can do everything. If people approach you for help that is beyond your power, don’t promise what you cannot give. People can overrate you but if you don’t know your true level, you have a big problem!
Furthermore, understand that what is difficult or impossible for you to do could easily be accomplished by another person. The world doesn’t end with you. Promise only what you can deliver. The person who is seeking help has the right to reject it if he doesn’t want it. But you shouldn’t try to live a lie by promising what you cannot give. Be true to yourself and others.
Proverbs 25:14 says, “Whoever falsely boasts of giving is like clouds and wind without rain” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation puts it this way: “A person who doesn’t give a promised gift is like clouds and wind that don’t bring rain.” Clouds and wind that don’t bring rain only raise false hope of rain. They disappoint people’s expectations. However, clouds that bring rain, makes the hearts of people glad.
Be faithful. David says in Psalm 12:1, “Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men” (New King James Version). Also, Proverbs 20:6 says, “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man” (New King James Version). Be faithful man or woman. Be a man or woman of your word.
If you’re going to be faithful, you nust think before you make a promise to help. You won’t promise the help you cannot give, thereby making an unnecessary enemy for yourself. Of course, there are some people who are going to take you as an enemy because you cannot help them or you are not helping them up to what they expected.
In Joshua 6:20-25, we see how the two Israelites sent to Jericho as spies before the Israelites attacked the city kept the promise they made to Rahab to spare her life and the lives of her family members who would be with her in her house. Rahab had hidden the spies during their mission. When she made the request, they didn’t promise her what they couldn’t give. They knew they could.
After they had entered Jericho following the fall of the wall, Joshua said to the two spies, “Keep your promise. Go to the prostitute’s house and bring her out, along with all her family” (verses 22 New Living Translation). They went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all the other relatives who were with her. Rahab and her family were moved to a safe place near the camp of Israel. She helped the spies and they helped her, too.
It is a mark of integrity to keep your promises. It is not only your vows to God you must fulfil as the Bible says (Deuteronomy 23:21-23; Ecclesiastes 5:4-5; Psalms 50:14; 76:11; Proverbs 20:25; Job 22:27). You must also keep the promises you make to others, especially to help them.
David had made a promise to Bathsheba by an oath that Solomon would succeed him (1 Kings 1:17). But Adonijah, his elder brother, got some people to his side and proclaimed himself king. Bathsheba and, later, the prophet Nathan brought this to David’s attention. He could have said it was too late to do anything. No, he acted swiftly and fulfilled his promise. David proclaimed Solomon as king and commanded that he should be anointed as king (verses 28-40). He showed he was a man of integrity.
Don’t have a reputation for breaking promises and dashing people’s hopes. If for any reason beyond your control you cannot fulfil your promise, let the person know in time. But let it not be that you deceived the person or lived a lie. Whatever you sow is what you will reap (Galatians 6:7).
Proverbs 22:1 says, “Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold” (New Living Translation). Presenting this truth in another way, Ecclesiastes 7:1a says, “A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume” (New Living Translation).
Promise only what you can give. Don’t play to the gallery. Don’t live a lie. Don’t try to impress anyone. Proverbs 3:27-28 says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you’” (New Living Translation). Nevertheless, it is better not to make a promise at all and help, than to promise help you cannot give.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall not promise help that I cannot give in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, help me to keep my promises. I shall not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in my power to help them. I shall not be like clouds and wind without rain.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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