WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 23, 2022
TOPIC: KEEP YOUR PROMISES
BY T. O. BANSO
“So the men of Israel said, ‘Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel’” (1 Samuel 17:25 New King James Version).
David came to the battlefield where Goliath, the Philistine champion, had been intimidating and terrorizing the Israelites for forty days, challenging them to choose one of them to face him in the battle to decide the winner between the two forces. Not a single Israelite, not even their king, Saul, could accept his challenge and step forward.
Saul made a promise to reward anyone who could kill Goliath. “So the men of Israel said, ‘Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel’” (1 Samuel 17:25 New King James Version). David asked the men nearby about the reward for killing Goliath and He was told the same thing (verse 27). So it was unlikely that they misquoted Saul.
It is common knowledge that David eventually killed Goliath in this epic fight. But there is no record that Saul fulfilled the promise he made to reward whoever killed Goliath. The Bible only says Saul took David that day and would not let him go to his father’s house anymore (1 Samuel 18:2). There is no mention of rewarding him with great riches, giving him his daughter, and giving his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel as Saul was reported to have promised.
It was unlikely that Saul fulfilled this promise because after David had killed Goliath and the women began to sing in celebration and said that Saul had killed “his thousands and David his ten thousands”, Saul became angry and jealous of David and sought to kill him (verses 6-9).
Even if we give Saul the benefit of the doubt that he might have fulfilled the promise he made, the Bible makes it clear that he didn’t fulfill the aspect of the promise to give his daughter as wife to whoever killed Goliath.
Although David later married Michal, Saul’s younger daughter, it was based on a new and strange condition given by Saul who had hoped that the Philistines would kill David while trying to fulfill his condition for marrying Michal. Fortunately for David, he didn’t die. So he married Michal whom Saul still hoped to use later, and did try to use, to kill him but failed (1 Samuel 18:20-29).
If Saul had married Michal only after fulfilling a new and strange condition and not as a reward for killing Goliath as Saul had promised, it may be right to conclude that Saul didn’t fulfill other aspects of his promise.
Even before David eventually married Michal, Saul had reneged on another promise to give Merab, his older daughter, in marriage to David, which was part of his trap to kill him. Saul never said anything again about giving his daughter as a reward to David for helping him and the nation to kill Goliath.
Although David satisfied Saul’s condition to marry Merab, he refused to give her to him as his wife but gave her to another man. 1 Samuel 18:19 says, “But it happened at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife” (New King James Version).
Do you keep your promises? Does your word mean anything to you? Do you talk and talk but don’t walk the talk? If you have a reputation in your family, office, business, organization, etc. for breaking your promises as soon as you make them, it shows you lack character. And it doesn’t matter how highly placed or rich you are.
If you have a reputation for habitually breaking your promises, you don’t have a good reputation. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” (New King James Version). A good name means a good reputation. Ecclesiastes 7:1a also presents this truth in another way: “A good name is better than precious ointment” (New King James Version).
Be careful about making promises you don’t intend to keep. I’m limiting promises here to promises made to human beings; I am not extending it to vows we make to God although the same principle applies. If there is any new development why you cannot fulfil a promise you have made to someone, get back to the person in time. Don’t gloss over it or take the person for granted. It doesn’t show that you’re responsible or have any regard for the person.
In your transactions with people, don’t make empty promises just to gain an advantage or get the upper hand, win a contract, get approval, secure employment, etc. only for you not to be able to deliver when the time comes. This may result in the loss or withdrawal of any advantage may have enjoyed by being dishonest.
Many people overpromise but underdeliver. This leads to erosion of trust. Don’t promise more than you can deliver. Think through it before you make a promise so that you will not come up with excuses. In Joshua 9, the Israelites made a mistake when they were deceived by the Gibeonites to promise them that they would not attack them. But even when they discovered they had been deceived, they respected the peace treaty they had made with them; they only cursed them.
However, later in 2 Samuel 21:1, the Bible says, “Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, ‘It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites’” (New King James Version). That was wrong of Saul and his family suffered for breaking the promise the Israelites had made to the Gibeonites (verses 2-9).
Think well before you make a promise; process the information. Don’t be hasty. Make only promises you’ll keep; don’t make a promise to impress people or compete with others. Always remember your promises. That you forgot a promise is not a tenable excuse. Some promises must be written down and well documented to avoid any disagreement or confusion about the details. Keep your promises.
The world will be a better place if we all keep our promises. We need politicians, artisans, professionals, Christians, citizens, etc. who will keep their promises. In your interactions with people, keep your promises. Also, mark those who can promise the earth, those whose belief is that promises are made to be broken, and those who easily make promises but easily forget. Don’t depend on their sweet words. Don’t become a victim of their immoral habit.
Unlike Saul who reneged on his promise of reward to anyone who killed Goliath, we find another king, David, who fulfilled his promise. He had sworn to Bathsheba that Solomon, her son, would succeed him (1 Kings 1:13, 17). Despite the fact that Adonijah, the elder brother, had proclaimed himself king, when Bathsheba and later Prophet Nathan brought this to his attention, he acted swiftly and fulfilled his promise. Solomon was anointed as king while David was still alive to ensure that he fulfilled his promise (verses 29-40).
Keep your promises; don’t become a liar. Colossians 3:9 says believers should not lie to one another, since they have put off the old man with his deeds. You should also not lie to non-believers. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord but those who deal truthfully are His delight (Proverbs 12:22). Make the promises you will keep and keep the promises you make.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that 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 Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and was raised on 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: Father, forgive me for all the promises I have made but didn’t keep. I promise to keep my promises henceforth, including the promises that are still pending. Holy Spirit, help me not to be hasty in making promises; help me to think well before I make promises. I shall be quick to hear and slow to speak in Jesus’ name. I pray that those who make fake promises will repent, especially those who break the hearts of others through unfulfilled promises.
(For over 800 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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