Man's Promises or God's Promises
Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before
them all these words which the LORD commanded him. Then all the people
answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do."
The promises of the old covenant of law depend upon the performance
of man. "You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which
if a man does, he shall live by them" (Leviticus 18:5). The better
promises of the new covenant of grace depend upon the performance of
God. "I will make a new covenant . . . I will put My law in their
minds" (Jeremiah 31:31, 33).
When man attempts to live under the law (thereby needing to perform
up to God's standards by human resources), he typically tries to live
by his promises to God. Israel was a vivid example of this futile
tendency. "All that the LORD has spoken we will do." This
well-intended promise to God was consistently broken. Moses' words are
a stinging indictment of the vanity of basing life with God on our
promises to Him. "You have been rebellious against the LORD from the
day that I knew you" (Deuteronomy 9:24).
The desire to obey God appropriately resides within the hearts of His
children, but a better way to obedience must be found than relying
upon our promises to God. That better way is the path of grace, which
offers a life based upon God's promises to man. "I will give you a new
heart and [I will] put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart
of stone out of your flesh and [I will] give you a heart of flesh. I
will put My Spirit within you and [I will] cause you to walk in My
statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them" (Ezekiel
We are to live by the promises of God to us (instead of by our
promises to Him). Living by God's promises produces a growing
confidence in the Lord, a confidence that results from His unique
character. "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man,
that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He
spoken, and will He not make it good? " (Numbers 23:19). Man may make
promises to God, but, eventually, he will fail. God is not like man.
God is true to His word. He will not lie, nor will He change His mind.
Whatever He says, He will do! We can fully rely upon the promises of
God that we find in His word.
Lord God of truth, forgive my multiplied attempts to develop a
Christian walk by my promises to You. Lord, You know how often I have
failed. What a joyous option this is to live by Your promises to me!
Please teach me how to think and live this way, in Jesus name, Amen