Somehow, children become very effective psychologists without ever taking a day of Psychology Class. They learn to push Mom and Dad’s buttons really well. They learn to play Mom and Dad against each other to guilt trip their parents. (I wonder where they learn that, by the way?) They learn to pout – all kinds of methods of getting their way. Fortunately, most of us parents gradually develop some immunity to being manipulated by our kids. But I’ve got to tell you, there’s one thing my kids would say to me that grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go and almost always worked. It was those times they just said, “But, Dad, you promised!” Man, those were convicting words. If I had promised, I just had to do everything within my power to keep my promise.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Crunch Time Promises.”
Far more significant than any promises we might make to one another, even to our children, are the promises we’ve made to God. This very day, God is trying to get the attention of one of His children who’s listening right now, and He’s saying gently but firmly, “You promised.” But you’ve either forgotten what you promised or you’ve been running from what you promised.
Today would be a good day to remember what you promised God, and to recommit yourself to what you promised maybe a long time ago. Listen to these stirring words from Psalm 66:13-14, our word for today from the Word of God. “I shall come in your house with burnt offerings; I shall pay You my vows which my lips uttered and my mouth spoke when I was in distress.”
That’s often when we make our promises to God, isn’t it, when we’re “in distress.” Maybe you were in financial distress when you made God those promises, or you were facing a medical crisis or a family crisis. Maybe you promised God if He would spare your life, give you a mate or a child – meet a need only God could meet. God had your attention then, and you realized there were things that needed to be different in your life – a life, by the way, that His Son died to save.
And you made promises then: promises about your giving to His work, promises about a change in your priorities, or maybe about some sin you were going to abandon (remember?), promises about serving Him with your life, or about changing the way you were living. It was a crunch time promise, but it was a promise you meant, and it was a promise you needed to make wasn’t it? But something happened. You’ve forgotten what you promised, but God didn’t. You got past the pain and you disregarded your promise. God didn’t.
And today, your Lord is coming to you with a very important reminder, and it is straight from heaven. Listen to Him: “My child, you promised.” Frankly, until you give God what you said you’d give Him – what you should give Him – your life just isn’t going to work as it should. The end of a lot of guilt, the end of a lot of frustration, the end of a lot of wasted years will come when you say to your Lord with the psalmist of old, “I shall pay You my vows which my mouth spoke when I was in distress.” The Bible actually says, “It is better not to promise than to promise and not pay.”
The return to the promise you’ve made but maybe not kept is the beginning of fulfilling God’s destiny for your life and experiencing His peace and His joy and His pleasure. Because remember, you promised. And it was God you promised, and what you promised was right.
It’s time to keep your promise to the One who has kept every one of His promises to you.