What are promises? Or, what is a promise?
I tend to think of a promise as a set of words guaranteeing a particular action or sentiment that was shared.
“I didn’t do it. I promise!”
“I promise to do my best work.”
“I promise that I will love you forever.”
I tend to view a promise as a given – if you promise something, it is a done deal.
The Psalmist views a promise the same way. That is why God’s laws are talked about throughout Psalm 119 as a promise or a set of promises. The word is both singular and plural in my NIV translation.
The promises of God – there is no doubt in the Psalmist’s writing that these will change, evolve, or ever disappear. They ARE. They exist and therefore, they are truth.
Psalm 119:50 states “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”
I know that the Bible gives the truths that provide eternal life but I don’t often enough recognize that. “My comfort” – God gives me what I need to get through the suffering. And why do I want to come through that suffering to the other side? “Your promise preserves my life.” It is where life exists. And the promise, the word of God, is what preserves, saves, provides, that life. Beautiful!
Psalm 119:148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
That is a powerful verse to me. A powerful challenge.
Do I ever view God’s promises, His law, as so important that I stay up through the night to meditate on them? Meditation for me has gone somewhat by the wayside but I am getting better again. And this set of verses is part of what has helped me with that – these promises show me the truth, life, and comfort me. I need to be spending more time reading what God has to tell me in these promises, these laws.
There are a total of 12 verses in Psalm 119 (in the NIV) that use the word promise to refer to God’s words. These 12 verses show us much about God’s promise –
v 38 – promise fulfilled
v 41 – salvation according to the promise
v 50 – preserves life, is comfort
v 58 – promise of grace
v 76 – unfailing love, comfort
v 82 – promise is desired
v 116 – sustenance
v 140 – promises have been tested
v 148 – worth meditation
v 154 – preserve life
v 162 – rejoice in promise
v 170 – deliver according to promise
Just looking at these short phrases, not even the full verses, I see such strength to be gained, such faith. God gives us His word so that we can see the fulfillment of these promises.
Without reading the Bible, we are missing the promises of God. But most frightening is that we are missing the salvation, the life, the comfort that these promises give.
Take time to claim these promises for yourself. Read God’s word. Just begin. I am beginning once again so that I can claim the promises and the life God’s promises bring with obedience.