“I promise.” Those are words you rarely hear from my mouth, and my upbringing has everything to do with it. My parents placed a premium on the truth, and lying was not tolerated. A promise was sacred and not to be spoken casually. Bottom line, if I said I was going to do something, I had better do it! I didn’t need to take extra measures to indicate that I was more serious about some commitments than others. I didn’t need extra words to prove that I was being more truthful in certain situations than others. If I said it, it needed to be true. I if committed to something, I had better do it. My life and speech needed integrity. I had better be dependable, reliable, and full of integrity. With all this said, it was extra special and sacred when I said “I promise” on November 5, 2006, as I looked into the eyes of my then-fiancé Kim and committed to love her and be faithful to her “as long as God blesses us both with life.”
This past Sunday’s sermon highlighted God in the process of fulfilling His promise to the Israelites to give them the land of Canaan. About 600–700 years earlier, God first vocalized His promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:7, 15:7). God repeated that promise over and again through the centuries and across generations. Joshua 9–10, our text from Sunday, highlights how God miraculously assisted Joshua and the Israelites in taking/receiving the southern territories of Canaan. “Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!” (Joshua 10:14). Near the end of the book (21:43, 45), I love how the conquest of Canaan was summarized:
So the Lord gave Israel all the land He had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there… Not one of the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one of them was fulfilled.
I was struck once again with the faithfulness and power of God. Not one promise failed! Every one was fulfilled! God does everything He says He will do. It may not look like we want, expect, or anticipate. It quite probably won’t be in the timing we desire. There may be seasons or centuries of struggle, waiting, and longing. But not one of God’s promises will fail.
As I reflected anew on God’s faithfulness, I was challenged when I realized how casual or disinterested I can be in God’s promises to me. How much do I hunger and thirst to know Him, what He says about life, and what He’s promised to do? How much do I trust Him? What about you? Not one of His promises to His children will fail. The challenge to those who belong to Him is to live like it. The Scriptures have infinite treasure to mine and discover. Check out these verses which point to God’s promises, and then just keep digging!
Jonathan Wiley is the Community and Connections Pastor. A native Buckeye from northeast Ohio, Jonathan met his wife, Kim, at Grace, where she has been connected since childhood. Jonathan studied business (Grace College) and theology (Grace Seminary) before working in management for a leading multi-national corporation in northern Indiana. In addition to spending time with his family, Jonathan enjoys the outdoors, water sports, handyman projects, and commiserating with Cleveland Browns fans. Jonathan and Kim have three young children.