Today’s reading focuses on God’s promises. What He says, you can believe. He cannot lie and there is none higher than Him.
Being our author it writing to Jewish believers, he uses one of their greatest faith examples; that of Abraham. All of his readers can recount this story but they may not have thought of it in the same terms he presents it to them now. He focuses on surety of God’s promise.
We all make promises but not all of them are created equal. Some of the examples that come to my mind are the “pinky swear”, “pie crust promises”, “solemn promise”, “vows”, “covenants” and “contracts.” I’m sure I missed a few. The point is this; with each of these promises there is an understanding of strength of commitment between the two parties. To a child, you can’t get more serious that the “pinky swear” or “cross your heart” promise. But even that ultimate childhood promise is only as good as the persons making it.
A “pie crust promise” is the weakest form of promise; easily made and easily broken. It often feels like that one is the most common one in our society today. Even the wedding vows have taken on this connotation. It reminds me of Hazel, the maid on It’s a Wonderful Life, who had money set aside for a divorce, if she ever got a husband. She was expecting to break any wedding vow promise before she even made it. Sounds a lot like today’s attitude.
God’s promises are different. He NEVER made a promise that He wasn’t prepared to keep. ALL His promises are true and are “covenant” promises. In a covenant, even if one party does not live up to their part of the bargain, the other is not released from theirs. In a covenant, the party not getting their needs met supports the failing party so they can meet their obligations. A covenant is a perpetual promise and though not legally binding, is spiritually binding. Covenants depend on the integrity and values of the individuals entering into the agreement. This is a “character” promise. It’s strength is dependent on the strength of character of the parties. God’s character is beyond reproach! If He says it, it is as good as done.
God used that same kind of promise with Adam and Eve regarding a Savior. It took a LONG time before it actually came to pass, but come it (He) did. Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise. He is our intermediary between us and God; our High Priest. He paved the way into God’s presence for us with His blood. Next time we will look a little closer at the typology of Jesus’ Priesthood.
Father God, thank You that I can trust You to keep Your word no matter what. There is NO higher name or greater integrity than Yours. Thank You that Your promises are covenants. I especially liked reading the facts between the two kinds of promises. The one that fills me with the most hope is the part about You supporting me to help me meet my end of the agreement. You don’t punish me for falling short but lift me up so I can rise to the occasion. Thank You for always being faithful even, and especially, when I’m not.