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Lenten Devotional – Day 22 – Promises

Scripture Readings:  Genesis 47:27-48:7;   1 Corinthians 10:1-13;   Mark 7:1-23

Promises, promises, promises—we all make them to our families, friends and business associates. How good are we at keeping them?

One could say that The Scriptures represent God’s promises to mankind, and we take great comfort in knowing that God keeps his promises. In Genesis we read about Jacob and Joseph and see evidence of God fulfilling his promise to “to make you (Jacob) fruitful and increase your numbers” (Genesis 48:3-4).

As Jacob is nearing the end of his life he asks Joseph “to swear” to him that he will carry him out of Egypt and bury him in their burial place. I don’t know about you, but when someone asks me “to swear,” it gets my attention. But why?

Wikipedia puts it this way: “to swear” refers to “an oath” as a promise calling upon something or someone that the oath maker considers sacred, usually God, as a witness to the binding nature of the promise or the truth of the statement of fact.

Many of us have been sworn under oath “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Many have vowed to “have and to hold someone until death do us part.” Some have made special vows to God in ordained ministries. During our Baptismal Services we join with those who are committing themselves to Christ and renew our own baptismal covenant (vow). As parents and god parents we stand before God and our fellow Christians and vow that we “turn to Christ and accept him as our Savior.”

Reading on in today’s scriptures we hear another promise from God in 1 Corinthians 10:13: No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

No matter what we are facing, we aren’t alone, and it’s not the first time that someone has had to deal with this situation. Perhaps our greatest test is in remembering this “promise” from God and having faith that He always keeps his promises. We will be challenged, but He will give us strength to endure.

Lastly, in Mark’s Gospel Jesus tells the Pharisees “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7:6). “Whatever goes into a person cannot defile, for it is from within, from the human heart that evil intentions come” (Mark 7:18).

During this season of Lent may we be mindful that God doesn’t want our “lip service.” He wants our “heart service.” He wants our promise, our oath, and our sacred vow to take Him into our hearts so that His word “may be fruitful and multiply.”






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