He Kept His Painful Promise

  • Friday, April 9, 2010

  • God keeps His promises, even when keeping His word brings Him great pain!

    "Promises were made to be broken" - Aesop, ancient fabulist and author of Greek fables.

    I love pithy statements...those insightful declarations that get right to the point, communicate a message and do it with an economy of words. (I know, you wonder why I don't apply this passion to my Sunday sermons!) The kind of things often associated with Yogi Berra. "There is a steakhouse in Dallas no one goes to anymore, because they are always full." Actually, on an interview on one of the news programs, I heard Yogi say, "Most of the things I said, I never said." In other words, if people wanted their pithy lines to be remembered, they would attach his name to them as the wordsmith, but in reality he probably never said it!

    I found the same thing has happened with 5th century b.c. Greek author, Aesop. Just google his name and numerous pages of quotes appear. But most are Aesop-like, rather than Aesop original. Here's a sampling of what I enjoyed:
    • "The injuries we do and the injuries we suffer are seldom weighed in the same scales." How true!
    • "It is easy to be brave from a safe distance."
    • "After all is said and done, more is said than done." Isn't THAT the truth!
    • "A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth."
    • "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office!" I LOVED that one! 
    And then there are some select ones on promises made:
    • "If we got 1/10th of what was promised to us in these acceptance speeches, there wouldn't be any inducement to go to heaven."- Will Rogers
    • "A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain." - Arabian Proverb
    • "God promises a safe landing but not a calm passage." - Bulgarian Proverb
    • "One must have a good memory to keep the promises one makes." - Nietzsche, German Philosopher of the late 1800's
    • "God's promises shine on your problems." - Corrie ten Boom of "Hiding Place" fame
    • "A promise made is a debt unpaid." - Anonymous (probably the most quoted author of all) 
    Promises easily slide off our tongues. "If you wait a little bit, maybe I will take you to the park." The intention is likely more to buy some momentary tranquility rather than to arrange an hour of life in the stream of busyness to actually invest in the child. There is often an unspoken hope that it will begin to rain and the interruption of the promised park event can be avoided while still at least appearing that the promise was legitimate.

    Or, "We would LOVE to come for dinner! Just let us know when and what time." Then, no sooner has the conversation been completed and you find yourself busy searching for a "legitimate" excuse to cancel.

    And ancient Greek author of fables, Aesop, becomes our guiding theme. "Promises were made to be broken."

    As I have meditated on the 18th and 19th chapters of John over the past several weeks, one particular theme has been bold in the text before me. "...to fulfill the word of Jesus..." (John 18:32)

    And, "...to fulfill scripture..." (3 times in John 19:24, 28, 36)

    Then, "and again another scripture says..." (John 19:37)

    My point? When God makes a promise, God fulfills His promise. EVEN when keeping His word brings great pain! Centuries before, God had promised that the war against the Evil One would involve the sacrificial death of His very own Son. And on the night before that sacrificial Lamb was offered up, that very Son pleaded with His Father for another way. "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me!" But God had promised. And Christ had committed ("The Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world"). The amazing truth so boldly displayed in the death of Jesus the Christ is that God keeps His promises, even when keeping His word brings Him great pain!

    Oh, by the way. Aesop's quote is NOT, "Promises were made to be broken." The proper rendering of his statement is, "ENEMIES promises were made to be broken."

    God, our loving Father, and His Son, our gracious redeemer, keeps His promises, even when keeping His word brings Him great pain. Behold the promises of God...His only begotten Son displayed on the Cross!


    Post a Comment