Childhood memories. Along with the pleasant recollections, I do remember getting in trouble on occasion. One time I got caught doing something I wasn't supposed to. Boy was I sorry. I reassured my parents I wouldn't do it again, and promised them, "I'll be good!" I think I repeated that phrase over and over in hopes that I could lighten my punishment. I received a well-deserved spanking in spite of my promises.
My guess is that I stayed out of trouble for awhile - the stinging repercussions of my behavior serving as inspiration to do what I was told. But more than likely, given the passage of time and the right temptation, I'm sure I broke my heartfelt promise to be 'good.'
Fact is, all of us humans struggle to keep our promises. Oh, we have good intentions, but when circumstances change, we justify breaking our word. Remember Pharaoh in the book of Exodus? He and his people experienced horrific plagues that caused severe damage. Over and over he pleaded with Moses to call on God to remove each plague. He assured Moses that he'd let the Israelites go to sacrifice to their God, if the plague was eliminated.
Pharaoh was desperate, yet his response was the same every time each plague was removed, "But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them (Moses and Aaron); as the Lord had said," (Exodus 8:15; KJV; words in italics mine). He promised to let the Israelites go if the plagues disappeared, but when there was relief, he went back on his word every time. The last plague, death of every firstborn, finally convinced Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go. But not for long...
As the Israelites fled from the land of Egypt, Pharaoh and his army realized what they had done - let their entire workforce leave. You guessed it! Pharaoh goes back on his word one last time, "...Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him," (Exodus 14:5b-6).
But God wasn't caught by surprise. God instructed Moses to encourage the Israelites, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace," (Exodus 14: 13-14). The Israelites walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. When the Egyptians began to pursue them, the water the Lord had parted, crashed down on the army leaving no survivors.
The God who kept His promises way back in the days of Moses, still keeps His promises today. He promises to forgive my sins (1 John 1:9), to be with me (Hebrews 13:5), to meet all of my needs (Philippians 4:19), to finish the work He's begun in me (Philippians 1:6). "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever," (Hebrews 13:8). Know that what He promises, He'll deliver. You have His word on it!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for reminding me of Your faithfulness. You always keep Your promises. Forgive me when I break my word. Help me to take refuge and find encouragement in the promises You lay out in Your Word. In Jesus' name, Amen.