Promises, Promises



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Exodus 24:3–7

When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.

He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”


Have you ever made a promise you didn’t keep? Growing up, our family followed the tradition of giving something up during Lent and we carried that through with our own kids. Several of us typically chose a favorite food (mine was usually dessert) or a favorite activity and I always started out the Lenten season strong. The first week after Ash Wednesday I could stare down a piece of pie or an ice cream sundae with great resolve. The second and third weeks of Lent got a little tough because my husband’s birthday almost always fell during Lent and I began to have conversations with myself. “Well, I’m sure God wouldn’t mind if we cheated on the ‘no dessert’ promise just a little so we could celebrate, right? And we really need to celebrate with his parents too so maybe just a couple of times is okay. And the Sundays are supposed to be ‘little Easters’ so maybe I can just borrow those days and use them during the week.” Have you ever struggled with Lenten promises like I have?

In our passage today, we join the Israelites in the desert. They have been freed from slavery to the Egyptians and God has given them His presence through a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They have received miraculous provision from God in the form of manna, quail, and water. They have been given God’s direction through His commandments on how to live faithfully. What was their response? Moses built an altar to offer a sacrifice and the people made a promise. “Everything the Lord has said, we will do!”

They surrendered themselves by offering a promise to God. They offered their obedience, not once, but twice. I want to believe that as they gathered and heard Moses read the words of God, they were truly sincere in their promise just like I was with surrendering dessert during Lent. I want to believe that they meant the words they spoke aloud. Yet, if you have read much of the Old Testament, you already know that the promise of obedience did not last long.

How are you in making promises to God? Sometimes I find it easy to make a promise in the moment like when God pours out His blessings. Yes, Lord! I will obey You. Yes, Lord, I will go where You lead me and love my enemy and give sacrificially. But I’m not sure I’m much better than the Israelites in keeping my promises.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matt. 12:34). Our words are important because they reflect what is in our hearts. Do our promises reflect our commitment to the Lord or do we treat our words as if they hold no weight? Do we toss around promises like cotton candy that disappear the instant they are consumed?

We may have begun this Lenten season with a promise to spend daily time in prayer or to sacrifice a favorite food, but perhaps we should start with surrendering our promise and asking God to help us keep it.


Lord, may the words of our mouths reflect the love and devotion we have in our hearts for You. As flawed people, we know that we cannot keep all the promises we speak, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can. Amen.


In what ways have you seen the words of your mouth reflecting what is in your heart? What is a promise you can make for this Lenten season that reflects your love for God?

For the Awakening,
Susan Kent

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

4 Responses

  1. Promises abound. People make promises, from wedding vows to product advisements to political guarantees. We make promises of commitment, promises of performance, and warranty promises of longevity. Promises are promised on conditions. If you do this, I promise to do that. Promises are loosely tossed around like hot potatoes; everyone wants someone else to keep them.
    Yet, God is the only true promise keeper. Unlike us, He cannot act or be anything different than He is. He cannot unlove us or go against His Word; otherwise, His Word would be death and not Living.
    Promises bring pressure.
    There’s an old business saying, “Promise less, deliver more.”
    Maybe instead of promising negotiations with God, we walk in Him through Spirit and life, so no promises are necessary.

    Ephesians 2:10
    For we are his workmanship, created IN Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk IN them.

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power

  2. I believe that our promises reflect our good intentions. The problem is that ever since the Fall, we are part of a broken creation. Personally, during Lent, rather than making promises to abstain from something that might give me pleasure, I ask God to grant me grace to refrain from actions that come between me and him. In this way, this becomes more than just a temporary form of fasting. It becomes with His help, another step towards growing in holiness, or His image. This is my ultimate goal.

  3. Human promises fail
    But the Jesus touch
    Will always prevail!

    The Jesus touch
    Is need much!
    Let your heart unfold
    With the will of God
    Till His Spirit flows
    As sap in the vine
    And grows you to be
    His fruit-bearing tree.
    Where love, joy and peace
    Ever increase.

    Let Jesus touch your heart
    With light from His Presence
    And fill you with His Essence
    Until tender tears begin
    Flowing with awe from within.

    “God with us,”
    “Christ in you,”
    It’s time to live
    Like this is true
    So Christ can prune you
    And do what He wants to
    Both within and through you!

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