Wednesday: Promises, Promises . . .

(Matt. 5:33-37)

Image © Providence Collection from

Image © Providence Collection from

The first two antitheses (murder and adultery) are based on the Decalogue. The antithesis regarding divorce and the ones that follow are taken from other sections of the Mosaic law, including the one about swearing falsely and performing oaths to the Lord.

Read Leviticus 19:11-13. What specific points do we find here? See also Exod. 20:7.

The Mosaic law, from which Jesus quotes, is listed in a section of Leviticus that condemns a number of deceptive practices. Here again it is evident that Jesus’ concern is with the intentions. Anyone who makes a promise with no intention of fulfilling it has made a conscious decision to sin.

Though the command against swearing falsely relates to promises made to other people, the second command concerns promises made to God.

Read Deuteronomy 23:21-23. In what way do these verses relate to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:33-37? See also Acts 5:1-11.

Unlike the person guilty of false swearing, the one who makes a financial pledge to God is not necessarily intending to defraud. However, Jesus knows human nature and cautions against making promises that one may later regret. Rather than making promises that may not even be in the power of the individual to fulfill, a Christian should be a person of integrity whose yes means yes and no means no.

Think about a time that you made a promise (either to a person or to God) that you intended to keep but ultimately didn’t. How can you learn to be careful about this problem? What about promises to yourself that you have reneged on?



Wednesday: Promises, Promises . . . — 31 Comments

  1. I have made certain promises to God either to do or refrain from doing certain things. One of my main promise is that I will not gamble (pokies).It is almost a month after I have made the promises and requested several people to pray about my covenant to God. However, I have failed miserably in keeping my promises. Today's lesson has really haunted me. I am now wondering if I had made a sin which God will not forgive me coz i have specifically sweared in God's name. To make it even worse, my promises have been written. Can someone please shed some light on my predicament. Moreover, my fellow christian friends, I need your prayers. Thanks

    • Go before the Lord snd except His forgiveness, He is a lovimg God not a vengeful one satan wants you to feel unworthy of His love and forgiveness

    • G'day Jeff,

      You are not alone. First and foremost we all have to be honest with ourselves in these matters. Being honest with ourselves goes along way toward fixing our problems. It enables us to acknowledge we have a problem.

      I used to drink a fair bit of alcohol before I came back to church. When I gave up, I didn't make a promise to give up. I just decided to not drink any more. I also had a bottle of rum in the cupboard which I kept there. I used an indelible ink marker to draw a line at where the level of the contents was. I was able to look at that bottle of rum and confirm that the level hadn't changed. I hadn't had any. That bottle sat there for two years. It got to the point where I had forgotten about it. My mother, bless her, found it one day and asked me questions about it. I showed her the mark and told her what it was for. It made her happy.

      I cannot say that this technique would work for you. The important thing is not to make promises to yourself or to God. Just be honest with yourself, and start each day with the decision not to play the pokies. Talk to God about your decision. Talk to your church friends about it. Maybe have a money jar or something that you can put spare money into. Choose a special project that you would really love to save some money for. Don't make a promise. Just resolve each day that at the end of the day the money that didn't go into the pokies can go into that jar. Thank God that you are able to put the money into the jar. When the jar is full, use it for your special project.

      If you happen to screw up and end up losing the money, then try again. Remember to talk to God about your special project. Remember it is not a promise you are making, it is something you want to do.

      Maybe you could even post a note here on the forums and tell us how you are going with it. From time to time, tell us how full your jar is and your plans for when it is full. I am sure the moderators won't mind if you do.

      In the mean time Jeff, we can be praying for you. We can continue to keep you in our prayers that you meet your goals: to fill the jar; to complete your special project what ever it will be; to give up playing the pokies.

      May God be with you, mate.

  2. My understanding then on today's section is that sin is like a back ground app, it is working to convince us into a wrong action or decision. Lev 19:11-13
    In fact that is how it began in Heaven with Satan. And even with Eve.
    We try to asses people by reading body language, eye contact, maybe even facial features, so that we can determine if that one is trustworthy.
    Jesus taught that our yes must be yes and no be no - proved by our actions. Only a regenerated mind under the control of the Holy Spirit can do that.

  3. Pray for i am found guilty of taking false oaths to God. anyway i know that God loves unless i deceive very greately! Sometimes i imagine how many books in heaven fully recorded my sins! I am found guilty in this week lesson pray for me.

    • Deo, there is no condition on God's love. How do I know this?

      Does the lost lamb have to find its way back home, or does the Good Shepherd search for it until it is found?

      Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden. Why did God look for them in the Garden?

      He didn't need to ask questions, He knew where they were because no one can hide from Him. He knew they had sinned because nothing escapes Him. He asked questions for Adam's and Eve's sake, not his own. He sought them out for their sake so that He could redeem them.

      When we sin, Jesus comes seeking us out. Not for His sake, but because of His unconditional love He seeks us out for our sake so that He can redeem us. Let No one tell you any different.

      There is no sin so bad that it renders us unredeemable. We are only lost if we reject His mercy.

  4. This weeks lesson is really challenging me. The Lord is pulling at my heart strings but I just cannot seem to repent. My marriage is really draining and I am deprrssed every day but know one knows it accept God. What makes it worse I have committeg adultery in my thort, mind and in action and cannot seem to stop what I am doing. I am asking God to change me to be the person that he wants me to be but I am finding it hard. I have asked God on my bended knees to please forgive me over and over but I feel I am just a fraud as I keep making the same mistakes. My fellow Christians, I am asking you to please keep me in your prayers.

    • My brethren, we cannot change ourselves. The Holy Ghost can change you and make you into a vessel for him. Sin is so terrible, it leads us to addiction, we get to like it so much and hate what is right. see Roman 7:14-25. God is all powerful, all mighty, all able to deliver. He delivered Joseph, he can deliver you. Added to prayer list

    • Don't give up. Talk to your Pastor (if you believe him trustworthy) Don't think your the only one for you are not.
      I know this is a very private matter but their are forums that give anonymity to help you feel safe voicing your problems.
      Daily Strength is a wonderful forum to try.
      Again, don't give up.
      God be with you.

    • Hi phoebe, keep praying. You can do it. With God's help you can overcome everything. Focus on your faith first, get close to God. Get really close. Do not focus on your problem right away. With your faith increasing, then your willingness to sin will decrease. You will make mistakes, but think of it this way, when you get close to God, you make 5 steps forward, when you sin, you take 1 step backward. At least you already taken 4 steps forward. Just dont step back to far. Read and meditate on the bible daily. It will be hard and grueling, but the reward will be priceless. Hope this helps.

      • Hi Joey. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and encouragement. I am doing just as you said. Taking each day as it comes. I am filling up my days with good things and focussing and meditating on God's word which are always a comfort. I appreciate your comments and prayers. God bless.

  5. Hi Jeff,
    I've been in the same position and it is quite scary. But the Lord knows your heart. He knows that you didn't set out to lie to him but that you genuinely want to stop. He is loving and His mercies are new EVERY morning. The Lord is ready to welcome you into Hos arms with love, in fact you probably never left His embrace. But now that you know the right thing no excuses. Philippians 1:6 would be great to read right now, remember you're a work in progress!

  6. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

    Abraham did not have a son because he promised God, but because God promised him. We will be saved not by our promises to God but by His promises to us. Our promises to God will never free us from addictions, but His promises will free us from addictions and enable us to share in His divine nature and escape the world's corruptible addictions.

    By the way, no reason to continue the age old argument of whether or not Jesus took on fallen or unfallen human nature. Peter does not tell us to share in Jesus' human nature. Peter promises we can share in his divine nature here on earth!

    Instead of promising God you will be a Christian, ask Him to promise you! He keeps His promises!

    • Thanks William for pointing out the difference between God's promises and our promises.

      God has the power to free us from addictions when we are ready to be free.

      I hope everyone reads your comment because it is important to know that God keeps his promises.

  7. The SDA church has a wonderful program that is called "Investment" and many people in the church would choose a project and give an offering to the Lord which goes towards Evangelism. Now, I would suggest, that like Jeff or others, who have had "problems" with either "pokies", lottery, smoking, or alcohol to try "Investing" them for the Lord. When you feel the urge or desire, or just want to support evangelism, put the money in a container, or pan and pray and tell the Lord this is for Evangelism, You, 'Lord have prevented me from committing the social evils', and this money is to win some souls and to build up Your kingdom. I have done "Investment" many times, and it has worked. I have read stories of people who have dedicated "barren" trees or animals, and they were made productive and blessed by God to produce abundantly for Evangelism. Try the Lord! He will work for you! Make a promise to evangelize!

    • Jeanette, as I have understood “investment” it was more about seeing God’s hand working something that seems impossible to us. It was designed to be a faith builder which provided a secondary blessing in financially helping with the work of the Gospel. In Jeff’s case what he needs is a bronze serpent on a pole (Num 21:8) and to realize that God can do anything (Mat 19:24-26).

  8. • Promises, Promises. Other words that can be interchanged for a promise is: an oath/ an agreement/covenant/or a contract. What does it mean to God? What does it mean to me? What does it mean to others who I associate myself with? (My job, my family, my friends). I was told there are approximately 3000 promises in the bible. God is the one who offers the contract at times because he knows what is good for humans. See Deuteronomy 28-30. When the children of Israel were given the words of God, the agreed to abide by the contract/covenant see exodus 20: 18-21. The stated several times, “all that the Lord says, we will do”. Just to know it was one of the same old broken ones yes again. Do we also say the same in our times?
    • Some promises come with a condition, “if”, and “then”. See Solomon prayer. But God is who He is, merciful forever. Even when we do not deserve it, He still gives us what is best for us.
    • Have you ever been in a tight spot (between death and the deep blue sea). We go to God and plea with Him to help us. We plea and pray, pray and plea like never before. We tell the Lord, if the Lord just does this or that for us or someone who we love, what we will do/not do in return for him. Then when the Lord keeps his promise, just to know we are far from our part of the promise, we either forget or refused to acknowledge our part. My brethren, sin is so terrible it makes us break our promise with our Father over and over again and again. I cannot change myself. The question is asked, can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leper his spots? If the answer is yes, then you can change yourselves. If the answer is no, then we want an outer source to change us to help us keep the promises. see Revelation 3:20. Only God can help me keep my promises, though subtle it may appear.
    • The answer to human problems lies in the bible and the bible only. See Hebrews 8. Revelation 3:20 will begin the work in us and Hebrews 8:10-13 will finish the work in us. I long for those texts to become a reality in my soul, spirit, mind and body. We will not need to be blogging to each other anymore; we will all know the Lord. Let us all pray for one another.

  9. Hi Jeff, greetings from your sister in Christ. Welcome to our sinfulness, and broken promises, it is so great to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master, where he lead us day by day in our sabbath school lessions that open our eyes to things that we are blind to, or we sometimes think it is okay within ourselves, but is not right with God.

    Our lessons is so powerful for these last few months that it is giving us a wider vision and better understanding of his word, as we walk with our SaviorJesus Christ. As The Lord open the eyes of the blind man , that was blind from birth, so he is opening ours that is blind even through our Christian walk with him, that is why we really have to ask him each day for the baptism of the Holy Spirit to walk us throug each, and also as we enter each new day.

    Praise God for his love, his Mercies that allows us to recieive his Grace Amen. Brothers and sisters let us not attend our churches on Sabbath, only let's not forget Wendsay or Tuesday, what ever day your church gives weeknight prayer services, it's only for an hour, that is also part of our promises to God. God. God loves when two three together one more time in his name to sing and pray and praise his name, bringing our troubles to him praying for our dying world, bringing our families to him praying for our Pastor, Elders, Deacons, & Deaconesses, our churches, brothers and sisters God is waiting for our prays. He said pray ye one for another, so let encourage each other to meet with our Saviour once again in giving praise to his holy name, and giving thanks for his daily bread.

    Jeff, about the putting of the money into jar that may help you keep your promises to God is a good idea, but what about also giving it to a church project, or send for thirteen Sabbath,or for mission offerings around the world, to help Gods word grow, while you watch your blessings from God grow in you,and see all promises fulfill, and the same time see your special gift that God allows you to give do his work, that also helps you and me in our efforts to see how great God is, and stay away from self, and give all Honor and Praise to him, so we could see even clearer, and not stay blinded. Amen.

  10. I sure appreciate the honesty of the people who shared from their heart. My prayers are with you all so that you can stand strong for Jesus. He loves you passionately and He is on your team. God Bless you!

  11. Phoebe, I can relate to your demise. I too feel as you do. Remember that Jesus forgives us our sins and remembers them no more. We should do the same. What your thinking that your hopelessly lost remember what your thinking comes from the devil. He will be you to the ground and make you feel you are lost forever. Focus on Jesus and claim His promises and know that you are forgiven. I'll be praying for you. God Bless you and focus on Him

  12. I just read this lesson and it got me inspired. I lost my virginity in 2010 and ever since i have been battling with the sin of adultry until december last year when i took an oarth to never induldge in sexual intercourse until my wedding night with the man the Lord has chosen for me

    Temptation is strong and i sometimes feel weak but i thank him that up to now he keeps me strong but i need my strength renewrd each day

  13. Only God can fulfil His promises.Lets take Christ's admonition never to promise seriously.Lets rely on God's promises,for we know He fufils.Ours is to say YES or NO.

  14. Hi I have read this week lesson and it moves me so much I am guilty of most of what this lesson is telling us about . So i am asking my fellow sisters and brothers to pray for me that I will be a better Christian thank you .

  15. Thanks Owen, Sacha, Jeanette, Dagmar and rest of you fellow christians for your marvelous words of encouragment. I will definitely take on board the suggestions about putting money in a jar and use it for valuable projects to support the gospel. I will certainly keep you all posted on the forums about my progress from time to time. Through the grace of God, I want to expand my time and resources in God's minsitry and reap the good fruits of such investment. Please once again consider me in your prayers.

    • Dear Jeff,

      I believe that, as you focus on God's promises, rather than your own, you will see victories in your life. The Israelites failed miserably at Sinai, after the promised to God that "All that the Lord has said, we will do." That's because they focused on their promises.

      When you focus on God's promises and on His mission on this planet, you will see that there is so much to do in partnership with God, that you will not have time for the things you shouldn't be doing. And you will gradually lose your desire to do those things.

      By all means keep us posted on your progress. 🙂

  16. Someone shared this with me this morning. It gave me much comfort and assurance regarding my besetting sins. I hope you will be encouraged by it also.


    I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins, Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. Isaiah 43:25, 26. – {HP 116.1}
    Satan will come to you saying, You are a sinner. But do not let him fill your mind with the thought that, because you are sinful, God has cast you off. Say to him, Yes; I am a sinner, and for that reason I need a Saviour. I need forgiveness and pardon, and Christ says that if I come to Him I shall not perish. In His letter to me I read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). I will believe the word He has left for me.... – {HP 116.2}

    The moment you grasp God’s promises by faith and say, I am the lost sheep that Jesus came to save, a new life will take possession of you, and you will receive strength to resist the tempter. But faith to grasp the promises does not come by feeling. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). You must not look for some great change to take place; you must not expect to feel some wonderful emotion.... – {HP 116.3}

    Take God’s word on trust, saying, He loves me: He gave His life for me; and He will save me.... Look away from yourself to Jesus. Embrace Him as your Saviour. Cease to bemoan your helpless condition. Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, you will be inspired with hope and will see the salvation of God. When you feel tempted to mourn, force your lips to utter the praises of God. “Rejoice in the Lord alway” (Philippians 4:4). Is He not worthy of praise? Then educate your lips to talk of His glory and to magnify His name.... – {HP 116.4}
    Today the Lord says to you, Be not discouraged, but cast your burdens upon Me. You cannot carry your own sins. I will take them all.... If you will trust in Me, you will not want any good thing.... – {HP 116.5}

    • Amen. Thank you for this reminder of Gods wonderful love an grace. He is an amazing God for He does not treat us as we deserve.

  17. Thanks you all for your testimonies and advice to Jeff. It has inspired me to keep going. We all are struggling and we need the prayers of others.

  18. What makes the discussion awesome is that we need to acknowlege we are sinners! But the truth is finally here {don't u ever pray for truth??? PSALM 86:11} i was a liar but i prayed- psalms 86:11 n i believe its god's power that this message is landing in the ears of millions!!

  19. 16 years ago in became involved in an adulteries relationship with another married person. for the 6 months it lasted I did not think about the pain I could cause my wife and my children, I just enjoyed the sin. But just like all sin it was discovered.

    Eventually my wife and I were divorced and as soon as we were the steaminess of the relationship fizzed out. I was left alone and destitute. I lost my relationship with God and started to drink and smoke weed. I felt hopeless. I punished myself for 15 years trying over and over to rekindle my relationship with GOD the operative word being (I), then one day I felt like I could not go any further, I lay on my couch and cried out over and over to God to do for me what I couldn't not do for myself (Save me). I felt like I was loosing my mind.

    Then it hit me as long as their was a desire to be saved there was hope. I asked God to give me the strength to return to church. The Holy spirit guided me read the bible and prayed. Submission to the holy spirit got me up early when God called me to prayer and study. I began to hear Jesus voice again. Long story short my relationship is stronger with God than ever before. Trust and Obey. Rebuke your urges. There is no temptation that is uncommon to God, but with ever temptation God has made a way to escape. Pray before you sin and he will deliver. Guilt is the conduit to temptation.


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