January 21 - A Promise Kept


By Alice Northcutt

Today's Scripture: Matthew 14:6-9

Central Thought: Promises should be taken seriously, but a rash promise should never lead a person to commit any immoral act or other sin.

    Promises! Oaths! Vows! All indicate a commitment to follow through with an action or, in some cases, to refrain from a particular action. Should a promise always be kept, or are there times when a promise should be broken?

    It was at Herod's birthday party before a host of guests that he made a rash promise that led to the death of John the Baptist. The promise was made during a time of passion and revelry, and it was a promise that should have been broken but was not. Because Herod was impressed by the dance of a young girl (the daughter of Herodias) before the guests at his birthday party, he promised to give her anything she requested. How was he to know that she would request the head of John the Baptist!

    Would it have been wrong for Herod to break his promise? Would it have caused him to lose favor with Herodias and her daughter or with the guests who heard his promise and the daughter's request? Is a promise made in a fit of passion really a valid promise? All promises should be taken seriously, but a promise made in a fit of passion presents a very 'teachable” moment for the promise-maker to lay aside pride and do what is right.

    Does the presence of pride and concern for losing face in the sight of others lead you to make and carry out rash promises? The question that we each must answer individually is whether to please God or man. It takes a lot of courage to do what is right, even when a promise must be broken to do so. We need to make promises that can be kept without sinning against God or hurting others.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, help me to stay true to You and to replace rash promises and pride with prayer so that I will make only promises that I can keep without displeasing You.

Today's Bible Reading: Genesis 42:18-43:34; Matthew 13:47-14:12; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 4:7-10