A PROMISE MADE POSSIBLE
I will keep your law continually, forever and ever. Psalm 119:44
The psalmist’s words sound like a marriage vow; a pledge that is certainly a lofty goal but is it really possible to keep it and never fail? Does one love, honor, obey, and cherish their spouse every hour of the day? If truth be known, everyone at the altar takes a deep breath while making such vows, aware that it’s above them to be able to keep their promise. Some are realistic about the arguments ahead, the periods of emotional distance that plague every marriage at times, the selfish bent of the human heart that makes it a challenge to always put their mate first. Yet, they make their vows in earnest.
So, how do I begin to tell God that I will keep His law continually? It feels like a lofty ceremonial vow. Realistically, I am aware that I sin every day. Before I’ve eaten my first bite of breakfast, I’ve broken His law with just my thoughts.
To ‘keep’, in Hebrew, is to ‘guard something precious’. It does not mean that I promise perfection. I vow to make a daily, good faith effort, fueled by prayer. It does not mean all efforts will succeed. I am related to the first Adam. I am at war with my old sin nature. That nature breaks his law and does its own thing.
How do I think of this verse and put it in a realistic context? Promises made to God for life are to be taken in day-sized chunks. God provides grace for this day only. If I obsess about tomorrow’s obedience, there is not yet a grace provision for that day.
For the 16 waking hours of this day, God promises He will walk with me and enable obedience by the power of His Spirit. Grace will be the wings. I will not live it perfectly but success will still be achieved because I will recognize the moments when I fail and repent under my breath as I do. The Lord’s Prayer is a daily prayer and includes a petition for forgiveness for the sins committed in spite of good intentions.
To paraphrase the psalmist’s words for myself today, I pray this ~
I want to guard your Word with my life. Today is another opportunity for that. I give 100% of myself to you, Lord. I need Your grace to honor You in all things. I need Your mercy when I don’t. In Jesus’ name, Amen