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Pinky Promise


Pinky Promise by Flickr User Ali Holding, CC License = Attribution

Pinky Promise by Flickr User Ali Holding, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

I used to think the whole “pinky promise” or “pinky swear” thing was just for little kids–girls in particular, but lately I’ve been seeing it happen between adults of both genders. Have you ever made a pinky promise to someone? If so, how hard did you try to keep your promise? Keeping promises is an important part of friendship, and unkept promises have ended even long-term relationships. Of course, it depends on the promise and how gravely it was broken, but I doubt I could find a single person who desires that promises made to them go unkept.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 7:12 through Deuteronomy 8:10, we begin a new week and a new portion of Torah. This portion, Parashah 46 is called “‘Ekev” in Hebrew and means “Because” in English. It begins with a statement that basically says, “Because you are keeping your end of the deal, The Lord will keep His end of the deal.” It goes on to express how God will love Israel, increase her numbers, and bless the fruit of her body and of her ground in the land He promised to her ancestors.

Moses is still speaking to encourage Israel before the community crosses over the Jordan, and he tells them of promises that include how this people will be blessed above all other people. Moses tells them there will not be a sterile man or woman among them, and it will be the same for their animals. God will remove all sickness from among them, and they will not suffer any of the diseases they knew from the Egyptians.

For Israel’s part of the promise, they must totally destroy all those who hate them and that The Lord hands over to them. Moses tells them that if they show any pity to them, or if they serve any of their gods, it will become a trap for them. If they look and worry about their numbers, they are not to fear but instead remember all the signs and wonders God performed in delivering them from Egypt.

God promises Israel that He will go over with them to show Himself as a great and fearful God, and He will expel the nations that hate Israel. But, He tells them it will not happen all at once, or the wild animals would become too numerous for Israel, so God will send disasters one after another to destroy them. Moses reminds the people again to burn up and destroy all the false gods and statues of the people, and when they are gone, Israel should not covet the gold and silver left behind because it has a curse on it. He tells them not to bring anything God hates into their homes, or the objects will bring curses with them.

Moses tells Israel to remember everything they’ve learned from forty years in the desert while God humbled them and tested to see if they would obey His laws. He reminds them of their hunger and how God fed them with manna, and he shows them how their feet never got tired or swollen. He tells them to think deeply about these things that they won’t forget. He promises that if they will keep the laws of God that he is passing along to them, they will live long and prosperous lives in the land of promise. The land is filled with fruit and grains, so they will eat abundantly and lack nothing. Israel will eat and be satisfied, and in return, they will bless The Lord who gave them the land.

I think most of us know that promises work both ways. Whether it’s a handshake deal, a wedding vow, or a documented and signed contract, there are always promises to be kept by all people who enter into the relationship. Why, then, does the world seem so upset with the idea that God wants us to keep promises in return for all the promises He has made to us? He tells us He will give us blessings in this life and in eternity. He tells us He will have mercy and grace on us that He will pour out new every morning. He tells us that we do not have to pay Him back for the blood and suffering at Calvary.

Little girls and grown women, plus little boys and grown men, will grasp a pinky, or hold up a pinky, to swear their loyalty to a friendship or to a promise. Neither party desires for the other party to walk away thinking or saying something like, “Great, now that I’ve got what I want, I can just forget about my end of the bargain.” When we go to an altar and ask God for His forgiveness, we are entering into an exchange of promises. He offers salvation freely to those who want to be saved out of (and “out of” if the important part) whatever bondage this life offers, and we offer a promise to repent from doing things our way and do our best to follow Him.

God is so merciful that He gives wonderful gifts and promises even to those who do not offer Him anything in return. He gives life, love, blessings, and wonderful days in spite of our lifestyles where He is not the center of our attention and often where He is left out. He continues to pour out these gifts in spite of people who raise their fists to curse Him when things aren’t going just right yet never raise a hand to praise Him when things go as they want. If you have made a promise to serve God, remember your promises to Him. And next time you lift your hands in praise to Him, imagine Him extending His pinky from Heaven to remind you of how much He believes in and appreciates you and every effort you make to keep your promises to Him. Try it one day soon. I pinky promise you’ll like what you feel.

August 2, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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