God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? [Numbers 23:19 (NLT)]
With just 31,164 verses in the entire Bible, a Canadian schoolteacher named Everett R. Storms questioned claims that it held around 30,000 promises. During his 27th reading of the Bible in 1956, the inquisitive Mr. Storms compiled a list of all Scripture’s promises. Given that the books of prophecy are filled with promises (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel have over 1,000 each) and the psalms are steeped in promises, no wonder it took 18 months to complete this massive task! When finished, Storms had recorded 8,810 promises: 7,487 of which were made by God to man and 290 by man to God. Other promises were made by one man to another, by God the Father to God the Son, by angels to people, by man to an angel, by an evil spirit, and by Satan (all nine of which were lies).
While we’d like to lay claim to all 7,487 promises made by God to man, we must be cautious. Many of those promises were made to a specific person or in a specific situation. Although God’s promise to Noah that floodwaters would never again kill all life and destroy the earth is a promise for all of mankind, His promises to Abraham of fame, land, a son, and countless descendants were specific to him. God has not failed us if, unlike Abraham, we are without fame, property or children.
Moreover, many of God’s promises have conditions that test our obedience, require our trust, or act as a warning and those promises can’t be claimed without meeting the conditions. God promises us the desires of our heart in Psalm 37 with the conditions that we delight ourselves in Him and His character, commit everything we do to Him, and trust in Him. [37:4-5] When the Apostle James writes of the blessings and “crown of life” promised by God, the conditions include perseverance through trials by those who love Him. [1:5] In Romans, we find God’s promise of the free gift of eternal life, but it includes a warning that the “wages of sin” are death! [6:23] Unlike a legal document, God’s promises aren’t concealed or hidden in legalese; if there are conditions, they are spelled out clearly and any consequences are well defined.
What of those 290 promises made by man to God? After God promised His blessings to Israel if they obeyed Him and kept His covenant, they responded: “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” [Exodus 19:8] Sadly, their well-intentioned promise was repeatedly broken. As flawed mortals, we continue to be unable to live up to our promises to God. Fortunately, because He is a God of grace and true to His Word, we can live our lives depending upon His promises to us.
I can’t name the 7,487 promises God made to man. Nevertheless, during Lent, I compiled a far shorter list of verses with God’s promises to serve as an anchor of my faith. I know that He promises to give us wisdom if we ask, to provide a way out of temptation, and to finish the good work He began in us. He promises that our belief in Jesus gives us eternal life, that our salvation is secure, and that nothing can separate us from His love. God promises that He can turn every circumstance around for our long-range good, that He’ll never leave or forsake us, and that He will return! Without a doubt, what God promises will come true!