‘Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.’ Mark 6.22
These words were actually spoken by King Herod and resulted in the tragic death of John the Baptist. It seems so pointless that a man powerfully used by God should be killed simply due to a rash promise given to a dancing girl at a dinner party.
The story does cause us to reflect on the nature of promises. At times you might regard them with a certain cynicism, assuming they are not given with the same seriousness as Herod’s promise to Salome. As far as he was concerned, he might indeed be the king but he had made a promise so was honour-bound to keep it. The question is this: when God makes promises, in which camp do his promises belong? Are they given without real thought or should they be taken seriously?
The Bible is full of promises, many of which we fail to take seriously because they are simply ‘too good to be true’! Yet what if they were given with a sincerity that we human beings cannot match?
Find a promise in the Bible and begin by assuming that it’s true. What is it actually saying? Are there conditions to it? How does it (and the conditions) apply to your circumstances? What difference will it make to you now and in the future?
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission