“The woods are lovely, dark and deep; but I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
So, Robert Frost is a poet pausing beside the woods pondering the deep wonders of the forest’s beauty, and thinking of the promises which he had made which forbade him to stay any longer in that enchanting spot.
Promises. Many make them in haste and keep them, if at all, in misery. One philosopher said, “We must have a good memory to keep all the promises we make.”
God does have a perfect memory and He has never made a promise He has not kept (or will not if the fulfillment comes in the future). He promised Abraham that Israel would be liberated from their bondage in Egypt after 400 years, and they were!
He promised the nation again that they would be taken captive for 70 years, and they were!
He promised, through His prophets, that a virgin would conceive and give birth to His Son, the Savior of the world, and in the fulness of time, and in the very town predicted, she did! And Christ, the Messiah, was born.
God does keep every promise He makes! In the third chapter of Proverbs, He makes some special promises that include length of life, peace, favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
In verse six He promises success. Success which is not measured by the standards of secularism; not by popularity, not by the size of bank accounts, or the height on the world’s ladder of success to which one has risen, not by the number of degrees one has been awarded or the wardrobe he possesses, or the size and location of his house, or the make or model of his car or the authority he exercises over others. God uses none of these measurements in assessing success or failure in a person, but He does have his divine measurements, including:
(1) Whether we are trusting in the Lord. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” He admonishes. Hear what the Word of God says: “…have no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil.3:3); “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man; it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.” (Ps.118:8) Even trust in friends may prove disappointing: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, which did eat of my bread (think Judas Iscariot) hath lifted up his heel against me.” (Ps.4:19) Surely, do not trust in beauty: “But thou didst trust in thine own beauty and played the harlot because of thy renown.” (Ezek.16:15) Lying words are not to be trusted: “Trust ye not in lying words….” (Jer.7:4) Nor is “your own” way to be trusted: “Ye have plowed wickedness…because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men, therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled.” (Hos.10:13,14)
But, do trust in the Lord:
“Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust.” (Ps.40:4); “Trust in the Lord…and verily thou shalt be fed.” (Ps.37:3) “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Ps.37:5); “What time I am afraid, I will trust… in God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (Ps.56:3,4) “Trust in Him at all times ye people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (Ps.62:8) “Therefore we labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God who is the Savior of all men, specially of them that believe.” (I Tim.4:10) see also: Ps.84:12; 91:2; 125:1; 34:8; 31:1; 18:23; 25:20; 16:1; 7:1)
(2) Whether we are trusting Him with our whole heart. Unreserved, unfaltering, unquestioning trust, based upon faith, not feeling.
(3) Whether we are leaning on the Lord or on our own understanding. “Be not wise in thine own eyes….” (v.5) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isa.55:8,9)
(4) Whether we are acknowledging Him in all our ways. Acknowledging Him in our marriage, our home, our job, our business dealings and our relationships with people of all walks of life. The question is not “What do I want?” The question is “What does God want? What is His will?”
(5) And whether He is directing our paths. He may lead you o’er a route not known; He may take you to some places you would not have chosen to go. He may not show you what is ahead next, but He will lead you, and when He leads you, your way will prove prosperous and you will enjoy good success finding favor in the sight of God and man. (Provs.3:4-6)
“No chart or compass have the birds that migrate every year; they know they will be shown the way; they feel no doubt or fear. Can we not be as filled with faith? Our minds as free from doubt? Can we not trust in God above, to point our pathway out?” (unknown)
A lad in the Alps had fallen off a cliff while trying to reach a rare flower deep in a ravine. What to do? Another boy, small enough to be let down on a rope, volunteered to attempt to go to his friend’s rescue with these words: “I’ll go over if you let this man hold the rope.’’ The man was his dad. We, brethren can “go where you want me to go, dear Lord and do what You want me to do,” because our Abba (Father) is holding the rope! Trust Him! With all of your heart!
“Preserve me, O God: for in Thee do I put my trust.” (Ps.16:1)