All throughout history, God has made many promises and continues to do so. Some promises are big, some small, and some that even seem impossible. Something that makes God’s promises special is that they are always 100% guaranteed - we just have to have faith.
The Lord never fails to keep His promises, but can the same be said about us as His people?
Unfortunately, the saying ‘I’m only human’ has come about for a reason. We are all human, we all have faults, and thanks to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we all sin. People are not able to do everything perfectly. And sometimes that includes keeping our promises - to ourselves, to others, and even to God.
If you know that you can’t guarantee anything, what does the Bible say about making promises to God? Should you even be making them at all?
What Does God Say About Promises?
Before we dive into the promises you make to God, it is important to understand the promises He has made to you.
1. “By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” 2 Peter 1:4 CSB
God’s Word is full of His promises to you, but sometimes you may question if you can trust in them...
2. “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 CSB
If you have ever wondered what the Bible says about the promises of God, there you have it. You never have to doubt or question whether God is going to fulfill His promises, because it is already done.
3. “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater to swear by, He swore by Himself: ‘I will indeed bless you, and I will greatly multiply you.” Hebrews 6:13-14
God literally swore by His own name, because there is no one else who is able to fulfill every promise the way He does. Ever heard the saying, ‘ten fingers on the bible’ when emphasizing the value of a promise? It is because the name of God holds so much meaning, substance and trust when it comes to promises.
4. “For every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in Him. Therefore, through Him we also say ‘Amen’ to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 CSB
As a Christian, you are called to have faith in God’s word, even in the toughest of times. Because you can trust and be comforted in the fact that God keeps his promises, you must be thankful and also strive to keep your promises to God.
5. “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting to perish but all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Sometimes it is easy to doubt God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises to you, but your doubt is always unjustified. Although the passing of time may cause us to question if God is ever going to answer our prayers, He always will.
6. “God is not man, that He might lie, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19 CSB
When God promises you something, He does not fall short. Do not doubt Him and His promises for your life.
7. “I am now going the way of the whole earth, and you know with all your heart and all your soul that none of the good promises the Lord your God made to you has failed. Everything was fulfilled for you; not one promise has failed.” Joshua 23:14
God will always bring His promises into fruition, but only when the time is right - according to His plan for your life.
What Does the Bible Say About Making Promises to God?
There are many different scriptures, in both the Old and the New Testament, about promises - making them and breaking them. Here are some well-known, and some not-so-well-known scriptures about promises to God.
8. “This is how we know that we know Him: if we keep His commands… But whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete.” 1 John 2:3,5 CSB
Our goal as Christians is to be more like Jesus. If you make promises and are able to keep them, you are one step closer to stepping into the image of God.
“When a man makes a vow to the Lord or swears an oath to put himself under obligation, he must not break his word; he must do whatever he has promised.” Numbers 30:2 CSB
This scripture in Numbers emphasizes the importance and value and seriousness of an oath - something that you need to understand before you make promises.
9. “When you make a vow to God, do not delay fulfilling it, because He does not delight in fools. Fulfill what you vow. Better that you do not vow than that you vow and not fulfill it.” Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 CSB
The chapter of Ecclesiastes 5 also focuses heavily on being careful about making promises. If you are making promises, there is always a chance of you not being able to fulfill them. When this happens, you will be letting down whoever you made a promise to.
10. “It is a trap for anyone to dedicate something rashly and later to reconsider his vows.” Proverbs 20:25 CSB
Do not rush into making promises, when you know there might be a chance that you have to fall back on them.
11. “For I know the plans I have for you’ - this is the Lord’s declaration - ‘plans for your well-being, not for your disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 CSB
You have no knowledge of what the future holds, and therefore it seems crazy to think that we believe we can promise anything to anyone. Only God knows.
Here are some other scriptures on God’s will and His plan for your life.
12. “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring - what your life will be!” James 4:14 CSB
The same thing is repeated in Proverbs...
13. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day might bring.” Proverbs 27:1 CSB
It is one thing to break a promise to yourself, or to someone that you know, but breaking a promise to God is not something you want to do.
14. “And do not defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and He might wipe out everything you have achieved.” Ecclesiastes 5:6
However, if you make a promise to God and fall short of fulfilling it, do not hide away or deny it. Do not make excuses. Instead, own up to it, confess to Him and ask for forgiveness.
Lucky for you, as a flawed human who is bound to make many empty promises, God is full of grace. He loves you and has endless grace on your shortcomings.
15. Know that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9 CSB
You can always kneel before Him to ask for forgiveness but you can also rest in knowing that all of your sin has already been forgiven - nothing will ever change that.
16. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 CSB
How reassuring is it to know that if you make a promise to God and fail to keep it, He will forgive you. But it is important never to take advantage of that forgiveness, and to work towards obeying God and bringing glory to Him in all that we do.
17. “Again, you have heard that it was said to people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.” Matthew 5:33-36
Well, there you have it. The Bible says you should avoid making promises in general, especially if you are a Christian. Simply because you can never guarantee them, and you do not want to fall short on our word.
18. “Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in Heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Just as dreams accompany much labor, so also a fool’s voice comes with many words.” Ecclesiastes 5:2-3
Once again, God’s Word reminds us to not rush into saying anything and to remember that we are only human, and only God can guarantee a promise.
19. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
It is also important to remember the power of our words, and the weight that they carry.
20. “Sin is unavoidable when there is much talk, but whoever seals his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19
What this verse means is that being ‘all talk and no action’ equates to falling short of the glory of God and can ultimately lead to sin. It is better to remain quiet in the withhold of vows, than to be loud in the expression of false and empty promises.
21. “But let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.”
Almost the exact same instruction is repeated in James (just in case you needed a second reminder).
“Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by Heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no,’ so that you will not fall under judgement.” James 5:12 CSB
When it comes down to it, let whatever you say be your word. Be slow to make promises, and cautious of what you say, and make sure that your actions support your words.
But also find comfort in God’s grace and remember that you are just a person. You are going to make mistakes, and you are going to need forgiveness. God has promised to love you unconditionally no matter what - even if you make a promise (or two) and break it.
Final Thoughts on Promises to God
It is always good to dive into the Word to remind yourself about who God is. He is a faithful God who keeps his promises to you and never fails to fulfill His vows. And He is also a forgiving God who created you to be human, and will never punish you for falling short if you kneel before Him.