When someone makes a promise they will often swear to keep that promised based on something like “my good name” or “on my mother’s grave” (v.16). If they do not keep the promise then their name is on the line with the threat of their name being tarnished or trust in them diminished.
“For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” – Hebrews 6:13-20
God is a promise keeper. When God makes a promise he swears by his own name because he himself is trustworthy and reliable (v.13, 17). He is the only one qualified to make an oath by himself because there is nothing greater to swear by than himself. He has never failed to keep a promise because he never lies or fails (v.18).
One of his most well known promises in Scripture was to given Abraham. God promised to bless Abraham’s lineage and multiply it (v.14). Abraham trusted God’s promise by doing what God asked even though the information Abraham had on hand was limited (v.15).
The promise given to Abraham finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus who was a high priest in the order of Melchizedek—a priest during Abraham’s day. Jesus is the sure and steadfast anchor for the soul (v.19). We can hope in Jesus because God has promised him to be our high priest. He has gone before us and sits at the right hand of God on high (v.20).
May you anchor your soul into the Rock called Jesus. Even in the stormy seas that batter you with doubts and despair, his promises are sure to the end. Remember, how he has been with you and has been faithful. As G. Campbell Morgan said, “I believe the promises of God enough to venture an eternity on them.”
Questions for Reflection:
- What makes a promise valuable?
- What promises did God make to Abraham? (see Genesis 12)
- What are some promises from God that we have that Abraham didn’t?
- What makes God and his promises so “sure and steadfast”?
- How does the author of Hebrews describe the certainty of God’s promise— the anchor?
- What are some of the anchors other than Jesus that people chain themselves to?
- How can you encourage one another “to hold fast to the hope set before us”?