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Foundation 9.28My son, the blessings I give are better than the promise of ancient mountains or eternal hills. Joseph, I pray these blessings will come to you, because you are the leader of your brothers. Genesis 49:26

Someone once said “A promise is only as good as the person who gives them.” Unfortunately, that is all too true today. Politicians make promises of  a better tomorrow and then turn around and blame others when those promises aren’t met. Preachers often make promises too. Promises that if you do ‘A-B-C’ you’ll be blessed with untold riches. Parents make promises too.

I remember sitting down with my ten-year-old son and drawing up plans for an elaborate ‘tree house’ on stilts. That was 30 years ago. The plans are long lost, the promise (hopefully) long forgotten by him, but not by me. Not that the fort was that big of a deal. It’s simply a reminder of all the times I made promises as a parent with great intentions but lacking the time or ability to fulfill those promises.

Broken promises can destroy relationships faster than anything. A spouse can forgive unpaid bills, messy garages and grass that has been un-mowed for far too long. But breaking the promise of fidelity, even if it’s a one-time event, destroys trust at best, and all too often the marriage.

Jacob gathered his sons around him shortly before his death and gave them his final blessings; the final words that would be with them for the rest of their lives. There was Reuben (who was guilty of incest); Judah (who suggested his brothers sell Joseph into slavery) and the list goes on. Jacob himself was no saint!

So how could this man who lived by deception and passed that on to his following generations make a promise to Joseph that “My son, the blessings I give are better than the promise of ancient mountains or eternal hills. Joseph, I pray these blessings will come to you, because you are the leader of your brothers.” (Genesis 49:26)

The reason was simple. Jacob was making this promise built on the character of God, not himself. That’s the key to living in integrity. If we base our actions on our own ability we will surely fail because we are human. If we base our trust and identity on what others tell us, we’ll be disappointed. When we put all our trust in God, through Jesus Christ, we’ll find those promises to be as dependable as a mountain and as long-lasting as time itself.

Prayer: Father, we fail you so often in what we say or what we do. Often our promises are based on the hope we will be able to carry them out. Our intentions are strong; our ability is weak. Thank you that even when I fail myself or others, I can know you will never fail me. In Jesus name, Amen.

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