Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
New Year's Day is traditionally the time for resolutions. "I will do better in this or that way during this new year!" And in practice, these New Year's resolutions usually fail before February comes around.
A wise writer has said, "Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. ... The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you" (Steps to Christ, p. 47). Such promises and resolutions made to God are the famous Old Covenant. The children of Israel made the Old Covenant at Mount Sinai when they responded to God's promise by saying, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do" (Ex. 19:8).
Sounds good, doesn't it? And some people understand the Lord as approving of their making the Old Covenant when He later said, "I have heard the voice of the words of this people, ... They are right in all that they have spoken" (Deut. 5:28). This is often interpreted as the Lord's enthusiastic approval of their Old Covenant promise.
But those who take this position don't read far enough. In the next verse the Lord sighs, "Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear [reverence] Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them." Paul says that the Old Covenant "gives birth to bondage" (Gal. 4:24). That "bondage" brings darkness into your soul, even though you try ever so hard to be good.
No, your New Year's resolutions will not bring you victory and happiness. The Lord does not ask you to make promises to Him; He asks only that you believe His promises to you. His promise is the New Covenant; and for us to believe His promise is what makes Him happy. And in the end it makes us happy, too.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 2, 1998.
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