And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of
Manasseh Joshua spoke, saying, “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.’ Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan. But you shall pass before your brethren armed, all your mighty men of valor, and help them.”
In his book Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington described meeting an ex-slave from Virginia: “The man had made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, that permitted him to buy his freedom. While he was paying for himself, his master released him to labor where and for whom he pleased. Finding he could receive better wages in Ohio, he journeyed there. When Abraham Lincoln declared all slaves to be free, however, the man was still in debt to his master three hundred dollars. Even though technically he was freed from any obligation, he still walked back to where his old master lived in Virginia and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands. The man concluded, ‘I could not enjoy my freedom until I had fulfilled my promise.'”
Joshua, too, reminded the Reubenites, the Gadites and half the tribe of Manasseh that they had made a promise during the days of Moses. In return for being allowed to settle in the peaceful land east of the Jordan, they agreed to join their kinsmen in conquering the land west of the river. It was now time to fulfill that promise.
God expects all of us to keep our promises. In fact, the psalmist said that the person who walks with integrity “swears to his own hurt, and does not change” (Ps. 15:4).
Is there a promise that you need to fulfill? Have you made a commitment and not seen it to the end? Now is the time to take your obligation seriously and make good on your promises. Even if technically you’re off the hook, people of integrity always do what they promise.
A promise broken is a responsibility left undone.
Martin A. Cisneros