We have talked about this before, but it's coming up again in the grand scheme of all things, so it's worth repeating:
Our God is a God of promises.
He spends a lot of the early part of His story making promises with His people, and He fulfills every single one of them. Even when His promises are meant to come to fruition some time way in the future, He still fills them. Israel waited hundreds upon hundreds of years to see a Messiah, and when He came? Every promise fulfilled.
So, then, it is important to this God of promises that you and I keep the promises that we make, too.
Even the foolish ones.
We kind of talk around this idea quite a bit, trying to make wiggle room where there doesn't seem to be very much. After all, the Bible tells us not to swear any oaths, but just to say yes or no when we mean yes or no and let that be enough. Then, to be persons of our word so that everyone knows that yes and no mean something.
But look at the Old Testament. There's this story about Israel entering the Promised Land. They are coming up against a whole bunch of foreigners, coming into new lands. And this one group of peoples gets an idea - they will pretend that they are coming from very, very far away - they will dress themselves in ragged, worn-out clothes and carry old wineskins - and then, they will come to Israel and convince them to enter into a treaty so that this people group will not be wiped out, even if they are defeated.
And the plan works. Israel is so convinced by what they see with their eyes that they don't think it's even necessary to ask God about this one. They'll make the treaty now and deal with the fall-out later.
But later comes more quickly than they thought it would. Actually, it comes really suddenly, as Israel realizes these are not a people from far, far away but from actually very near, and they've been tricked.
What does God desire of His people in this situation?
Well, first, He desires that they would have come to Him before they made the promise to this people in the first place.
But since they'd already made the promise, God's desire...was that they keep it.
It didn't matter that it was a foolish promise. It didn't matter that it wasn't what God would have wanted them to do. The only thing that matters is what God wants them to do now, and God wants them - and us - to keep promises.
Because He always keeps His.