God is ever mindful of God’s covenant, the promise God gave for a thousand generations (105:8)
Even in this era of contracts and written agreements and attorneys, we depend on people and businesses who make verbal promises to keep their word. We wait for the repairman or the cable guy who said he would arrive between 8:00 and noon. We drop off our cleaning or a pair of shoes to be resoled or pants to be tailored receive in return a promised that it will be ready by Tuesday at 4:00. We need some specialty item and call ahead to the store to ensure it is in stock before we make a special trip. We make appointments to see doctors, to have our hair or nails done, to have our teeth checked or our pets groomed and expect that we will be seen at or close to our appointment time.
Our lives would be in chaos if we couldn’t rely on the people around us to keep their word. How frustrating is it to make plans to meet a friend at a certain time, only to have her cancel at the last minute or show up a half hour late or not at all!
The Kol Nidre prayer at the beginning of Yom Kippur acknowledges that there are times that we do not keep our word. By asking forgiveness from God for those lapses, we acknowledge that every unfulfilled promise is an offense against God. Therefore, we should treat every promise as a sacred commitment. Words that come out of our mouth should be as strong as a written contract drawn up by attorneys. A promise made in private should be as reliable as a written agreement notarized and signed by witnesses.
Understanding that sometimes a broken promise is unavoidable, under normal circumstances our word should be like God’s covenantal promise, everlasting.