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Following Through

"If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness” (Genesis 47:29).

Our integrity is measured in our ability to keep our word. How do you measure up?

We are contract-bound people. Whether we’re buying a house, signing up for a cell phone plan or getting married -- much of what we do involves a contract of some sort.

I used to work for attorneys who set up new businesses and corporations for clients, and handled the merging or sales of existing corporations. Preparing documents to be signed was a daily part of my job description. As I organized these piles of papers, I would think about how legally-binding, signed contracts were not always so common. In Ancient Israel (and even later in early history), oaths and promises were oral. Sometimes, a physical gesture (such as a handshake, or in this case, the placing of one’s hand under the other’s thigh) “sealed the deal.” No attorneys were required. No legal, notarized documents were necessary. A person’s word was as good as the deed itself.

What if that were still the case today? How are we at following through? When we say we will do something, do we do it? Or do we make up an excuse and hope the other party will look the other way? We are all guilty of going back on our word at some time or another, but that doesn’t have to be the norm. Let’s strive to be like Jacob and Joseph who, along with most men of that age, kept their promises and upheld their intentions with integrity.


  • When was the last time you said you would do something and didn’t follow through? How can you make that situation right today?
  • In Matthew 5:37, Jesus tells us “let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Why do you think this was important to Jesus? How has saying “yes” or “no" when you didn’t really mean it caused grief?

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