In I Kings 3:14 God gave the newly crowned King Solomon a conditional promise: “IF you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, THEN I will prolong your days.” Notice the “IF … THEN”: “IF” he walked in God’s ways, “THEN” God would prolong his days.
It was not a “blanket promise” that Solomon could claim no matter what; he had to keep his part, then he could be confident that God would do his.
Many of God’s promises in scripture are conditional in the same way. God does indeed promise to do something — IF we will do something first. Some examples include:
— Jer. 33:3 “call unto Me and I will answer you” — but as James reminds us, “you have not because you ask not” (James 4:2). If you do not in fact pray, God will not answer.
— “You shall seek Me and find Me WHEN you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13) But the “finding” of God in this verse is very much dependent upon the “searching” with all of one’s heart!
— “IF we confess our sins, (then) He is faithful & righteous to forgive us our sins …” (I John 1:9) But if we do NOT take the time to confess our sins, they will continue to cloud our relationship with God.
— “Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). But the promise of salvation is a conditional: if we do NOT call upon Jesus as our Lord, we will NOT be saved!
We need to be aware of this conditional aspect of many of the promises we find in God’s word, and be sure that we do not “blame” Him for not doing something for us — when we have not kept our part of the bargain!