Last time, I said that there’s a basic framework found in many places throughout Scripture that highly caution us about rashly making promises that we realistically have no chance keeping. The Savior, for instance, talked once in the Gospels about avoiding “…swearing on heaven–for it is His footstool…” or things like that. Another place in the Tenach reveals what God recommended when He said this: “…Do not be hasty in making vows; but when you make a vow, make sure you fulfill it.”
Why might that be? Years ago, I was literally required by the Holy Spirit for a good while to just about do a detailed study ad nauseam on that very chapter in Numbers 30 for several months straight. Doing so eventually led me to making that particular revelation of that chapter to me a major personal cornerstone of my own personal business and ministry endeavors and enterprises. Here’s a quick Cliff Notes version of what I found after a study of both the concordance as well as Jewish sources that I eventually wound up putting in a diagram something like this:
In Hebrew, the word “neder” means basically to make a vow. The particular placement of Numbers chapter 30 is pretty interesting, too, in the fact that its neighboring chapters talk about the Day of Atonement and even the situation with the Midianites. But what really stood out to me on this was the title of the parashots (section of the weekly reading of the Torah in Jewish congregations worldwide) involving this chapter–”Matot” and “Masei” (implying staffs and journeys).
In contemplating the idea of staffs, the natural question that came to my mind was, “What in the bleep does a staff have to do with vows?” Inside the above diagram came my answer to this question:
(1.) In order for someone to be empowered to make a vow in the first place, they should obviously have the AUTHORITY and resources to do so.
(2.) As far as the way the Word refers to “staffs’, most of the Scriptural references actually go so far as to infer that it was an instrument of BATTLE.
(3.) Whenever someone makes a vow, it basically ENABLES someone who might be DISABLED from doing so and CANNOT do something otherwise without YOUR commitment to help them in doing so.
(4.) AND (5.) As a result of said vow, that commitment ensures the other party’s PROTECTION and PROVISION in those situations where they might be otherwise doing so.
But what does that say about our God? Simply the following–that he has the AUTHORITY in the first place; that He wins the BATTLE for us because He desires to show Himself strong to those whose confidence and trust is steadfastly placed in Him; that He ENABLES those who are DISABLED and are hindered in any way from doing something; and that through the promises He keeps to us day in and out He PROTECTS and PROVIDES at those times we may need it most.
As it goes for Him, so should it equally apply to all of us. Think about THATthe next time before you rashly decide to sign your name in blood to do something or to be something you may not be able to be for someone else. What have you vowed lately? Don’t try to get out of it so fast.
Sure, there may be cases where despite your absolute best efforts you will fall short. But there are times when we should consider the wisdom of our Savior when He recommended that “your yes be yes and your no be no.” A little more consistency in making our words AND actions His closing thoughts to the rest of the world around us wouldn’t hurt us any. Just a little food for thought the next time you tell your spouse that you’re finally going to paint that house of yours or promise your son that you’ll take him to the lake next weekend. Speaking of
which–it’s time to put a wrap on this edition until next time–’cause there’s some commitments I’ve got to go and fulfill myself…(Talking about the preacher also preaching to himself as well…go fig…) Shalom rubakah in Him!
Until next time (as He allows, of course), see ya at the CROSSroads–
(Coy Holley is the author of several books that are available both through Amazon and also through his online publishing company Broken and Shattered Promises Online Publishing. Detailed info on each of these books as well as appropriate contact info on how you can purchase these books are available at his website: https://coyrhseatcbspm.wixsite.com/walking .)
CoyRH At The Crossroads