What do oaths, swearing, promises, vows, and pledges mean to God? Do they still mean something to men?
When I met my husband, one of the first things I learned about him, was he did not make promises or ask people to make a promise to him unless it was absolutely important. He did not throw around “I promise.” or “Will you promise me.” He understood something that I didn’t. Promises are serious and we should not be using them for everything. “Promise me you will take out the trash!” These kinds of promises desensitize us.
My husband taught me, that we have misused promising, and because of that, it holds less power and value to most people. Because of him, I have a new understanding, appreciation, and respect and now make promises, vows, and pledges thoughtfully and carefully. Because of how my husband treats promises, it has also created a security and trust for me when he makes me a promise. When he promises me something, I know it will not be broken.
Is this how God intended promises to be used?
As a body of Christ, we need to understand how seriously God takes this, we need to respect them and pass this knowledge down to our children. Especially the marriage vow! I believe this mistreatment of vows is the very reason Jesus said, “But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne.” Matthew 5:34
Word of God
God has something to say about the promises, pledges, and vows we make to Him and how seriously He views it.
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it, because He takes no pleasure in fools. Fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, and do not tell the messenger that your vow was a mistake. Why should God be angry with your words and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For as many dreams bring futility, so do many words. Therefore, fear God. Ecclesiastes 5
These are the statutes that the LORD commanded Moses about a man and his wife and about a father and his daughter while she is in her youth within her father’s house. vs 16
“This is what the LORD has commanded. 2 If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. 3“If a woman vows a vow to the LORD and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father’s house in her youth, 4 and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. 5 But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the LORD will forgive her, because her father opposed her. 6 “If she marries a husband, while under her vows or any thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she has bound herself, 7 and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her pledges by which she has bound herself shall stand. 8 But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the LORD will forgive her. 9 (But any vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, anything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her.) 10 And if she vowed in her husband’s house or bound herself by a pledge with an oath, 11 and her husband heard of it and said nothing to her and did not oppose her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she bound herself shall stand. 12 But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void, and the LORD will forgive her. 13 Any vow and any binding oath to afflict herself, her husband may establish, or her husband may make void. 14 But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows or all her pledges that are upon her. He has established them, because he said nothing to her on the day that he heard of them. 15 But if he makes them null and void after he has heard of them, then he shall bear her iniquity.” Numbers 30
Responsibility to others
BUT MOST OF ALL my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned. James 5:12 It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, And afterward to reconsider his vows.. Proverbs 20:25 NKJV 1 My son, if you are security for your friend, you have yielded your hand to a stranger. 2You are trapped by the saying of your mouth and you are taken by the speech of your lips. 3Do thus my son and be delivered because you are security for the person of your friend; you have fallen into the hands of your enemy. Proverbs 6
This is worth repeating, As a body of Christ, we need to understand how seriously God takes this; we need to respect them and pass this knowledge down to our children. Especially the marriage vow!
You cover the Lord‘s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” Malachi 2
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