Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14, 2012 … Don’t Make Promises Lightly!

BLOGGER'S REMINDER: HEY GUYS ... go and do something VERY SPECIAL for your lady today ... for you Sisters ... get your man something macho! ;>)

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Leviticus, Chapters 5-7 …
To study these chapters, go to this link -

Leviticus 5: 4-6 … : … [Making Vows] 4 or if anyone thoughtlessly takes an oath to do anything, whether good or evil (in any matter one might carelessly swear about) even though they are unaware of it, but then they learn of it and realize their guilt— 5 when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned. 6 As a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for them for their sin..

My Journal for Today: Have you ever made a vow or a promise to someone and later realized that you promised too much or made too great a commitment? I know I have; what about you? Well, according to the passage I’ve been shown to highlight and comment on today, making vows is serious business and requires us to take care when we promise to do something and then recognize later we’ve fallen short with our vow.

There are several OT passages which reinforce, by repetition, God’s command to His people about the seriousness of making promises or vows. In Numbers 30: 1, God, through Moses, said to His people, … “This is what the LORD commands: 2 When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.” In Deuteronomy 23: 21 – 23 God’s word repeats, … 21 If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. 22 But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. 23 Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.

So, I hope we can see from God’s redundancy of teaching in the Old Testament that when we make/break vows or promises of commitment, that’s an affront – not only to the person to whom we’ve made the vow – but also to God Himself. And certainly this is just an Old Testament command. Jesus, the Messiah Himself, the fulfillment of all of God’s promises from the Old Covenant, Who was the New Covenant to God’s people, taught about making vows as well. In His famous “sermon on the mount,” Jesus taught (in Matt. 5: 33-37), ... 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

Are we getting it? I certainly am convicted. How many times have I said to someone – all too casualty – as they seriously asked me to pray for them, “Sure, I’ll pray for you.” And then what did I do … NOT! What about all those years which I was unfaithful to my wife secretly delving into p0rnography, hiding it from my wife, with whom I had made vows of faithfulness in a church before God, family, and friends. And I expect there may be some reading here along with me that are convicted that we all too casually make promises to others upon which we don’t follow through; and sometimes we make such promises, knowing full-well – on the front-end - that we’re not going to keep them. My friends, if we don’t take our vows and promises seriously, we are sinning and are guilty before God’s throne of grace, … AREN’T WE?!!

So, what do we do about it? Well, our highlight passage gives us one follow-up command which we simply must follow when we realize that we’ve sinned by not keeping our promises; and that is to confess. Fortunately, if we are truly believers in the Living Christ; and we’ve come under His cleansing blood, we have the truth and promise of 1st John 1: 9, where God promises to cleanse us of any/all sin … IF … we come to Him with a truly repentant heart, confess, and ask for His forgiveness (and when God promises something we can take it to the heavenly banks). And also in God’s word (in James 5:16) we’re directed to confess to others when they are involved in our sin of broken promises.

But we also should be as proactive as we can in our relationship with God and with others, which leads me to realize that I shouldn’t be telling someone I’m going to pray for them if I’m just trying to court their favor or good will with the baseless promise. No, I’ve learned a way to handle that; and let me leave you with this little discipleship tool. When you’re with someone who asks for your prayer; and you genuinely want to pray for them … BUT … you know that you have a tendency to be forgetful or weak later after you’ve promised you’d pray. Well, I’ve learned from my Pastor to stop right there, wherever you are, and pray for that person openly and verbally, at least fulfilling your desire to pray for them about their concerns. Yes, you might tell them that you’ll do your best to TRY TO pray for them in the future; but at least desiring to pray for them and doing it right there begins the process of bringing their concerns to God. You’ll feel better; and I know, from experience, that you’ll more likely remember to pray for them in the future if you’ve done so personally and verbally on the spot.

But we do need to take very seriously the vows we make to others; and if we’ve breeched those vows, we need to confess that to God and to those whom we’ve wronged with broken promises; … and … we need God’s cleansing grace … not the sacrifices offered in Leviticus … to have our sinful broken vows made right before God and man.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, let my word and promises be true to You and to others in my life. Amen

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