Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 24, 2012 … Keeping our Vows [Lesson #2]

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Joshua, Chapters 9-11 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Reference Passage : Joshua 9: 16-21 … 6 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. >>> The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.” 21 They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.
Highlight Review Passage : Numbers 30: 1-2 … 1 Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: "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. …”

My Journal for Today: Ever made a promise that you wanted to take back because you knew, after making it, the oath or vow was a mistake? Well, that’s what happened to Joshua and the Israelite leaders when they made a deal with a tribe of Hivites from Gibeon. These Gibeonites were clever and conned the Israelite leaders into giving these Hivites a covenant of promise that Joshua would spare them. Read about it in Chapter 9 of Joshua, linked above.

But even though Joshua was under the instructions of God, through Moses, to destroy all of those in the lands occupied in the promised-land, having been duped by the Gibeonites and having made a vow of mercy to them, Joshua – in our highlight passage of today – convinces the Israelites and gives instructions that the Gibeonites were to be spared.

Some days back in my chronological reading plan, I blogged on this principle of integrity which God honors so highly. If you go back to this link and read my blog of March 6, 2012, you’ll see my exposition about God’s desire that we keep our word when we promise something to Him or to someone. And in today’s scenario, even though Joshua was under the definite and clear instructions from God to wipe out the people in the taking of the promised-land, Joshua – even though he had been conned – was bound to keep his word to the Gibeonites.

This is yet another reason to follow what Jesus would later teach His disciples (see Matthew 5: 33-3733 “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.

But why do you think it was so important for Joshua to honor the promise he had made to the deceitful Gibeonites over the promised he had made to God Himself to eradicate all of the peoples who occupied the promised-land? And the answer is in the character of God Himself. God is a promise-keeping God; and when He makes a promise to His people, He keeps it; and He expects the same promise-keeping character from His people which He models for us as a promise-keeping God.

And so, even though a mistake was made and the Gibeonites where able to pull a fast-one on Joshua, the Israelite leaders were bound to keep their vow of mercy to these specific people; and we are bound to keep our vows to God and to others, especially when we make a promise. Hopefully, two blogs full of this principle is enough for me to really get it and to live it as God intends for all of us to live … as His promise-keeping peoples.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to be a promise-keeper - … ALWAYS! Amen

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