I confess my eyeballs are sore! Numbers is not an easy book to plod through, but the Lord is showing me insights that I never dreamed I’d find in between all the begats.
Vows and pledges are important and are not to be taken lightly or with a flippant heart. They are so valuable that a father of an unmarried woman can nullify her vow…a fiancee can nullify his betrothed’s vows…and a husband can nullify his wife’s vows…but if he does not and she ends up breaking it, he is punished.
Jesus echoed the importance of not making vows or pledges from Matthew 5:
33“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Do not swear at all. Keep it simple: say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as you mean it. As a woman, this is a very hard task for me. I have a very difficult time saying ‘No.’ I often let my ‘No’ be ‘Yes’ because I fear offending someone, or I think that if I don’t do it, nobody else will. Looking at this passage this way is liberating — it is Biblical to say ‘No’ when asked to do something that you know deep down the Lord isn’t calling you to do!
For example, a friend asked me if I could keep her child for her one afternoon. On any other afternoon, it would have been fine, but this afternoon was one in which I was furiously preparing for our weekly Classical Conversations meeting and an open house. I told her that I was sorry but that I just couldn’t swing it, and then when I hung up the phone, I felt guilty. I must stop this mental flogging and follow Jesus — let my ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and my ‘no’ be ‘no.’