SOAP Devotional 2016-10-04
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
““You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the LORD.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” –Matthew 5:33-37 NLT
Jesus was dealing with a problem that had come to exist perverting scriptures from Leviticus 19:12 and Deuteronomy 23:21-23. People knew they had to keep any vow they made to Jehovah, so they based there vows on other things rather than God because they did not necessarily commit to keeping the vow. Kind of like saying, “I swear on my grandmother’s grave…” when you know full well you do not mean it. What Jesus is telling us to do is to just be men and women of our word. Do what you say you will do. Be known as someone that keeps their word and you will not have to swear by anything.
If you say you are going to do something then do it. If you say you are not going to do something, then do not do it. If ever circumstances outside your control keeps you from being able to fulfill what you said, then go to those you said it to and explain why you cannot do what you said. Do not leave it looking like you did not keep your word. I would say to take it one step further and just be what/who you said you are. Nothing more and nothing less.
Father, let my word mean something. Help me to fulfill the things I say I will or will not do. If every am unable to complete what I said that I would do, help me to admit my shortcomings quickly. To minimize shortcomings, help me to think through what I say I will do before I make commitments.
There are no minor vows just because you did not make it to God. But if you do promise God something…
“When you make a vow to the LORD your God, be prompt in fulfilling whatever you promised him. For the LORD your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin. However, it is not a sin to refrain from making a vow. But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to fulfill your promise to the LORD your God.” –Deuteronomy 23:21-23 NLT