Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
Soldier's Orders (Part 28)
Oaths: No Out Contracts
But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No,' lest you fall into judgment.
James 5:12 (NKJV)
When the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors... Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.
Joshua 9:3-4,14-15 (NKJV)
When a person becomes a soldier by an oath, it's a no-out contract. Bitter regret, second-guessing or better offers are irrelevant. He's in it to win it no matter what.
When a person becomes a Christian by an oath, it's a no-out contract. Idol worship, self-indulgence and denying God are punishable. He's in it to win it no matter what.
When a person makes any commitment by an oath, it's a no-out contract. Changing his mind, for any reason, is sinful in the Eyes of God. His Words on the matter?
'If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth' (Numbers 30:2).
Because God says a deal a deal. Even a bad deal. Consider Joshua's (almost) perfect service record. I see just one mistake, seemingly from compassion. He made a deal with a lying tribe of Gibeonites. When their deception was discovered, the deal was still honored. Because an oath is a no-out contract.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: our world has made reneging on contracts, forgetting our pledges and breaking our promises standard operating procedures. We become angry when our politicians don't honor their words. But do we honor ours?
Jesus says don't make vows.* Instead, let our Yes be Yes and your No be No. But sometimes, business and government say otherwise. In respecting our rulers, we must respect their rules. Therefore, if you make an oath (by paper or mouth), keep it, even when it hurts.** Because God does.
So in this age of forsaken vows and crumbling commitments, be the exception. Don't back out of a promise because you have regrets. Don't leave a proven agent for a better offer. Don't leave a role you confirmed for bigger bucks or fame. Don't leave a long-term friend for someone more exciting.
Be faithful examples in a faithless world.
To Be Continued...
* Matthew 5:33-37: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205:33-37&version=NKJV
** Regarding the keeping of a commitment even when it hurts: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+15&version=NASB
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Soldier's Orders series.