每日诗歌: 成长 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKgoPpuze34)
Numbers 30 [Read]
Numbers 31 [Read]
Mark 9:30-50 [Read]
I love weddings, especially the ones I have the honor to officiate. It’s always a pleasure to witness the bride walking down the aisle led by her father with everyone standing and watching with smile on their faces. But the part I enjoy the most is when the couple give their wedding vows. To me, this public declaration before so many witnesses truly seals the marriage. From then on, they are bound by their own words before God, and they shall always be together in wealth and poverty, in health and sickness, till death do them part.
Vows are binding because they are spoken before God, and God shall hold the vow-giver responsible. “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” (Nu 30:2). Vows are common in OT (Gen 21:31, 28:20), and provisions were given in the Law about how they should be honored (Lev 27). A vow was also used to test the chastity of a wife (Nu 5:5-31), and every Nazirite must take a vow to be wholly dedicated to God (Nu 6:1-21). Even for today’s passage about how to nullify a vow by women, the unspoken assumption was that a vow should never be broken by God’s people, man and woman included.
But the heart of man is corrupted. Like many other things, a good intention can be turned into something evil. By the time of the 1st century, Jews had developed means to say vows without invoking God’s name. Vows became a tool of deception, and people gave vows cheaply by pointing anything they could imagine (Mt 5:34-36). Hence came the command of Jesus (Mt 5:37) and James (Js 5:12). The point of our Lord was not to forbid taking vows, but to stress the critical virtue of honesty and integrity for all who wanted to follow him. “Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one”.
I wonder how each of us fares before the Lord on this. Do we let Yes be Yes and No be No? Or do we often fall in the “grey area”? I do hope that all the wedding vows I witnessed will be held firmly till death do them part. Furthermore, I pray that God will give us strength to show integrity where situation demands. If I believe that the Lord I put my faith in cannot lie (Heb 6:18), and if I gladly receive the covenantal benefits of such a faithful God, then I had better obey his command and take my own words seriously. Let Yes be Yes, and Let No be No.
Keep on reading,