WEEK 8: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
“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 fulfil all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:21, NLT)
Not too long ago, I was reading through 2 Samuel 21 and a couple of commentaries helped me to understand why David had to hand over seven of King Saul’s sons and grandsons to the Gibeonites so that they could execute them publicly. The Lord told David that Israel’s famine was caused by Saul’s deliberate killing of the Gibeonites years before. Saul had had no right to attack them, because Jonathan had made a vow before God to the Gibeonites to never attack and/or kill them (even though they had tricked the Israelites into the vow).
Out of the blue, I suddenly remembered something I had said to a dear brother in the Middle East in a very emotional moment three years ago. This brother had been receiving death threats because he served the Lord and helped those who wanted to know more about Jesus. He had shared with us how he was ready to be a martyr but found it very upsetting to receive phone calls and photos from his ‘enemies’ about his family’s whereabouts during the day. He also shared with us how he would get up very early in the morning to pray and plead with the Lord, and after that he would walk on the walls of their land, anoint them and blow the ram’s horn to declare war on God’s enemies.
Touched by what they were going through, I said that our family would stand with them in prayer, and as a sign, we would also blow a ram’s horn in the morning. The problem was that I didn’t own a ram’s horn, but I was determined to get one once we were back at home. We really prayed for them intensely, and although their situation got a little bit better, we as a family still continued to pray for them … but I didn’t get a ram’s horn until about a year ago, and even then, I didn’t fulfil my promise in that regard. So after the Lord reminded me of my vow, I took the ram’s horn and attempted to blow it … but only wind came out. I know there’s nothing ‘magical’ about blowing the ram’s horn, but I realised that the words I had spoken to our brother were probably also just like wind before God. I prayed and asked Him for forgiveness, and after a couple of tries, the most precious sound came out!
This made me realise just how ‘cheap’ we can be with our words and commitments. Do we really pray for someone when we say we will? Can people count on your word? Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 5 that our ‘yes’ must be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’, ‘no’. As Christians, we need to be honourable and trustworthy – even in the small things we say.
“Let your words be the genuine picture of your heart.” – John Wesley