Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 18
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:5:31-32 Divorce
What is God doing?
If the Lord hasn't already pointed to each person in the audience's personal failing at His exceeding righteousness this evening in His great sermon, addressing anger/ought/lust/hate/defamation/divorce, this topic may well put Him over the top: perjury and failing to keep a pledge/vow while swearing upon a greater authority. In righteousness a man's soul is bound to his word, when he breaks his vow it is marked against his soul. Whether such breaking of his oath was intentional or unintentional or caused by events beyond his control beyond matters little, it is still a violation and still against the collateral of his very soul.
The standard Jewish teaching is that it is better not to vow at all than to make a vow and not pay it (nkjv@Ecclesiastes:5:5).
What is man doing?
Man has such a terrible record at keeping pledges, the marker of their very soul is of so little personal value to them that they would deliberately give their vows falsely, they cannot be trusted nor trust anyone else, that they have taken to swearing to a higher power The reputation of say the Temple or God's name of the Bible becomes the marker. Of course men think again so little again of God or Temple or Bible that neither their soul nor the greater powers reputation stand in the way of falsely swearing as they please.
Remember that this is a primarily religious crowd on the hillside tonight. Despite the Law and all of the talk and teaching about this in Deuteronomy and elsewhere religious types are perhaps the worst at this. Think how many times the nation of Israel has made a vow to God and did not pay it. Consider then how many times these men and women have made a vow to each other or to their local Synagogue or to their landlord or to their butcher or to their bill collector and not followed through on it. Think how many times just in casual everyday conversation they have sworn by the good reputation of God HIMSELF while yet embellishing a story account else lying through their teeth. In prayer they will even swear to God promising God that they are going to do this or tithe that or finally change the way that they behave.
If a man's word is his bond, then it is quite clear the majority of us are bound to a serious streak of corruption and worse the tarnishing of the good name of God HIMSELF.
- Recall our benchmarks and what they say about this failing:
- They are not poor in spirit, their vows are not done as unto the Lord, they are done despite the Lord and even in the Lord's name.
- They do not mourn, so many documented cases of national and personal vows shown as not kept, their souls thereto bound, God's reputation to outsiders so callously disregarded.
- They are not meek, refusing to change under God's reproof and correction even at times punishment.
- They do not hunger and thirst for righteousness, they want what they want and they are willing to perjure themselves against the mark of their souls for it.
- They are not merciful, they are as thieves and slanderers.
- They are not pure in heart while giving the impression by swearing to a higher power that they are.
- They are not peacemakers, they lead others to disrespect the Lord as well.
- They are not persecuted for righteousness sake, they are rebuked by God for continuing to operate unrighteously.
We could look at these benchmarks in similar fashion as to what the body "salt/light" is doing or not doing to surround the members in this kind of environment.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay:" is a direct command from our Lord; "for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil" is a plain fact and warning. This command is not all that different than the command has been all along. What makes this any different this time around is now the power and influence we allow Christ to have upon us. Can we then go about our many daily commitments as if Christ has yet to enter us? As if His Holy Spirit within us will look the other way? Has He so little influence that we are not immediately shocked and reprimanded of this before the courser act occurs?
In closing a thought: We have just come from a insightful moment gazing into the inner workings of a marriage on the verge of collapse, the hearts of two sworn together forever at the time of considering a writ of divorcement. This too is a vow bound to one's very soul before God and the witness of many friends and family members. It maybe yea or nay at that first fateful moment, but once that pledge is given it is nothing but yea from that moment on as unto God without all serious and prayerful contemplation.
Next: devotion:Matthew:5:38-42 An Eye for an Eye