Monday, May 30, 2011

Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

"When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay."

Do you find yourself being cavalier at times with the promises and comittments that you make to others?  The busier that our lives get, the more we struggle with failure to follow through on our promises.  We often rationalize the breaking of our word with legitimate reasoning according to the world around us; however it is the Word of God and not the culture around us that provides the norms and standards according to which we are to adhere. Proper orientation to the Word of God provides us with an eternal perspective in which we value our witness to the world around us for the Gospel of Jesus Christ above all other priorities. When we make a promise we are doing so not independently but as a representative of the Creator God of the universe for 2 Corinthians 5:20 states: "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us".  It is because we represent God that all of our promises are made not only to the person to whom we make them but to God, Himself.  When we think about it in these terms what possible rationale could suffice for the breaking of our word?

Reflect for a moment on the form of interaction used by God to relate to His creation.  Throughout history God has voluntarily entered into contractual relationships (covenants) with man, thus binding His Sovereign will to actions in fulfillment of these contracts.  Following the world wide flood which destroyed everyone except for Noah and his family, God entered into a covenant relationship in which He promised the following: "I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth." God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth (Genesis 9:11-13). Every time we see a rainbow in the sky we are reminded that we worship a God Who keeps His Word not just for a little while but forever! God does not treat His promises to man in light of man's complete inability and helplessness to enforce their terms and conditions. We are never to regard the worldly status of the person to whom we enter into a promise as an indicator of the importance of our fulfillment.  A promise made to a child is just as important as a promise made to an adult.  A promise made to a subordinate is just as important as a promise made to a superior!  A promise made to someone with little is just as important as a promise made to someone with much. 

Consider the message that we, as believers bring to the unbelieving world: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).  We bring a message of hope and security on the basis of our God Who has told us that He was satisfied with the work of Jesus Christ on the cross as payment for our sins and based on the fact that He will never change His mind.  Our hope is based on God keeping His Word.  This is the God Who we worship and the God who we represent on earth.  It is for this reason that we must be sure that when we make a promise that we can and will fulfill that promise. Remember, when you stand before an unbeliever, you are the picture that he has of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  Conduct yourself accordingly!

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