What do all these people have in common?
Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Samuel and Jephthah? (They were all Judges and led Israel, before Israel had a king.)
What do you know about Jephthah? (JUDGES 11:29-39)
He led Israel in war against the Ammonites, who were threatening them. He is most famous for his FOOLISH VOW. (vs. 30-31)
What do you think about VOWS or PROMISES?
PROVERBS 20:25 - “It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later
to consider one’s vows.”
DEUTERONOMY 23:21-23 - “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, don’t
avoid keeping it. The Lord your God expects you to keep it. You would be guilty of a sin if you didn’t. If you didn’t make a vow, you would not be guilty. Make sure you do what you said you would do in your vow. You freely chose to make your vow to the Lord your God.”
Our words are very powerful. As Christians, if we make promises to someone or to God, we are to keep those promises. It would have been better for us not to make the promise in the first place, than to break it. - You tell God that if He gets you out of this trial, you’ll do this or that... (Foxhole prayers). He then gets you out of the trial, but instead of keeping your word you hem and haw, or you try to compromise, or you get selfish and find a way out.
God always keeps His Word... and he expects us to do the same. Nobody likes it when someone doesn’t live up to their word. If you have made a promise to God or someone else, and then broken that promise, you should repent and learn from your mistake.
When I was a kid my Dad reminded me over and over again of something that his father had taught him. Have you heard this?
“A MAN IS ONLY AS GOOD AS HIS WORD.”
I read that same theme in a Louis L’Amour novel not long ago. Mr. L’Amour said that in the old West a man’s word meant a great deal...people counted on it. It could mean the difference between life and death. (Funny, all this time and I thought my grandfather had come up with that.)
Here are some other “proverbs” that go along with “A Man is Only As Good As His Word.” Think about these...
“The most attractive thing a man can do is exactly what he says he’ll do.” “You are what you DO, not what you SAY you’ll do.” - Carl Jung
“Men with good intentions make promises, but men with good character keep them.”
“INTEGRITY: Doing what is right, even when it is difficult.”
Trustworthiness can be hard to find in this world, so much so that a firm handshake has been replaced with multi-page contracts of small-print legalese.
A truthful word is a rare occurrence. Yet we know someone who’s Word can always be trusted. When the people of Israel had finally settled in Canaan, we read that “not one of the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all had come to pass.” (Joshua 21:45)
There is no deception, no falsehood, and no failure to fulfill - when it comes to the promises in God. If He speaks it, we can believe it, we can stand on it, we can rely on it. His Word is truth. (2 Cor. 1:20) AND...HE EXPECTS US TO BE THE SAME.