“If someone allows to slip from his mouth an oath to do evil or to do good, and he doesn’t remember that he clearly spoke this oath, then, no matter what it was about, when he learns of it, he is guilty.” -Leviticus 5:4
We are continuing our study of the first 13 verses of Leviticus chapter 5 dealing with what are called “SINS OF OMISSION”.
These are trespasses concerning actions which should or should not have been done depending on the circumstances but were overlooked due to neglect.
From verse 4, we now encounter the situation of a person giving an oath or making a vow to do something.
We are told that whether the vow was “to do evil or good”, if over the passage of time, the person forgets what he promised, he is still guilty before the Lord.
He has committed an inadvertent Sin of Omission.
Now WHAT EXACTLY is a vow?
The answer is quite simple actually.
The Biblical definition of a vow is a promise sworn in the NAME OF GOD.
And when I say the name of God, I am of course referring to YHVH or יהוה.
A promise becomes a vow once a person has invoked the name of YHVH as surety to fulfill the declaration he has made.
It’s important to understand that in the ancient days, oaths and vows were much more serious matters than they are in our day.
Just as our modern society uses lawyers and written contracts, it was vows and oaths that were the traditional method of forming legal agreements in ancient times and they were just as binding if not more so.
Let’s take a look at that phrase “to do evil or to do good”.
What does this mean exactly?
The point being made here is that it doesn’t matter what the nature of the promise was.
In a fit of rage, you may have impulsively vowed in the name of YHVH to kill your wife for some wrong she did.
You may not have meant what you said at that time, but it doesn’t matter.
You have made a vow in the name of YHVH, and now you are under divine obligation to keep it, lest you be guilty of a sin of omission.
But thank God in this case we have the HATTA-AT offering to purify us of this sin.
Can you see why it is best to avoid vow making altogether?
Can you see the wisdom in just making our “yes” yes and our “no” no?
When you invoke the Holy Name of the Creator of the Universe, this action carries big time serious consequences!
I think too many of us have the bad habit of invoking the Lord’s name in a casual or careless manner.
This is not good.
What we find here in Leviticus is that it does NOT matter whether that vow made in the name of YHVH is in accordance with God’s Law or not.
The Lord still sees the promise binding, EVEN IF THE VOW MADE GOES AGAINST THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD.
Thus, if you vowed to steal something from someone, you’re now facing a double whammy.
Again, the easy and stress-free solution to avoid putting oneself in such a predicament is to just NOT make a vow or an oath in the first place.
Do NOT use the name of YHVH when making a promise!
Given our human frailties, we may just blow it off, forget about it, or change our minds because we realized at the time we had acted impulsively.
However, the Lord doesn’t forget.
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”-Numbers 23:19
When you make a vow using the Lord’s Holy Name and then subsequently blow it off, you are taking His Name in vain and impinging on His Character.
So let’s follow Yeshua’s advice on the matter and avoid making vows in the first place.
“It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.”
May the Lord’s SHALOM be with you!
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Again, you have heard that our fathers were told,
‘Do not break your oath,’and
‘Keep your vows to Adonai.’
But I tell you not to swear at all — not ‘by heaven,’
because it is God’s throne;
not ‘by the earth,’
because it is his footstool;
and not ‘by Yerushalayim,’
because it is the city of the Great King.
And don’t swear by your head,
because you can’t make a single hair white or black.
Just let your ‘Yes’ be a simple ‘Yes,’
and your ‘No’ a simple ‘No’;
anything more than this has its origin in evil.