Parashat Mattot (Tribes)
Bamidbar (Numbers) 30:2–32:42
Do you know someone who is very dependable and keeps his or her word? This is someone who follows through and you never have to wonder if things will get done; it’s refreshing, isn’t it? But did you know that keeping one’s word is a biblical principal? We don’t usually think about it that way, but it is an important part of living a faith-filled life in the LORD. In this week’s Scripture reading, we find this very important principal outlined for us:
If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
As believers, we sometimes complicate things unintentionally. We tend to focus on the less important issues and forget the basic most significant elements of our faith. In our desire to please people — or to not disappoint them — we are quick to make false promises that we can’t, or even worse, won’t back up with our actions, despite the fact that we have the very best intentions.
The problem, though, is that when this happens regularly, instead of being trustworthy people, we become untrustworthy. This is problematic for many reasons, one of them being that how we behave reflects on our faith and the God we serve. We are His ambassadors, and if we are constantly flaking on what we promise, it reflects poorly on God. The enemy is always seeking for opportunities to soil God’s reputation, and often, he does it through us, even though we are unaware of it.
My dear brothers and sisters, we need to be people of our word! We need to be careful to what we commit ourselves to and perhaps be slower to say “yes” instead of trying to please everyone by telling them what they want to hear. It’s hard to say “no” or “I’m sorry, but I can’t commit to that” or whatever it might be. But, it’s important to know when to say “yes” and when to say “no”.
When we do say “yes”, we need to do our best to follow through with it; our “yes” is a reflection of our trust in the Lord! Yeshua taught His disciples this principle (Matthew 5:37), and James echoes this in his writings:
But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no, no; so that you may not fall under judgment.