“When a man makes a vow to the Lord … he must not break his word …” (Numbers 30:2)
When a witness is ready to testify in court, they raise their hand and say, “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me God.” The witness is calling God to be a witness to the truth of the testimony.
The basic principle taught in Numbers 30 is that vows must be kept. Our word must stand. Truth telling is an essential characteristic of Christians. Twisting the truth or telling lies has no place among us. The reason for this is that we’re called to reflect God. “God is not human, that he should lie, nor 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 our word can’t be trusted, we look like the devil, the father of lies (John 8:44).
Jesus asserted the importance of truth telling when he said, “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37). He was saying that we should be so marked by the truth that we should not need a vow to back up our word. Sometimes a vow will be required of us. But let’s have our word be enough. May our word be consistent with our actions.
Father, the temptation to lie or twist the truth is strong. Help us to be people of our word so that we reflect you. Amen.