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Wednesday: Pledges — 7 Comments

  1. When I was a kid I signed the temperance pledge. Looking back, I recognise that the reasons why I signed the pledge were:

    My parents expected me to.
    My peers were all signing it.
    My church provided me with the pledge and thus expected me to sign it.

    Although the evils of alcohol were mentioned, it was not really a reason for signing the pledge.

    Now, some 65 years later, I do not drink alcohol. It is not through any loyalty to the pledge though. I have learned by observing others what happens to your brain when you drink alcohol and want no part of it.

    A pledge is only useful if you understand what you are pledging. I suggest that the pledge that I signed as a child was fairly useless as I was too immature to understand its ramifications. Today, I could sign the pledge with knowledge and understanding.

    The Israelites pledged several times that they would do all that the Lord required of them and then within the blink an eye changed their minds. Just a reminder of what happened at Sinai:

    Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
    And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him.
    And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. Ex 19:5-8

    How much later was it that they were worshiping the golden calf?

    One would be inclined to think that if you heard the voice of God from the mountain top and seen the demonstration of his power in providing the miracles of the exodus, that the people would believe and keep their pledges of loyalty for ever. Sadly their loyalty only lasted until they thought about the savoury taste of onions!

    History repeats itself for the post exilic jews. The pledged loyalty then found the local women were more attractive than their own.

    And we are different today?

  2. Nehemiah 10: 30 & 31
    30 “We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons.r

    31 “When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath,s we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day. Every seventh year we will forgo working the land and will cancel all debts.

    The pledge of marriage seems harsh from the specs of 21st century reader.
    For an alcoholic, drug addict, and a person in opioid crisis this is the only remedy.
    They must stay away from the influence that will separate them from the Lord.

    1 Kings 11:4 4 For when Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD his God, as his father David had been.

    1) Not to buy and sell on sabbath.
    Remember in Nehemiah chapter 6 the people were complaining about their poor living condition.
    For them to accept this rule on Sabbath is huge undertaking on their faith on God.
    Inspiration pens merchandise or grain. Grain essential commodity for the people, yet the people were
    willing to let go of the essential need to be obedient to the Word of God.
    They wanted to safeguard against all defilement that would lead them against God.

    How often it is the little things that took us down the wrong path?
    It is purely by the grace of God we are who we are today.

    2) In addition to the weekly Sabbath day they will follow the same guidance on all the established Sabbath in the Torah
    Example: Day of atonement, wave sheaf offering
    For a people when every little bit counts, they are willing to put their trust in the Lord.
    3) Forego working the land
    Remember what we learned from the last quarter lesson study: This means they would not plant the seventh year. They need to plant on the next year and gather the crops in the following year. In every action they are demonstrating their complete dependence on God.
    4) Cancel all debts
    Here they pledge to follow God's command in canceling the debt in spite of their circumstances.
    It is usually out of our abundance we pledge. In their poverty they were willing to give.

    Malachi 3
    Do Not Rob God
    “Will a man rob God?
    Yet you have robbed Me!
    But you say,
    ‘In what way have we robbed You?’
    In tithes and offerings.
    You are cursed with a curse,
    For you have robbed Me,
    Even this whole nation.
    Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
    That there may be food in My house,
    And try Me now in this,”
    Says the Lord of hosts,
    “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
    And pour out for you such blessing
    That there will not be room enough to receive it.

    What is keeping you from being faithful?
    Test prove me says the Lord.

  3. May all glory be to God. Without faith we can do nothing! Thank God for toils and troubles! Sometimes they are there to help us depend completely on Him! I think the choice is simple, and has to be exercised, "choosing whom we serve"! Faith may keep us standing for the Great Day of His coming!

  4. Holy Spirit help me to stand by my pledge. To serve you all the days of my life. Take away sinful desires from me. Amen.


    To walk this christian road, to keep oneself holy, to follow after the word of God appears like our life must be one of radical Christianity.

    The people pledged themselves to do mainly four things as mentioned before.
    1. No mixed marriages. It was not only no marriage to an individual who could lead one into idolatry but let us read Ezra 10:1-43. Can Christianity get more radical than this?
    After Ezra prayed and confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a large congregation consisting of men, women and children came to him.

    One man in authority acknowledged that the Israelites had sinned by marrying strange wives and the only answer to this was to put them away, yep, put their wives away (and husbands). By divorce.

    We know when the bible talks about putting away your wife it is by divorce. Was there any other way to solve this problem? Are we disappointing with God for dealing with this problem in such a manner? Some will ask, how can a loving God allow such a thing? My people, God does everything for a reason and a purpose. Let us continue to study the journey of the children of Israel and the mix multitude in the Israelite's camp and we will understood the reason for this action.

    Matt 10:35-39 This is radical Christianity in its deepest sense. Do we still hear radical sermons preached to us? The ones that will wake us up from our sins and point us to the Savoir?
    These sermons when preached, will prick our conscious and we long to go home and fall at our bedside and weep like the men in the bible for a change in our own lives and others?

    • These words of Jim Eliot have given me much to think of with regard to radical Christianity:

      Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His. Consider the call from the Throne above, “Go ye,” and from round about, “Come over and help us,” and even the call from the damned souls below, “Send Lazarus to my brothers, that they come not to this place.” Impelled, then, by these voices, I dare not stay home while Quichuas [an unreached people group in South America] perish. So what if the well-fed church in the homeland needs stirring? They have the Scriptures, Moses, and the Prophets, and a whole lot more. Their condemnation is written on their bank books and in the dust on their Bible covers. American believers have sold their lives to the service of Mammon, and God has His rightful way of dealing with those who succumb to the spirit of Laodicea.

      I can see a gap between the testimony of Jesus (which is the spirit of prophecy) and my testimony.

  5. Matthew 5:33-37 33 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

    The easy answer is that the bible strictly and totally forbids oaths, vows and pledges, but the reasons for this are complex and the applications to daily life are numerous. We will look at formal vows made to God, and vows made to the church and inner vows we make to ourselves, lastly we shall look at pacts made with the Devil which, though rare, can have a devastating impact on one's life. Just to be clear when I talk of "oaths" or "swearing" I am not talking about abuse but about a sacred promise such as "swearing on the Bible".

    Three key bible passages that outline the principles behind not taking oaths, vows and pledges. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tell us quite bluntly "But I say to you, do not swear at all:" and later He rebukes the Pharisees telling them how solemn oaths were and how dangerous it was to make them flippantly:

    Matthew 23:16-22 Woe to you, blind guides, saying, Whoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor. (17) Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold? (18) And, Whoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is a debtor! (19) Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift? (20) Therefore whoever shall swear by the altar swears by it, and by all things on it. (21) And whoever shall swear by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. (22) And he who shall swear by Heaven swears by the throne of God, and by Him who sits on it.

    Jesus' brother James writes in his epistle "above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath."

    James 5:12 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," lest you fall into judgment.

    And Ecclesiastes tells us that God has no patience with fools who make promises they cannot keep and that God will destroy the works of their hands.

    Ecclesiastes 5: 1-7 1 Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. 2 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool's voice is known by his many words. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed- 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse[a] and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.

  6. Yes we are warned against false pledges, in thinking we can keep our commitment to the LORD's covenant by our own will power, it is only possible if we surrender our will to the LORD and allow Him to work in us to do His will Philippians 2:13.


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