This week’s lesson takes on the importance of oath keeping and avoiding them where possible. What may seem like an odd topic for Jesus to address fits right in with the previous messages of anger and adultery because our commitments or our failure to keep them impact not only ourselves but many others around us. For instance, if your friend agrees to help you move from your apartment and she fails to show up, you may be late getting out of the space in time and be left paying penalties. Or if a man takes vows as a husband and he develops a drinking problem, he will not be able to fulfill his commitment to his wife and any children that result from their relationship. Your commitments are the stitches holding together civilization. They are small on their own, but collectively they maintain or destroy society. Thus, in the Old Testament, there were laws against breaking vows, and this truth carries forward to today.
The Lord stressed to disciples this commandment following His teaching about avoiding adultery for clear reasons. Perhaps the most important vow or oath we take is the marriage vow. Our homes and families endure or perish based on our willingness to do whatever it takes to humble ourselves to live up to this holy relationship. Second to marriage vows, we make commitments to parents, children, friends, employers, and others to serve them, work for them, pay them, vote for them, and learn from them among countless other things. What happens when we fail to keep our promises? Bad things happen or evil to use Jesus’ words. Thus the Lord stressed the avoidance of vows commanding us to rather say simply “yes” or “no” when required. We cannot control the circumstances of life and we do not have the right to swear by heaven or the earth or any other such thing. So we should keep it simple. Just say, “Yes, I will help you if God is willing.”
There will be no Bible Study meeting this week, but I encourage you to consider Commandments of Jesus, Part VII: Yes or No.
Listen to the full message here.