MAINTAINING OUR COMMITMENTS AND PROMISES
Numbers 30:2, 9 When a man, a widow or a divorced woman makes a vow to YaHuWaH, or takes an oath to obligate themselves by a pledge, they must not break their word but must do everything they have said.
If a man or woman commits anything to YaHuWaH, self or their neighbor, they are to honor their word, as a promise made in YaHuWaH’s kingdom denotes the maturity to carry out our pledge. Therefore, when making a promise, vow or oath we automatically put ourselves in the position of being a person of our word. Therefore, you must fulfill your word.
Deuteronomy 23:23 “That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform, for you voluntarily vowed to the YaHuWaH your Elohim what you have promised with your mouth.”
If a man makes an inappropriate declaration, he must make restitution, especially if he has uttered a slanderous remark. He is bound both legally and morally to YaHuWaH for both accounts. If a woman, still living under her father’s care, makes an inappropriate statement, a careless word or takes an oath, her father (being her head covering), upon hearing it, can forbid and cancel her rash commitments and restore her back to Kingdom principles. It is the same for a married woman. Upon hearing a hasty pledge, her husband (her head covering) can respond to YaHuWaH on her behalf and nullify the vow. Thus, the vow will not be binding upon them. But if the men do not respond or cover their women, then any foolish pledge the women have spoken will be binding on both the man and the woman as YaHuWaH holds the man accountable for their words.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before YaHuWaH. For YaHuWaH is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few.”
Ecclesiastes 5:4-7 “When you make a vow to YaHuWaH, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed – Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of YaHuWaH that it was an error. Why should YaHuWaH be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear YaHuWaH.”
Many make vows with no thought of committing to their words. They say things like, “I’ll call you sometime.” “We’ll get together.” “That’s a promise.” “You will have it on time.” “We would love to come.” “We will be there.” “You can count on me!” Sadly, these vows are just empty promises with no real meaning behind them. Instead, they have become social clichés rather than earnest endeavors.
Then there are the personal promises, vows, and oaths like “I’ll never hurt you again.” “I’m going to quit.” “I promise Honey.” “I’ll never do it again.” “I’ll be home on time.” “I’ll be right there.” “I love you.” Unfulfilled promises are forms of excuses.
As Yahusha is faithful to perform His word to us, we must also be true to YaHuWaH and our neighbor. That is the essence of love; doing what we say. As children of YaHuWaH, a promise becomes a prophecy or a covenant committed between two parties. As His Set-Apart ones on earth, speaking a pledge links us to YaHuWaH’s eternal, immortal Kingdom.
Unfulfilled promises become empty containers or vessels. Thus, misrepresenting (blaspheming) His Name and Kingdom. Empty promises are lies that do not reflect YaHuWaH’s Kingdom.
James 3:9-10 “With it [the tongue] we bless YaHuWaH our Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of YaHuWaH. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. Mishpachah, these things ought not to be so.”
Broken vows and oaths are careless and hurt others. Empty words can create awkward situations making other’s carry the burden generated by a broken promise. When YaHuWaH people misrepresent the Word, they devalue Him and become untrustworthy, unreliable, and unpredictable. Breaking vows and oaths is a reflection of not valuing oneself, as well as disrespectful of others; both of which are the action of an unloving spirit. Disrespect is a form of self-idolatry, rebellion to authority, and self-deception of the heart. Dishonor of self and others can become a stronghold that creates the fruit of distrust and dishonesty, all contrary to the Ruach haKodesh thus; our word is no longer our bond, no longer truthful, and no longer valid. A relationship cannot be established on a blanket of empty expressions, promises, and excuses. If our word is not our bond, we will be unstable and unreliable in all our ways (called double minded). For those caught in a cycle, not able to keep commitments, know that by following through on what we say will bring respect and healing. We are called to be reconcilers of His word and Repairers of the Breach. When our testimony matches our commitment, it builds trust.
Commitment to the words we speak means we are obedient and quick to work out our deliverance through a heart of repentance for the redemption of all Yisra’El (Isaiah 58:12; Ezekiel 18:30-32; 2Corinthians Chapters 6-8; Romans 11:26; James 4:8-10).
Ephesians 4:14-16 “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Yahusha – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
Ephesians 5:28 “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.”
Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Proverbs 8:36 “But he who sins against me [YaHuWaH] wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me [lie] love death.”
Excuses, Justifications, and Rationalizations
It is human nature to want to be accepted by others. As believers, if the heart is not given entirely over to Yahusha, we tend to rely more on man’s opinion and approval than in keeping a relationship with YaHuWaH or living by His word. If a believer’s action is not consistent with his or her confession in Yahusha, and they have not kept their pledge to YaHuWaH, self, and others, then, in essence, they are endorsing disloyalty and falsehood.
What if a believer is questioned regarding the fruit of his or her walk and their first response is an adverse reaction? If they are reactors, unforgiveness, bitterness, and even idols may be rooted in the heart. Living with compromise and unchecked guilt can lead to uncontrolled physical addictions like eating disorders, alcohol, smoking or porn, etc., which in turn can lead to diseases and illnesses, as one cannot build a life on smoke screens, shifting sand or lies.
Does a person tend to blame others as the reason why they are angry? Do they become defensive accusing others as being controlling or condemning? Justifications and excuses are defense mechanisms that make them accountable before YaHuWaH. Being critical, excusing or avoiding responsibility for not keeping their word to others is a sin (lawlessness). If a believer resorts to backtalk, alibis, and self-rationalization they exhibit a heart that is not wholly given over to Yahusha, as he or she has not fully entered Set-Apartness yet.
People in depravity and compromise often seek ways to justify continuing their conduct. If believers are well meaning but addicted to habitual excuses, chronic inability to finish projects or unable to keep their promises, they have a spiritually rooted problem. When people participate in willful sin, they cannot excuse it away as if they cannot help themselves and expect others to accept it. Individuals who continue in persistent transgression are exhibiting how their habit has captured their heart. They are hooked and find it tough to quit (as in alcoholism or drug addiction). Nevertheless, they began the sin because they chose a pattern of life that led to the habit. If people have no power on their own to overcome a problem, only through Yahusha will they be able to resist temptation and overcome. Scripture says that Yahusha has provided everything His people need to overcome sin. For that reason, YaHuWaH continues to hold them accountable. Therefore, sin is without excuse.
Habitual excuses, unfulfilled and empty words are dysfunctions. Sadly they do not win people over and misrepresent Yahusha; whose Spirit lives within. In some cultures, if a father has to ask his child to do a chore, it is considered disrespectful to the parent, as the father has already taken the time and the patience to teach his children beforehand. He then expects his children to take the initiative and respond, respecting his words by obeying them. Taking the initiative is what brings honor to the father. It is the same for us. YaHuWaH has already declared His word to us.
When we take the initiative and respond, this brings Him honor. When we walk in His word, Scripture says we are walking in His righteousness. This is the way of Set-Apartness.
Deuteronomy 6:25 “Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before YaHuWaH our Elohim, as He has commanded us.”
By maintaining our commitments and promises, a significant guarantee of blessings and prosperity is generated. Breaking our word creates a notable withdrawal. Every time we break a commitment, we eat away our self-esteem. How can we feel good about ourselves if we cannot keep our promises? Maybe we say yes when we want to say no because the desire to please others (or saving face called pride) is stronger than honoring YaHuWaH. Some craft a false commitment out of a feeling of guilt or wanting to be liked or just because they never actually learned to say no. And, then there are the duty addicts whose lives end up a treadmill of endless promises impossible to keep. Along the way, family and friends move further back on the bus, as the over-achiever trades commitments and promises made to their family for a more self-serving opportunity. “I’m doing it for you, Honey!” The family should not be given crumbs off the table. It is our responsibility to serve them a banquet.
James 4:1 “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”
1 John 1:5-7 “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that YaHuWaH is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yahusha haMashiach cleanses us from all sin.”
Some reason that the cost of being honest may be too high and create a habit of lying that is rooted in a lifestyle of compromise while trying to gain favor with others around them. In conflicts, lukewarm people tend to leave things just as they are so as not to rock the boat. Some just get up and walk out of the room thinking that will solve their problems and keep others quiet, hoping the tension will evaporate over time. This kind of reasoning is not from a circumcised heart but allows sin to abound even more. With that logic, guilt will always be their constant companion. Excuses, justifications, and self-rationalizations are all forms of self-perjury. When a believer starts to weigh the cost of compromise and begins to be honest with YaHuWaH, self, and others, they will stop lying and truly experience a heart conversion (total circumcision) (Luke 22:32).
1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of YaHuWaH abides forever.”
James 1:14-16 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”
Rationalization (also known as making excuses) is an unconscious defense mechanism in which perceived controversial behaviors or feelings are logically justified and explained in a rational or logical manner to avoid any real explanation, and made consciously tolerable. Rationalization encourages irrational or unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings. This process ranges from fully conscious (e.g. to present an external defense against ridicule from others) to mostly subconscious (e.g. to create a block against internal feelings of guilt).
Self-justification (internal or external) describes how, when a person encounters a situation in which a person’s behavior is inconsistent with their belief, that person tends to justify the behavior and deny any negative feedback associated with the response. Example: ‘Their minds rationalize it by inventing a comfortable illusion’. Thus for example ‘people who start to smoke or drink again after quitting for a while perceive it to be less dangerous to their health, compared to their views when they decided to stop’ – thereby averting their ‘post-decisional regret’ through their new rationalization. Self-justification aims to diminish one’s responsibility for a behavior viewing themselves in a positive light.
An explanation that is aimed at eliminating or lessening the negative value of the outcome of a questionable action.
An explanation that is aimed at eliminating or lessening our responsibility for a questionable action. We are made in YaHuWaH’s image. If we do not impart Yahusha, we misrepresent Him. That behavior in Scripture is called strange fire. Thus, our word is no longer our bond (our covenant). Many do not realize that unfulfilled vows/oaths bind and imprison. Empty promises hinder YaHuWaH’s blessings. Therefore, we must weigh the gravity of our thoughts and speech very carefully (Proverbs 10:11; 12:14,18; 13:3; 14:13; 15:2,4,14; 16:23-24; 21:23).
Luke 8:15 “But the ones [seeds] that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”
Decide to choose righteous behavior. It is our moral obligation and promise to Yahusha. Restitution begins when we return to where dishonor initially took place to restore honor, first with YaHuWaH, then with our fellow man or woman, and finally with self. Yahusha will always be quick to apply grace, healing (Set-Apartness), and restoration (John 8:31-34; Matthew 13:20-21; Psalm 51:2-3, 8-10; Psalm 32:5, 38:18; James 5:16; Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Proverbs 24:10 “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”
Luke 6:27-28 “But I say to you who hear: ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”