As we continue reading in Numbers, we see more explanation on the sacrifices that were to be made, and some details about each of the festivals. It is always nice to read these passages and be reminded that worship should be a daily, but also intentional part of our lives. And on the heels of this, we come to Numbers 30 which discusses vows. It would be easy to pass over this chapter since at first glance it seems to be very culture and time specific. But as with all passages of the Bible, there is a reason why God has them in there for us, and so there is always something to be learned (plus if the word is actually living and active as the NT describes, then even in a seemingly meaningless conversation, there is still something there). So here are a few points that I pulled from this chapter.
1. Keeping your vow is related to worship. I don’t think that it is a mistake that this passage follows the sacrifices and festivals. While this chapter is extremely practical, it also tells us something spiritual. This passage specifically is talking about vows- promises made under the name of God. To me, the clearest personal example of this is marriage vows. When Andy and I got married, we stood in a church and made vows not only before God, but we actually made vows to God. When we make a vow using God’s name, then keeping that vow is deeply connected with our worship. We can’t fully worship (in Greek the meaning carries both love and submission) God if we don’t keep the promises we’ve made to Him, or if we disregard the reflection that our actions has on how others see Him. When we break something like a married vow- not even meaning divorce, but in how we treat and speak about our spouse- we not only break our promise to God (super serious!), but we also communicate to those around us that it doesn’t matter what we promise to God. Keeping our vow not only is a way to worship God, but to also show others how as believers, we are called to worship God with our lives.
2. God has given family an order. An unmarried woman’s vow can be undone by her father and a married woman’s vow can be undone by her husband. Sometimes I’ll admit that I struggle with the whole model of men being over women but I also will admit that I enjoy being taken care of. The overall lesson here is that if I make a vow but my husband disagrees, he has the final word.
3. Communication in marriage is essential. Marriage is not a solo sport. And this point is clear in this passage. I hate backing out on something I’ve committed to. But if I committed to it and then Andy vetoes it when I tell him, I need to back out. I can avoid putting myself in that position by discussing things with him first. On the flip side, if I commit to something and tell Andy and he doesn’t speak up right away, then he is responsible for breaking the ‘vow’. Now I know that this passage is specifically for very serious and legal vows but it makes sense to me that if this is how God set it up for big things, then this is also how it works for smaller things. Now the difficulty for Andy is that he is responsible for his word and any of mine that he knows of- not to mention then children also. For both Andy and I, communication and approaching things together becomes essential. It helps us make sure that we are both behind our commitments. It allows him to speak into my commitments before I make them, and it helps inform me of the bigger picture when deciding what to think about committing to.
Makes sense to me! Although seems to be easier said than done sometimes…