How does the ancient “Law of Vows” apply to us today? And what does it have to do with a right view of authority?
Numbers 29 & 30:
The “Law of Vows” & a right view of authority
Chapter 30 covers the “Law of Vows.” God takes truth and honoring our word seriously. Jesus said, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” (Matt. 5.37a). Part of the “Law of Vows” had to do with authority. If a woman still lived in her father’s house or if she was married, her father or husband could overrule what she vowed.
How does the “Law of Vows” apply to us today? First it should serve to remind us that God not only takes truth seriously, but He also takes authority seriously. This principle is still true today in our marriages, in the workplace, and other areas where we are under authority.
We need to teach our children the importance of respecting authority, too. That means teaching them to respect their teachers, the police and other civil authorities, and the other parent even if we are divorced.
We need to teach them both by explanation and by example, as we show respect to our spouses, our ex-spouses, their teachers and school officials, the civil authorities, and our bosses.
But as I’ve said before, authority stops when that person asks us to sin. In those cases we have a Higher Authority—God and His Word. We can’t sin either by omission (not doing what God clearly commands) or by co-mission (doing something God commands us not to do) just because someone else commands it.
Ephesians 5.21 says, “Submitting to one another in the fear of God.” “In the fear of God” is a very important part of that verse. Even children are commanded to obey their parents “in the Lord” (Eph. 6.1). “Fear” or respect for God and His Word is our final authority. But for us to refuse to submit to authority, it should be because of a clear violation of Scripture, not just our own opinion or desires.
God’s care of the righteous
Verse 15, “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Though God sees everyone and everything all the time, He has His eye on the righteous in a special way. Isaiah 66.2, “… ‘But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.'”
The fruit of a righteous life
Verse 30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” Matthew Henry in his commentary says, “This shows what great blessings good men [and women] are … contributing to the support and nourishment of the spiritual life in many …” He goes on, “He that is wise, by communicating his wisdom, wins souls, wins upon them to bring them in love with God and holiness, and so wins them over into the interests of God’s kingdom among men.” An endeavor with eternal fruit!
Verse 36, “And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.'” As Jesus faced the greatest trial in the universe, He prayed that there might be another way, but He submitted His will to His Father’s.
Lord, help each of us today to submit to Your will whether it’s to keep ourselves under the authority You have placed us under or in some test or trial we are enduring. Help us to be wise men and women, winning souls for eternity in Jesus name. Amen.