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
Vows, Authority & Soul Winning
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”]).
God not only takes truth seriously, but He also takes authority seriously. Part of the “Law of Vows” addressed that fact. It said if a woman still lived in her father’s house or if she was married, her father or husband could overrule what she vowed.
Authority is still very important to God whether in our marriages, in the workplace, or in other areas of life.
We need to teach our children the importance of respect for authority, too. That means teaching them to respect their teachers, the police and other civil authorities, and even the other parent where divorce has taken place.
We should teach them both by instruction and by example. That means we must show respect to our spouses (& ex-spouses), their teachers and school officials, civil authorities, and our bosses.
Authority, however, stops when the other person asks us to sin. Sin would include both sins of omission (not doing what God clearly commands) or co-mission (doing something God commands us not to do). In those cases we have a Higher Authority—God and His Word.
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.
TODAY’S OTHER READINGS:
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.'”
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!
Not My Will But Yours
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 showing respect for authority in a difficult situation 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.
In 2006, Christianity Today voted this title to be one of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals!
“Christians and non-Christians have something in common,” writes Rebecca Pippert. “We’re all uptight about evangelism.”
So begins the bestselling book on evangelism as a lifestyle. Through stories, biblical insight and plain common sense, Pippert helps us feel relaxed and enthusiastic about sharing our faith. She offers an inspiring view of what effective, engaging evangelism might look like for individuals as well as for churches through memorable stories, like this one:
When I first came to Portland, Oregon, I met a student on one of the campuses where I worked. He was brilliant and looked like he was always pondering the esoteric. His hair was always mussy, and in the entire time I knew him, I never once saw him wear a pair of shoes. Rain, sleet or snow, Bill was always barefoot. While he was attending college, he had become a Christian.
At this time a well-dressed, middle-class church across the street from the campus wanted to develop more of a ministry to the students. They were not sure how to go about it, but they tried to make them feel welcome. One day Bill decided to worship there. He walked into this church, wearing his blue jeans, T-shirt and of course no shoes. People looked a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything. So Bill began walking down the aisle looking for a seat. The church was quite crowded that Sunday, so as he got down to the front pew and realized that there were no seats, he just squatted on the carpet;perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, but perhaps unnerving for a church congregation. The tension in the air became so thick one could slice it.
Suddenly an elderly man began walking down the aisle toward the boy. Was he going to scold Bill? My friends who saw him approaching said they thought, You can’t blame him. He’d never guess Bill is a Christian. And his world is too distant from Bill’s to understand. You can’t blame him for what he’s going to do.
As the man kept walking slowly down the aisle, the church became utterly silent, all eyes were focused on him, you could not hear anyone breathe. When the man reached Bill, with some difficulty he lowered himself and sat down next to him on the carpet. He and Bill worshiped together on the floor that Sunday. I was told there was not a dry eye in the congregation.
This thoroughly revised and expanded edition of Out of the Saltshaker is now even more valuable, with new chapters on the natural stages of evangelism (cultivating, planting and reaping), new stories of God’s work in people’s lives and added material on meeting the challenges of the new competitors to Christian faith. Out of the Saltshaker is more than ever a rare book, one that is both fun and deep, light and life changing.
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