Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20020515.htm
NUMBERS: ON SPIRITUAL CASUALTIES AND VICTORS
Part XXXIII: Blessing By Keeping Our Responsibilities Before God
Lesson: Since God keeps HIS PROMISES to His people, He expects HIS PEOPLE to KEEP THEIR PROMISES to HIM. However, God recognizes degrees of ACCOUNTABILITY in promise-keeping based on degrees of OVERSIGHT in our human institutions and culture, and He thus holds those in HIGHER positions to be MORE accountable for such commitments than those in lower positions.
- If a believer makes a commitment unto God, how important is it to God that he keep the commitment? If a subordinate in one's family wants to make a commitment to God regarding life and service, how accountable if at all are his superiors in that family to see that the commitment is fulfilled?
- Numbers 30:1-16 NIV reveals what God thinks of our duties regarding our commitments made to Him:
- Blessing By Keeping Our Responsibilities Before God, Numbers 30:1-16.
- The Lord commanded Moses to tell Israel if a man vowed a matter before the Lord, he was not to break his word, but that he was accountable to God to perform what he had vowed, Numbers 30:1-2 NIV.
- Not only were men accountable to God for their vows, but even WOMEN in their patristic society were responsible, but within the degrees of responsibility given in their marital and family institutions:
- God gave directives for a vow made by an unwed woman still living in her father's home: if a woman still living in her father's home made a vow unto God, her father's response either to nullify the vow or to let it stand by saying nothing determined if the vow was binding, Numbers 30:3-5 NIV.
- God gave directives for a vow made by a woman before she married relative to her husband: if a woman made a vow before she married, after she wed, the moment her husband learned of the vow, his response to nullify or establish it was binding, Numbers 30:6-8 NIV.
- God gave directives for a vow made by a woman whose marital status make her the head of her household: the vow of a widow or a divorced woman who was not under a family man's authority was treated as the vow of a male head of household: it was unconditionally binding before God, 30:9 NIV.
- God gave directives for a vow made by a woman after she was married: if a woman made a vow after she was married, her husband's response determined if the vow was binding, 30:10-13 NIV.
- However, in any case, if the OVERSEER in ANY situation a vow was made said NOTHING, GOD treated this SILENCE as a CONFIRMATION of the vow, Numbers 30:14-16 NIV.
Application: (1) Any time a head of household makes a commitment unto the Lord regarding any aspect of life and service, he is accountable before the Lord to fulfill that commitment or he is guilty of sin! (2) If a man's wife or minor child or other household dependent makes a commitment unto the Lord regarding life or service, GOD holds the believing head of household responsible to validate or not validate the WORKABILITY of the commitment and hence decide if the commitment is binding: the need for such a clearance by the head of household is necessary as subordinates may not be as aware of certain circumstances that the overseer might, or the overseer's view could reveal such a commitment was unworkable for the family. (3) Since God thus expects heads of households to be responsible to judge the workability of vows unto Him made by their subordinates, and that even if they silently let a vow by a subordinate stand, GOD expects OVERSEERS to KNOW about and to ASSUME the RESPONSIBILITY to OVERSEE the AFFAIRS of their SUBORDINATES so as to be ACCOUNTABLE unto the Lord FOR their oversight! (4) Of course, an overseer cannot be guilty of a willful sin by a subordinate, but he IS accountable for the general DIRECTION of those under his care as GOD views it! (5) God does not hold a woman as being less CAPABLE than is a man to make a good vow unto God as is noted in the indissoluble nature of vows made by widows and divorced women: the responsibility regarding vows, then, is NOT based on GENDER, but on POSITION! (6) God respects the HUMAN INSTITUTIONS of marriage and family, and He relates to us with them in mind!