There are several ways and reasons to go back on one’s word, vows, promises and commitments. Some are unintentional but lame, such as: A foggy memory, Neglect, and Preoccupation. There seems to be a progression from excuses, remorse and retraction to denial, lies and fleeing the scene. We see such reneging in election promises, marriage vows, sports contracts and college tuition debts.
Far too often we hear of a wife who has worked hard to put a husband through college and beyond, only to be dumped for a “trophy wife.” Reneging appears to have other sleazy partners---hypocrisy, fraud, betrayal and treachery.
Our heavenly Father has always taken vows and promises very seriously. He called them covenants. He promised Noah and his descendants never to completely destroy humanity again by a flood and set a rainbow in the clouds as a sign ( Gen 9: 9,13). He promised to make Abraham the father of many nations ( Gen 17: 36). He said HE never would break His covenants if people worship and obey Him only ( Jud 2: 1-2). He continued affirming His covenants and asked the Israelites to remember their promise to be faithful ( 1 Ki 8:23) ( 1 Ch 16:15-18). Most did not, but a remnant did. One of the saddest and most egregious examples of reneging is recorded soon after God took them out of slavery in Egypt. The former slaves responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do” ( Ex 24: 3). Very shortly afterwards they were worshiping a golden calf even as Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments from God ( Ex 32: 5-6).
God promised a New Covenant ( Testament) which would one day replace the others ( Jer 31: 34) and would be written on the hearts of the people ( v 33). This of course is the one sealed in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ ( Mt 26:28) ( Heb 8:13) ( Heb 9:15) ( Heb 12: 22-24). Jesus Christ, the mediator of this New Covenant suffered heartbreaking treachery and betrayal by Judas, one of the twelve Apostles ( Mt 26: 14-16) and when the other eleven reneged on their vow to die with Him and deserted Him at His arrest and trial ( vv 31, 56). His command for us today is don’t break your oath and do not swear an oath at all ( Mt 5: 34-37). Those who have been immersed into Christ ( Rom 6: 3-6) have made a life-long commitment. Those who renege on that ( Heb 6: 4-6) have no other hope.
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
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