To our 9:00 am Shabbat Ark of Prayer and the Mishpacha within,
This week’s parsha is Matot: Numbers 30:2 – 32:42, Jeremiah 1:1-2:3, Mathew 5:33-37
When I was in my 20’s, before I had a living relationship with G-d, when I met someone for the first time, especially in a business environment, and within 10 minutes of meeting them they told me that they were a Christian, I knew I was going to have a rough time in my relationship with them.
I knew they would not be dependable, that they would be unlikely to go out of their way to be helpful and generally be difficult to deal with. Looking back on those experiences, I find it amazing that I later sought a relationship with the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Matot, opens with an injunction about the sanctity of our words:
"If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. (Numbers 30:2–3)
The context is a vow to the L-rd but I think it applies to our relationships with one another. A vow can be understood as a commitment or promise. Violate can be understood as desecrate.
So I think it can be read as, “And Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes . . . if a man makes a promise . . . he shall not desecrate his word; whatever issues from his mouth he shall do . . .”
I think my reading communicates more closely how strongly G-d dislikes broken commitments we make to one another and to Him.
My dad taught me, and I have taught my kids, that my word is my bond; that promises need to be kept.
I have since come to believe that, like the verses, the promises I utter are sacred and inviolate. If I disregard what I say, I have profaned and desecrated my words.
Now do not get me wrong. Sometimes I let people down or life intervenes in unexpected ways … just ask my wife or kids. But keeping commitments is a big deal and so should not be made lightly.
Jokingly, my typical position is that if I’m dead or in the hospital then I MIGHT have an excuse for not keeping my commitments. So, as a result, I always consider the cost before committing to anything.
It is not for nothing that our Master says of us, “You shall be known by your love.” Keeping commitments, another word for dependability and safety, is a key part of love.
Even if I’m worried about the immediate costs, financial, time or relationship, my experience has taught me that my reputation, which I have acquired by attempting to speak truthfully and by keeping my word, has more than compensated any short-term losses.
A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a business acquaintance that I have known a long time but have not done much work with. He said he called me first about a significant business opportunity principally because of my reputation as a dependable, trustworthy, get it done kind of guy.
I hope any of you that are able, will join the 9:00 am Shabbat Teva Tefillah. We pray for the Temple, for Israel and our government.
Blessings to you and yours.
Your brother in Yeshua in the TEVA TEFILLAH,
Posted on Fri, July 18, 2014