When I volunteered to serve in the Navy, I was required to take an oath before they would begin my training. I confess I did not take that oath very seriously then, even though it meant the possibility of giving my life for my country. I now understand the seriousness of that oath much better, and I believe I am still held to it today. I served with many who took the oath also – some more seriously than others, some not seriously at all. When we take an oath we make a solemn promise regarding our future acts or behavior. More serious oaths are taken by placing a hand on a Bible or by adding “so help me God” at the end of the oath. This involves invoking a Divine Witness.
I believe that Divine Witness is present when we confess saving faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. Repentance is also involved in such a confession – this involves turning from old sinful acts and behavior to a path of holiness. Oaths, all too often, are proclaimed publicly but the oath taker has a hidden agenda. This is a common complaint about those entering political offices but can be found to be true within the church as well. Hosea 10:4 warns about worthless oaths producing judgment like “poisonous weeds.” In the general epistle of James (5:12) we are also warned to be cautious about oath taking “so that you may not fall under judgment.” This applies to many areas of life, but much more to our spiritual life and our relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
May the shalom of our Lord Jesus Christ rest upon you and you household in these troubling times. The oath you took when you believed will bring assurance of that peace that passes understanding as well as reassuring hope for the future.
Shalom, Pastor Bill