Friday, June 1, 2012

Numbers 30 and Liberty

My girls and I have been slowly reading So Much More by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin. It has been a blessing to us to have time to read books on womanly things together. We try and read once per week at least. In the third chapter of the book, entitled "Fathers, Daughters and Protection," they quote from Numbers chapter 30 which says:

"30 And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded.
If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father's house in her youth;
And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand.
But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.
And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul;
And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.
But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her.
But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.
10 And if she vowed in her husband's house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath;
11 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.
12 But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the Lord shall forgive her.
13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.
14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.
15 But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.
16 These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father's house."

I love that. A decade ago, I would have felt trapped by the very protection God offers me in this. My thinking then was "that's not fair that anyone else should be able to tell me what to do, etc..." God shows us mercy by allowing us a way out if we make a rash vow. Well, I for one am queen of getting caught up and making rash vows! I an so thankful that my Honey has the final say!

Notice in the passage that no one can hold her accountable if her Husband or her Dad says no. Not even God holds her accountable for promises made! I see in my life how hard things become for me when I disregard my protection. I recently had a situation where I did not consider my husband's "advice" on stopping me from saying something. I felt the need to comment on something that he had told me to let go. I told him how I thought I needed to say something because this was within the family of Christ, and of course he would want me to say something and maybe he didn't know the whole situation. Possibly, I reasoned, if he knew the whole story he would come up with some wise (read: think the way I did about it) thing to say to this person. I wrote an email, read it to him and even though I was met with a disappointed look, I decided to send it anyway. I got a scathing email back, which prompted me to want to say something else. I got myself caught up in this: this person needed council, but I was in no position to be the one to give it. I was heartbroken, not for myself, but for this person who was so bitter and angry. A day passed and I thought of it all day long, neglecting my responsibilities at home while worrying about things I could not change. The night came, and I had barely eaten because I spent my day worrying (the very thing Christ tells us not to do). That night as I lay in bed, it dawned on me that I had just made a decision against my husband's advice and this is why my heart was in such turmoil. I had opened that can of worms alone and now I was feeling the results of it. I apologized to my Honey and told him how it had affected me all day long. I didn't stop thinking of the person I so desperately felt the need to counsel, but I prayed about the whole thing. I prayed for that person. I prayed that I would remember that my Honey has the authority in my vows- whether to give me permission or make them void. I prayed that I would not disobey him again in this way- thinking I knew best when really the Lord has put me under the authority, care, and protection of my husband. I had read the passages in the New Testament about wives obeying husbands, but seeing the mercy God has given me through my husband having the final say really backs up the "why" I need to obey him. :) The real amazing thing is that not only do I not have to be accountable for the vows I make before man if they are rash (which I pray they are not), but even God Himself will not hold me accountable. What a merciful God we serve!

Here is a link to some commentary on this passage. I hope you are as blessed in reading this as I was.