The Book of Numbers – The weight of our Words

Going back a few years, I had another mum at my son’s school who was always very friendly whenever we saw each other at school events and we would have a lovely chat and she would say, “We have to meet up outside of school, we should catch up over coffee”.  My son graduated from school at the end of last year, and in the six years that I have seen her on and off at school she never called me for any catch ups and did not consider any of my efforts to meet up. And each time she would see me she would say the same thing. I had soon understood that she had no intention of following through on her words. My experience informed me of how much weight I need to give to the intention behind her words.

In Numbers 30, Moses speaks God’s command to the people about the intention and weight of their words. In those times, vows and oaths were often made, carried out towards God or towards people and the breaking of it was a violation to whom it was made to. A vow was a promise, and a promise was meant to be kept.  

Numbers 30:1-2 “Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.”

The passage begins with the seriousness of what it means to make a vow to the Lord. Once made, it was an obligation that needed to be fulfilled. A promise to God was meant to be followed through with action. A vow made was not meant to be rash or something that you had no intention of fulfilling.

Most of the chapter addresses vows made by women. For women, either the woman’s father or husband could nullify the vow made by her. In the culture then, fathers and husbands were the primary carers and providers for the women and therefore if the women failed to fulfill the obligation of the vow, the men had to ensure to fulfill it. Hence God gave them the right to do so, but they could do so only if they heard it and negated it within the first day of it being made, otherwise the vow would stand.

Vows are not a big part of our practice today as it was back then, and while much of this passage centres around promises/vows made by women, the main message is not to be missed, the importance of keeping our word.

Be it to God or to another person, how do you fare with keeping your word?

Self- Reflection: How are your commitments to God going? Are you following through on what you promised to God. Promise to be more diligent in spending time with him, to set aside distractions, to commit to a time of prayer and fasting, to lay down your tendency to sit on media more than the word of God.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”

We are to give careful consideration to what we promise and commit to. If our word cannot be taken seriously, what does it reflect about us? Actions always speak louder than words. Preaching alone is never enough, but practising what we profess serves to create a lasting impact on anyone. Jesus taught us in Luke 6:45b, “Out of the abundance of our heart, the mouth speaks.” When our words are not followed through with action, it is telling of the intention within the heart.  

Jesus in Mathew 5 teaches us to let our ‘yes’ be yes and our ‘No’, no.

Mathew 5: 37a “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’”

The Lord intends for us to be people of our word. Why, because we are called to reflect God. “God is not human, that he should lie, nor a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19). And when our word can’t be trusted, rather than reflect our heavenly father, we look more like the devil, the father of lies (John 8:44).

Self-Reflection: Are there any yeses you have said that need follow through with action?

Prayer: Lord, it is easy to speak out promises, but you ask us to carefully consider what we say and commit to. Help us Lord, to not be flippant, but with discernment make our commitments. Lord may we always look to you for steadfastness to follow through with our promises.  May we consider our yeses and noes and may we be men and women of our word so that we reflect you in what we say and do. Amen.

God Bless.

25 thoughts on “The Book of Numbers – The weight of our Words

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  1. Lol this is commonplace here in Brazil. I don’t know how many times I have been invited for coffee only to realize it is just a way of talking that people have gotten used to. It never happens

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess in some places they have that way of talking and so you get used to it or expect it. But I tend to take things literally 🤷🏻‍♀️.


  2. Amen my sister. Integrity is so important and allowing our yes to be yes and our no to be no. It’s what took out Ananias and Sapphire. People lack integrity when they are willing to say things that they have no intention of doing. Pledges to God is where we have to be extremely careful because where we can be flippant with others, God will not stand for our mess. I know what it’s like to promise God something and try to not follow through. The result was frightening and I had to get in alignment really quickly. You are in this spirit regarding spending time in the word with God and putting away distractions. That has been my word this week. Bless you. ❤️🩷

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such a powerful post, Manu. And the story you shared helps show the impact of being true to our words. These days it seems a lot of commitments are easily broken, and many lies are told. It’s sad really. But as children of God, we are called to be genuine and true. Whether to God or to others. I especially like that you pointed out how we might intend to spend more time with the Lord and then don’t follow through. Things like that are easily dismissed, because we make excuses for our time. Thank you for this reminder. A great post. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. 🤍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Mandy. We all often need reminders. I pray that whatever God lays on your heart, you follow with an obedient heart and may it strengthen your walk with him.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Manu! We do need to be very careful about our words. I like the story you shared about the parent at your sons school. I have a experienced similar things with people saying these types of things and not following through. I have been guilty of not following through too in the past. I now try to follow through and ask God to help me with that. I have told Him I want to be known as a woman of integrity now, and in the future when I am no longer living, I want integrity to be part of my legacy. Thanks for the encouragement to let our yes be yes and our no be no. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Than you Dawn. I too want to be a woman of integrity, and I try. Have definitely grown in the area but still have more to learn.
      Have a blessed weekend 💙💐

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such an important lesson here, Manu. Thank you for sharing and for the self-reflection.
    I know many times I’ve had well meaning intentions to spend time with the Lord and then distraction occurs and I tell myself that the Bible app ‘verse of the day’ will just have to suffice when in reality I had originally planned for more than that.
    Oh that we might be people true to our word and thought!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too Alicia. It is so easy to let other things distract us and for me one of the first things I tend to drop is my quiet time with the Lord. I have to be so intentional and one of the things that helps me is to realise that the enemy wants me to drop that time. And I have to remind myself not to let him win that spiritual battle.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh ya that’s a good way to think of it, that the enemy wants us to drop or put off our time with Jesus…which I continually keep doing today so I’m gonna put my phone on silent, set it down, and open His words up here directly!!!😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Manu! How is your week going? I am committing to reading the Bible in 90 days. I just finished Numbers and love this book. How God maps out what they need to do, so clearly. What a good and loving Father we have. And I love how He disciplines when they don’t follow. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember you mentioning about taking in the challenge. How are you tracking along?
      So true Marla, when we read numbers we can get caught up on focusing on the disobedience of the Israelites but God is so good and loving and we see that through it all.
      Have a blessed weekend my friend 💙💐

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am loving reading and listening to God’s Word at a quick pace. I definitely will continue “studying” in the fall but reading in 90 days is a wonderful challenge. 😊 The 90 day readings ends mid August, allowing me free time for a month. I plan to review your whole study of Numbers again. It will be even more valuable with knowledge of the whole Bible under my belt. Have a Blessed weekend too. 🥰🥰🥰

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am glad you are enjoying it and I am honoured that you are thinking of going through my Numbers study after. I wish you the best Marla and may the Lord bless you with insights as you dive into his word.


      3. You’re welcome. And thank you. I’ve tried to keep up with yours along the way and I have gleamed insight but now that I reread the first 4 books, it takes on more meaning. And I look forward to the future Books like the minor prophets and kings to keep adding to my insight! ❤🥰❤ Thank you as always for the encouragement Manu!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree that we need to be people of integrity that stick to our word. How can we be a good example for our children if we don’t follow through; on our promises? I try to be diligent with my devotional time, however, often it gets disrupted and not finished.
    Have a blessed week, Manu. ❤️🦋🌺

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Lord may we always look to you for steadfastness to follow through with our promises.” AMEN, Manu. It is only by God’s empowerment we can do the hard work of measuring our words , meaning what we say, and following through!

    Liked by 1 person

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