What does it say?
On the verge of entering the land, God sets a schedule for the sacrifices that have previously been described in Leviticus (Num 28-29). There are daily, weekly and monthly sacrifices. He also gives the cycle of seven yearly feasts with their corresponding sacrifices. The number seven predominates in this system of sacrifices, seven representing fulfillment or completion.
Moses gives instructions to the tribal heads regarding vows (Num 30). An important element of society is that people honor their word. Moses establishes that a man’s vows are sacred, while a woman’s vows are subject to the male authority over her, whether husband or father.
What does it mean?
As the nation prepares to enter the land, God wants them to understand that their victory and fulfillment will depend on their communion with him, not their military might. This is what is represented by the schedule of sacrifices. A consistent and structured worship relationship with God is essential to victory and fulfillment. Contemporary American attitudes often chafe at any type of structure or discipline. Legalism is thinking that we must do something to earn God’s favor. A healthy relationship with God, however, demands both structure and discipline even in the New Testament era. We structure and discipline our worshipful relationship not to get something from God, but because of all we have freely received of his grace. We understand that without consistent fellowship with him, there can be no genuine fulfillment of purpose and no meaningful personal growth.
Those of us who are people of the Word of God should also be keepers of our own words. Our lives should back our words. In the New Testament era, the symbolism of a woman’s vows being subject to her male authority can illustrate the Bride of Christ, the church, being subject to our Lord and Savior. This is James’ point in saying that we ought to say that if the Lord wills, we should live or do this or that (Jam 4:15). We live in submission to God and his will.
How will I respond?
Does my life reflect the discipline and structure of one whose life has been transformed by God’s grace? Is it love and gratitude that motivates me to be consistent in assembling together with other believers, giving to my church and being consistent in my prayer and Bible reading? What step can I take today to improve my personal discipline and life structure to better reflect my love for God?