Of Lawful Oaths and Vows.
Chapter 23, Paragraph 1.
…and to judge him according to the Truth or falseness thereof.”
2 Chronicles 6:22, 23
“So help me God.”
Such a phrase is used at the end of several oaths for public office in the United States. In our culture that thinks little of God it has come to mean that the one taking the oath is promising really hard that he or she will do what is said. For those of us who know the true and living God, how should we view those four words? Is it a call for aid to keep the promise, or a plea for mercy is it is not kept?
Taking an oath is not to be done lightly. Solemnly promising to do something, you are calling upon God to witness that you are making this vow. Not only that, you are asking God to judge you concerning the accomplishment of the oath. The phrase we speak today, “So help me God” is not so much a request for aid in fulfilling this promise, but a call to judgment. The phrase originally read thus: “So may God help me at the judgment day if I speak true, but if I speak false, then may He withdraw His help from me.”
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). As Christ’s people we are saved from condemnation and need not fear everlasting punishment. That does not prevent our sins from having consequences in this life, however. Think through the ramifications of the vows you take.
Questions to Consider
- How often do you agree to something before thinking it through?