When we think of vows in our day, our minds go immediately to a bride and groom standing before God and a room full of people. The wedding vow is meant to be the promise or pledge that seals the marriage with God looking on. Fun fact: In doing a little google search, I learned that not all cultures or religions use vows during a wedding ceremony.
Unfortunately, some people don’t take their vows as seriously as they should. If you aren’t able to keep your word, you shouldn’t give it in the first place. I held on for years as a battered wife because of the vow I had made to my first husband. I had made this vow in the presence of God. For me to break it and seek divorce would mean I was letting God down, didn’t it? I struggled with that for years.
Have you ever done something you were told to do but had no idea “why” you were doing it? I’m sure Gideon had a bit of that going on when God told him, among other things, to “pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it.”
What do we see here? Gideon didn’t question God but got to work on the requested task. He did wait until the dark of night so he would go undetected. Gideon was pretty sure that this plan would cause a big stir and may have even feared for his life. Yet, he listened to God. That’s my takeaway from today’s reading.
Joshua secretly sent two spies to investigate Jericho. Didn’t he trust God’s provision? Of course, he did. Even when we know we are doing exactly what God wants for us, and we’re living in his will, it’s up to us to do our due diligence. God has his part, and we have ours. Joshua wanted to be even more prepared so there would be no surprises.
Of all the places those men could have stayed, they found the perfect location. Rahab, as a prostitute, would have provided an unassuming place for a couple of guys, newbies in town, to go. However, somehow word had gotten out that the Israelites were on a scouting mission ahead of their battle to conquer. That was some good intel to be sure.
Paul continues to give profound wisdom to Timothy and us as well. Despite being uncomfortable and in prison, Paul keeps his focus on the prize. He is also clear on the mission God called him to. “And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.” I’d say Paul did a great job with that assignment. I strive to do well with what God has planned for me.
Paul words of encouragement can really speak to us today amidst our own chaos. “Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.” No matter what happens in the world around us, nobody can take away the Biblical truths and promises that have shaped our lives.
This is the last letter we have from Paul. We should be like Timothy and treasure every word, reading it over and over again for the boldness we need to live out our faith and help others do the same. Timothy was like a son to Paul. You can see that devotion in Paul’s writing. “I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.” At the time of this writing, Paul was imprisoned and facing death. He wanted to warn Timothy and the other believers of the opposition they would face in the last days from self-centered false teachers.
As we walk through 2 Timothy, it is my hope and prayer that we all recommit ourselves to stand courageously for truth, believing God’s word, and letting the Holy Spirit guide us through each day. We are living in an age of deception and lies. I suppose we could look at any time in history and say the same thing. It is because evil is in the world and can take advantage of even the strongest people if left unaware.