Oaths • Devotion 1

The Moon and the Stars
Mark Pittenger

In 1994 there was a country song released by John Michael Montgomery titled, “I Swear.” Later, in the summer of that same year, it was also released as an R&B song by a group known as All-4-One. The lyrics were the same, just the genre of the music was different. The lyrics of the chorus start out:

And I swear by the moon and the stars in the skies,
I’ll be there.
And I swear like the shadow that’s by your side,
I’ll be there


With the overall theme of the song, in both genres, being a man professing his love and faithfulness to the woman of his dreams, it may seem like an innocent and sweet song. I can remember serenading, which may be used loosely here, my wife with this song many times when we were younger. I embodied the writers, and singers, as I swore an oath to my wife every time the song was played.

As innocent and fun as this may seem, I had already made this oath to my wife on the day we were married. I recited the vows and made a promise. Therefore, it was now my job to show her, through actions, that I was going to follow through on that oath.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns of making oaths. In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus says, “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No;’ anything more than this comes from evil.”

What Jesus is saying here is pretty to the point. We should not have to swear an oath to prove that we will follow through on our word. We often will add to a statement, “I swear to God” or “I swear on my mama’s grave” after we agree to something to let the other person know that we are serious. We should not have to do this. Our actions should back our words and then our words will carry substance. In other words, if you say you are going to do something, do it. Mean what you say, and say what you mean. Do not leave any room for questioning when it comes to your word. To paraphrase what Jesus says, simply say “yes” or “no,” and then follow through on your “yes,” and stand firm on your “no.”

On the flip side of this, I will often hear someone ask another person to “swear to God” or something similar. We should not be asking that person to swear that oath. We should take the person at their word. Then if they do not follow through on their word, we know that the next time, we need to simply stand behind our no.

Do you ever find yourself having to give extra assurance to people? Do you often hear others giving these assurances? I challenge you to follow through on your yes and stand firm in your no. You should not have to swear by the moon and the stars in the sky in order for people to take you at your word. Simply say “yes” or “no,” and follow through.

“It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows.” Proverbs 20:25 (NIV)

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