I was preaching in the Hinckley congregation of Living Rock Church yesterday. My topic was Integrity of Speech - "Saying what we mean, and doing what we say." Or to put it in the words of Psalm 15 - "Keeping our oath even when it hurts."
I have been struck lately by the magnitude of difference between the way words are devalued in our society, and the way they are valued so highly in the scriptures. Joshua kept his word to the Gibeonites, even when it was clear that they had deceived him, and that by keeping his word he would not be able to fulfill the mandate of God. Even more startling is the example of Jephthah who sacrificed his only child rather than go back on his word. God himself honoured his own word this way. The sacrifice of Christ was the only way that God could save us and still stay true to his word of judgement on sin.
I believe that this quality of integrity is one that God wishes to establish in his people, as a clear contrast to modern society. That we will be a people more in the image of Jesus, who when he spoke, it was as good as done.