Oaths? (Life Journal – 5/1/2015)


He swore an oath to the Lord,
    he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not enter my house
    or go to my bed,
I will allow no sleep to my eyes
    or slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the Lord,
    a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Psalm 132:2-5)


This Psalm captures the promise David makes in 2 Samuel 7 to build a house for God.

Why does the parallelism refer to the Lord as “the Mighty One of Jacob?” Only occurs once in Genesis (at end) and three times in Isaiah – other than here in Psalm 132.

Verses 2 and 5 form inclusio of sorts – “the Mighty One of Jacob” frames the description of David’s vow

In 2 Samual 7 David asks why he dwells in a beautiful house while God lives in a tent?


We often decry oaths – after all Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 not to swear an oath. For a variety of reasons, I think Jesus there is contrasting an oath made with the intent to gain the notice and admiration of human beings with a genuine commitment to do what one says, to do what one promises.

David makes a mighty oath out of his conviction that God should not live in a mere tent while David lives in a palace (God will tell Nathan that He will build David a house, dynasty instead and that his son, Solomon, will build the Lord’s house).

What moves me in this passage is David’s zeal, his enthusiasm to do something big and bold for God. To do something that will honor God more than David seeks his own honor, that will make clear that God is king and not David.

Where is my zeal for the Lord? I want to be moved to such mighty oaths! To want to do in God’s name big things! And to ask often if what I do for myself (my palaces) is grander than what I do for and commit to God.


Mighty One of Jacob – as I look at what I have done for me and mine, for my glory and my benefit I am convicted by how little I have done for you in contrast. How I have made my ease my goal rather than your glory, my advancement rather than your mission and kingdom. May I respond to your greatness and might, your glory and wonder, with the same faith and faithfulness and the same desire to promise to please you above all. In the name of Christ who did the same in his life I pray… Amen.

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