Swear /swer/ ~verb
Swear is defined as making a solemn statement or promises to undertake to do something. Using the language of a kind regarded as coarse, blasphemous, or otherwise unacceptable in a polite or formal speech in order to express anger or other strong emotion.
Definitions from Oxford Languages
Swearing can be used for good or bad purposes and situations. It is good like if you live out the phrase “My word is my bond.” This phrase can be traced back in English Literature to Shakespeare’s times and is referred to in the Merchant of Venice. The phrase develops and in 1670 it appears in J Ray’s English Proverbs in the form of “An honest man’s word is as good as his bond.”
It simply means that you are dead serious to fulfill what you said and promise to a person, that no matter what happens in the future I will do it even if it would cost your life. Then it will be bad if you just swear out of emotional hype. As they said, don’t make a statement if you are emotionally unstable, like you are happy, sad, angry, and most especially when you are upset or frustrated. There is a high percentage of you regretting it.
Swear in the Book of Genesis
And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time, saying, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will multiply your descendants like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will possess the gates of their enemies. And through your offspring all nations of the earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.“ Genesis 22:15-16
This is the first account in the Bible where the word “swear” was used and recorded. God swore to bless Abraham because He had proven the faithfulness of Abraham by his willingness to offer Isaac his son to be a living sacrifice before God.
It might be usual for us to hear this story today, and a lot of times it hasn’t made an impact on us. But the story was the most significant contribution for Abraham to be known as the father of Faith until today. To the extent that God swore to bless Abraham and his descendants.
If we will dig deeper in this story. The word swear here has more than its meaning. It is a covenant. The word “covenant,” infrequently heard in conversation, is quite commonly used in legal, social (marriage), and religious and theological contexts. The term “covenant” is of Latin origin (con venire), meaning a coming together.
Covenant in Marriage
Marriage is the most common occasion that the word covenant is used. Two individuals entered into an agreement to stay together through thick and thin, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do they part. If you are married, you may remember the day of your wedding vows.
Why are there vows in weddings from parties? Because these people will not only enter into a contract but a covenant. Because marriage is sacred. The original design of God for marriage is for a lifetime. No turning back, like a follower of Jesus.
Covenant to Abraham
When God swore to Abraham, he made a covenant to him, God will bless Abraham and his descendants even in times where they are not faithful to God anymore. God will not withhold his blessings even if these people would no longer walk in His ways. Now, the question is who are the descendants of Abraham today? Galatians 3:29 says this “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
If you already received Jesus as your Lord & Savior, you are a descendant of Abraham, and God’s promise of blessing to Abraham is for you as well.
Power of Words
Another account that swear was used is in Genesis 47 29-31. When the time drew near for Israel (Jacob) to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise to show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, but when I lie down with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me with them.” Joseph answered, “I will do as you have requested.”
“Swear to me,” Jacob said. So Joseph swore to him, and Israel bowed in worship at the head of his bed.
Israel died in Egypt and he wanted Joseph, one of his sons, to bring his bones to where his ancestors were buried. Since he had no capability to do this on his own. He made Joseph swear to do it when he died.
Words are powerful, once you speak it, it will affect you and others. It may be intentional or not. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 15:11. “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
Taming the Tongue
“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and saltwater? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” – James 3: 5-12.
Our tongue is our tool to encourage ourselves and others. Have you heard a person full of bad words when talking? Whether a person is aware or not, bad words are curses and those bad words are not merely expressions.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21
Good fruits or results if we allow encouraging words and choose to tame our tongue, bad fruits or bad results if we allow our tongue to say bad words. Again, bad words are cursed.
A curse is defined as a solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something. A coarse or blasphemous word or phrase used to express anger or other strong emotion.
When cursing someone in the Bible, it was in the context of punishment and not merely an expression.
The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly, you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:14-19.
Adam and Eve were cursed because of disobeying God. It was their punishment. That punishment made them separated from God, and so are we.
Here is the good news, the curses through the word can be reverted through the word of God as well. Romans 10:9, because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
By receiving through confessing the word from our mouth that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, the curse of death in hell is no longer in effect in us. We are now free from sin and its punishment. John 8:36 says “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
We have freedom in Jesus Christ!
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