But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids. ~Jeremiah 34:16
King Zedekiah, his princes, his nobles, and everyone who had a servant made a promise that they would let their servants go free. In fact, every man showed his good faith in this decision by performing what was known as the cutting of the covenant. The cutting of the covenant affirmed that a covenant was made and that it would be kept. It is equivalent to signing a contract. Covenants were lifetime commitments that were to be kept. Zedekiah, the princes, the nobles, and every owner of a servant reneged on their promise. As soon as they let these servants go, they went out took them back in as servants. In effect, the covenant was broken. These men lied and demonstrated a complete lack of integrity.
We see the fundamental.
Integrity is being ethical, honest, truthful, and of sound moral character. This word is found 16 times in the English KJV. Job is described as a man who held fast his integrity. David asked God to judge him according to his integrity. Solomon said that a just man walketh in his integrity. Jethro told Moses that leaders should hate covetousness and be men of truth, or integrity. Peter told the believers that the key criteria for spiritual leadership are that men must be of honest report and full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. Integrity is telling the truth, keeping your word, doing what you said you would, and being above reproach in everything.
We see the failure.
Every man who owned servants broke his covenant and, by force, took them back into indentured service. God said, “Ye turned and polluted my name.” There was deceit in these servant owners. They made a covenant, but never intended to fulfill it. There was dishonor in these servant owners. They brought dishonor, first, to God. God commanded that, every seven years, a servant owner was to let his servant go free. If the servant, out of his free will, wanted to stay with his master, a mark was made to indicate that and the servant would be known as a bond slave. This dishonor perverted God’s law and blasphemed His name. There was disappointment from these servant owners. The servants’ dreams and plans of being free men would not be fulfilled. “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.”
We see the fallout.
God was sorely displeased with these owners. The king of Babylon warred with Jerusalem and the two remaining cities of Judah, Lachish and Azekah. The cities were overthrown and the people of Judah were taken captive. Zedekiah would be taken captive and see the king of Babylon face to face. Zedekiah’s captivity to Babylon brought him face to face with his sin! “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”! Dishonest and untruthful acts always catch up with us.
We see the fear.
There are serious consequences when we lack integrity and truthfulness. Relationships are broken. You cannot be trusted. You could be sued for breach of contract and fraud. You could go to jail for contract fraud. You could lose your job. You could not serve in a leadership capacity. Your marriage could be at risk. Worst, God’s name could be polluted and His glory could be dishonored. Decide right now that you will exercise integrity in everything you do.
Have a truthful God morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Leviticus 11-13