Matthew 23:16–22 (ESV)
3rd of 7 Woes
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater,
the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men!
For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And
whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
The temple’s altar is similarly greater than the gifts placed on it, for
it is the source of an offering’s holiness. It is the height of presumption to imagine that an offering placed on the altar gives value to God’s temple. All such vows ultimately invoke God’s name and are to be used cautiously. Jesus
warns His followers against making frivolous vows.
I pray: O Lord, help me to take you seriously and know the value of the gifts you have given me.