"When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for Him to swear by, He swore by Himself, saying, "I will surely bless you and give you many descendants. And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised" --Hebrews 6:13-15
I don't know how many times I've sworn by something in my life, but it has to be too numerous to mention. Statements such as, "I swear to God it's true". "I swear it wasn't my fault". "I swear you're the only one, baby". What does it mean to swear by something?
For starters, one of the meanings of 'swear by' is, "to name (a sacred being or thing) as one's witness or guarantee in swearing". It takes a guarantee to swear. That's where the 'by' comes in. It's like this...
Let's say I'm in the market for a new house. I have to go get a loan from the bank to make that happen, but it can't be done without collateral. The collateral is the gaurantee that I'll keep my promise to pay back the money that they loaned me. The collateral is worth more than my name and pocketbook, so I have to swear to the bank by something greater than myself.
In the opening verse, God is saying that He looked throughout all the universe past, present, and future, and saw nothing and no one who was/were greater than Himself and His word to swear by. So, He swore by Himself. He put His own reputation and honor on the line to fulfill His word He gave to Abraham. After waiting for a while, Abraham got exactly what Gid promised to him. He had Isaac, a boy who was born out of due time. A boy who was born with a promise.
Abraham and his wife Sarah were old people. Really old. God told them they were going to have a baby. Abraham believed God...and all without the help of modern pharmaceutical pills. God was telling Abraham, "I swear to you that it's true". Simple belief followed, and a nation was born.
There is none greater than God. His Word will not return unto Him void. He swears to you...literally swears to you...that His Word is truth. That's why in the courtroom we put hands on the bible and swear that we will not lie. We are swearing by the Word of God that we're telling the truth, because if we were lying, God would know it. You can get away with lying to a jury at times, but God is the judge who sees all evidence, and He does it by His word. "For the word of God...judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart". (Hebrews 4:12)
God's Word is Jesus. (John 1:1) He swears by Himself...He demonstrated His truth when He gave us His only Son as a free gift of salvation. Always by faith, always by grace, always of God. When you place your faith in Him, you're believing God's oath to you that He's telling the truth about mankind's sinful condition. You're believing that we have all fallen short of the glory of God through that same sin. You're trusting Him when he tells us that He has accepted the sacrifice of Jesus and that now we have access to Him by our faith. It's all about believing what He has said...otherwise it's just a religion. It turns into what man can do to get to God instead of what God did to get to man. It becomes humanistic thoughts and misconceptions with just a dash of wanna-be spirituality. It's just simply not true.
When the hard times come in like a flood, always keep it hidden in your heart that God SWEARS to you that you are kept and protected by Him. Rest in His exceedingly great and precious promises for you and your salvation in Him. God's timing is always perfect, which Abraham found out when he waited patiently and expectantly for the promise to be fulfilled. He got what was coming to him because He knew it was only a matter of time until it happened. Take a step back from your busy schedules and really think about this. Believe God's promises...He swears they're true.