“When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.” – Ecc. 5:4-7
Making a vow before the Lord is perhaps one of the most sacred things we could do. As followers of Jesus, we need to carefully choose the vows we make in any situation, as we are taught the power of our words. Our words are especially important when we consider our relationship with God who is altogether holy.
When we make a vow to God, we must recognize that:
God is most holy. In Isaiah 55:7-8, we are reminded that God’s thoughts and ways are not our own. While we may treat vows as suggestions with our friends, we need to remember vows are very sacred. When we give God our word, that is to mean something significant. It holds great weight.
It is a commitment we are making to God. This is a commitment we will go to great lengths to keep. In today’s Scripture, we are reminded that to leave a vow unpaid before God is a sin. We need to not treat our vows, or commitments, to God as something seemingly unimportant.
Vows are serious. When considering making a vow, we need to remember that it is ultimately a contract of sorts. We are ensuring that we will do something. While God offers us grace for our shortcomings (and sins), we are accountable for our actions. We need to not allow ourselves to think that making a vow before God is somehow unimportant, when, in fact, it is.
Feeling overwhelmed, as you think about recent vows you have made to God? Friend, I am right there with you as I consider my prayer history of vows I have made. One, in particular, stands out. Although this prayer-vow was made 5-10 years ago, it is still a vow I need to be intentional in keeping. As we remember our vows, let’s just run to God, and seek His help and strength to keep our vows. Our vows are sacred gifts we bring to God, as an offering.
Drawn to Intimacy
Honestly, as much as I gravitate toward this passage when my fingertips hit the book of Ecclesiastes, I am reminded of the serious nature and gift that my relationship with God through Jesus Christ is. Because of the blood of Jesus Christ, I can stand in God’s presence. God, who is most holy, is now called my heavenly Father, has chosen me, and loves me on my very worst day.
Not only can we stand in His presence, we can offer ourselves to Him. Through making and keeping vows, we can give more of ourselves to God than ever before. We see this often, for many Christians, with a new beginning – whether month or year. We resolve to surrender to God a specific thing or issue. For many of us, each new year we resolve to read God’s Word in a specific reading plan. For many of us, this is a vow we make before God – but struggle to keep. There are other vows we make before God, that equally find a struggle to keep our promise to God. There are many avenues of vows we could make before God. These are things we have told God that we are going to do, in honor of Him and the intimacy we want to share with our heavenly Father.
Truthfully, I used to do this all the time. I would find something I would vow to do for God, and will even tell Him so in a heartfelt prayer. “God, I want to do that – for you, for us!” And, I might even begin well. I will find these vows exhilarating for about a day (or a week at the most), and then I have remember the long term commitment I made to my God. I am not entirely sure if I made vows in the commitments I set on January 1, but I remember the one I made today. Let’s start now, where we are. I am praying God will bring to mind the vows I have made to Him and for Him to help me keep them. Today is a new day to reflect and remember the vows we solemnly made.
A Special Way to Remember
We need to come back to the place of remembering these vows are sacred promises. We need to take the time to evaluate our vow in a heartfelt way before we make it, and take the time to write down why we are making this vow to God. While most vows are kept between us and God, we need to find a way to make our “resolution” if you will – about our vow. I am not suggesting a ceremony like in a wedding or on the movie Courageous, but having a set-aside time and documenting our vow will be our reminder that this vow is worth keeping.
While we might not be fighting for our marriage or kids, like in these ceremonies, we are fighting for something very important. We are fighting to pursue intimacy with our Savior Jesus Christ and give all of ourselves to Him, as we remember the tremendous mercy He has shown us and how He continues to love us. His view of us is not based on our actions, but on the way, He has loved us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). This makes our vows a costly gift, but one worth giving because of Jesus!