No Dodging Those Vows
I remembered when I was little and in Sunday School, one biblical story that fascinated me was the story of Jephtah (Judges 11:29-40). I had difficulty wrapping my head round the story of a man that gave up his only child because he made a vow! My young impressionable mind felt since he made such a rash decision, he should have changed his mind. My Sunday School teacher taught us then not to make rash vows to God as Jephtah did. This lesson guided me in my eventual walk with God in regards to making vows before God. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 to be mindful of our words when we are in the Presence of God or we will be in danger of offering unacceptable sacrifices. Jesus clarified this, when in teaching His disciples how to pray, He said: “When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words…” (Matthew 6:7). Looking at the account of Jephtah again, I beg to differ with my Sunday School teacher that Jephtah’s vow was irrational. Assuming it was a bull, sheep, ram or a servant that stepped out of his house first, his vow will not be said to be rash or irrational. From the account, Jephtah understood the import of the assignment he was about to embark on and he needed the help of God. In anticipation of the help and victory he would receive from God, he vowed to give to God a worthy sacrifice that will be costly to him. David equally operated in this belief when you consider his offerings to the Lord and his preparations for the building of the Lord’s temple. At a point he remarked: “The king answered Araunah, ‘No, I insist on buying it from you for a price for I will not offer to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing’…” (2Samuel 24:24). Jephtah in his desire to give God a worthy sacrifice left the object of sacrifice to God. It pleased God to have allowed the daughter to come out, first as a test of Jephtah’s heart and as a sign for all generations to come. Jephtah honored his vow to the Lord even if it meant not having a child to carry on his name after his death. But God in His infinite wisdom has made generations after him to remember his name and his deeds (Hebrews 11:32).
Friend, several times many have made vows to God when faced with dire situations; when it was time to pay up, they reneged on it. This is a terrible sin before God and constitutes a trap for the defaulter: “It is a trap for anyone to dedicate something rashly and later to reconsider his vows” (Proverbs 20:25). Also in Ecclesiastes 5:5-6, “Better that you do not vow than that you vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth bring guilt on you…Why should God be angry with your words and destroy the work of your hands?” So many attained breakthroughs then turned their backs on Him that brought them to it by refusing to fulfill the vows they made to Him willingly. Some, in order not to fulfill the vows change location, or pick quarrels with where the vows are to be paid; whilst others will decide to have ‘spiritual amnesia’: they believe since they don’t remember, God had equally forgotten and will forgive them for the slip. This is a weighty issue indeed – when we make vows to God it is wise to fulfill them: “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). If we as humans feel wronged or betrayed when we renege on agreements with each other, why should we think the Heart of God is not pained when we do same to Him? Any wonder then, when such breakthroughs or miracles become unsustainable because we have chosen to walk contrary to God? Friend, the bottom-line is that God desires us to walk with Him in truth and in complete obedience. If you are in a situation now where you are reconsidering the vows you made for one extraneous reason or the other after you have gained what you wanted, I plead with you to seek counsel prayerfully from a godly friend or Pastor. The Lord loves you and will give you the grace and willingness of heart to release that which you vowed to give so that He in turn will release the next level of what He has in store for you and teach you how to keep it. The grace to serve Him obediently no matter the circumstances you find yourself is released to you in Jesus Christ name. God bless you.