“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.”
– Ecclesiastes 5:4-5
This week is going to be a struggle for some of us. It’s not going to be a struggle because of the concept being one that is difficult to understand, but it is going to be a struggle due in fact to the topic being one that is often times misconstrued in the body of Christ. Often times, when you hear the word “vow,” you mostly here it being associated with weddings as the couple is exchanging their wedding vows. However, this word carries a deeper meaning than simply a tradition being rendered at weddings. A vow is a promise made by someone to do a specific thing or dedicate oneself or something to another, usually a deity. When you begin to examine both the definition of a vow and all that it entails, then you should arrive at the conclusion that as long as I am upholding my end of the deal I can fully and confidently expect the other party to do the same. How? It all boils down to a simple term that seems to be lacking and in rare appearance today, Trust. Stick with me and I promise it’s all going to make sense in a minute or two.
Trust and Vow go hand and hand, and honestly you cannot have one without the other. Oh, that may not be right to somebody, so let’s explain. Let’s use the most common form of vow that we know of, marriage. When people first meet, they begin the dating process. It is during this process that they learn about one another and see just how faithful one can be. Once each person has successfully satisfied the requirements deemed necessary, they move forward with the proposal and eventually wedding. At this wedding, they exchange vows which strengthens their commitment and resolve towards one another. How did they get to this point? You got it, Trust! They have to be able to fully trust one another first. Now, I know there may be some who are saying that this is not true for marriages this day and age. People are not simply marrying for trust or vows anymore, now they are marrying for business, security, and overall substance support. I’m marrying him because he can afford to buy me things that I like. I’m marrying her because she can satisfy my sexual needs. I’m marrying simply to gain something from you, and once I get it I’m gone. Either way, there is a form of Trust embedded into it. Trust that you will take care of me. Trust that you will provide what I need. Trust that you will do what you said you would do, or that I will be able to get what I set out to get from you.
That is known as the manipulation of trust; however, with God there is no manipulation. He knows our thoughts and our ways before we even think or act. He knows the very darkest secrets that we attempt to keep from the light. He knows us through and through, and the only way to get His attention is through spirit and truth. What are you saying all this for Kean? When it comes to a vow with God, you don’t get His response unless He knows that your intentions are pure and that you plan to uphold your end of the bargain. He does not take you upon your offer unless you can prove to Him that you will do just what you said you would do. In other words, when it comes to making a vow unto God, He is checking your credentials to ensure that you are in fact a person of your word. Please understand me here beloved, I’m not talking about the accidents or honest mistakes that one makes that could cause us to overlook or simply forget (for a short moment) the vow that was made. No! Here I’m referring to those who think they can say whatever to God in order to get His blessing from Him, while continuing to do whatever they want to do. That seems to be just a little too black and white, someone says. Ok, let’s look at the word of God for this and determine whether or not we can find some examples of people making vows to the Lord with both good and bad intentions.
First up, we see that the Bible tells us that if we make a vow to God, then we should ensure that we do our part. In other words, it’s saying that when you make a vow, complete it so that you can avoid the repercussions if the vow is not fulfilled. Don’t believe me. Take a look at Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts. They had vowed with everyone else in the community to sell their property and give all the proceeds to Peter’s Outreach for ministering to others (now this is paraphrased sot gag you get the gist of what’s going on). However, once they had sold their property, they decided within themselves to keep a portion back for just in case purposes. In other words, they were attempting to deceive God. How do we know they vowed a vow to God? The Bible said that Peter asked him why has he allowed Satan to consume his heart, thereby causing him to lie. Watch this. Peter didn’t say that he lied to him (Peter), but he said that Ananias lied to the Holy Ghost. Peter continued by saying that Ananias has not lied to men, but to God. What happened? Ananias dropped dead immediately and was carried away. They brought in Ananias’s wife and asked her the same question. She being a ride or die, down for whatever chick stuck by her husband and upheld that they had given the portion that they vowed to give. Well, her dedication may have been greatly admired in the world, but to God is was judged and ultimately caused her death. She fell dead, just as her husband did, and she was buried beside him.
As I close this article (next week is when I will go into detail more regarding this topic), it is not my intent to attempt to scare you into making a vow to God. As a matter of fact, the Bible even encourages us by telling us that it is better if we do not make vows (those that we know or believe that we have no intentions of upholding). However, it is my intent to encourage you to examine your life and whether or not there may be a vow(s) that you haven’t upheld. Believe it or not, that could be the reason that you are experiencing some of the pain that you are experiencing. It could be the reason that you are living life under a curse and not enjoying the benefits of what a born again believer are entitled to. Making vows and not upholding our end could ultimately result in our demise. What are you saying Kean? I’m saying, examine yourself and determine if there is a vow that you need to uphold your end of the bargain for. If there is, fulfill it. If there isn’t, don’t attempt to conjure up one as a means of moving God (unless you fully intend to keep it). Yes, there is a God provoking and God moving power in a vow, but there is a way to do it. Also, the requirement remains of fulfilling the mandate of said vow. As always, Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged!