"When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you” (Deuteronomy 23:21).
How well do people keep the vows which they make? One only has to look at the divorce rate to see that many people do not follow through with the vow they make before God to stay with their mate through the good times and the bad times.
As noted in the opening Scripture above, the importance of following through with the promises we make is especially true when it comes to making vows to God. As Moses continues to share God’s Will with the generation of the Israelites that are going to be crossing the Jordan River to conquer the Promised Land, he mentions how God will require them to pay any vows which they have made to Him (Deuteronomy 23:21). He adds, “That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform, for you voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth” (Deuteronomy 23:23).
Someone has said, “Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver.” We should be careful about making vows. Abraham Lincoln noted, “We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot”. In fact, in the context of the opening passage above, God encourages us not to be rash about making vows we may not be able to keep: “But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you” (Deuteronomy 23:22).
However, there is nothing wrong with making a thoughtful vow to the Lord. It shows one’s commitment to their relationship with God. When faced with a challenge in his life, Jacob made an important vow showing his commitment to God: “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You’ ” (Genesis 28:20-22). As far as we know, Jacob followed through on this vow he made to God to give God a tenth of all that God had given him. Other faithful servants of God, such as Hannah and David made many vows to God which they kept (e.g. 1 Samuel 1:11; Psalm 22:5; 61:5,8).
How often have I said or thought, “God if you get me through this trial I face I promise then I will __________” (fill in the blank). Do I actually follow through with whatever is in the blank or does the blank remain empty because I do not follow through with my vow I made to God? Solomon warned us, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed-- Better not to vow than to vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5).
When I go on the Lord’s Day to worship God or during my own daily devotional time with God, it is a great opportunity for me to reflect on the vows and commitments I have made to God and follow through with them. I understand that it is right for God to hold me accountable for my vows I have made to Him. I do not take my vows to God lightly. He has kept all the promises He has made to me. I will strive to keep the promises I have made to Him!
“Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God; I will render praises to You, For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living?” (Psalm 56:12-13).