Dangerous Promises

Eccl. 5:4-5.

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.

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Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

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We are not to make a vow (promise) to God unless we are prepared to make good on it right away. This is a very clear warning, and really doesn’t need much explanation.

God takes no delight in people who make a promise foolishly, with no real intention of following through. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not pay it.

How does this work in today’s culture?

Never say, “I swear to God. . . . .” unless you are fully prepared to pay whatever you have promised. We tend to use superlatives in our daily speech, and we need to be careful. Nothing is just good these days. Instead, everything is awesome, outstanding, amazing, absolutely wonderful. We may think “I’d like to do such and so for the Lord.” Fine, but be careful how you think and what you say as you proceed. Don’t promise God you will be the next Billy Graham if you aren’t prepared for the years and years of preparation, study, sleepless nights, distance from family, and harsh criticism that accompanies such an endeavor.

If God calls us to a promise, He will make it clear to us and to those in our lives. Our job is not to make extravagant promises, but to follow God’s leading step by step. Don’t know what to do next? As Oswald Chambers has said, when we don’t know what to do next, we pray and do the next thing. That may be no more complicated than to do the dishes or the laundry.

God is not the One Who complicates our lives. We are.


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