Summary: To make a vow or a promise is serious business not to be taken lightly...
Sermon by Pr. Paddick Van Zyl
Laus Deo Ministries Int.
29 Sep , 2014
Title: The Vow
An eleventh century German king, Henry III, grew tired of ruling. He applied to a monastery to spend the rest of his life in quiet contemplation. The prior asked if he, a king, could live out a vow of complete obedience. "I will," said the king. "Then you are accepted. Your first duty is to return to your throne and serve faithfully where God has placed you." #
In Bible times and until a couple of years ago, a person's word/promise and their handshake was all that was needed to conclude a deal or transaction. People did what they promised one another and kept their vows. What has happened since? Why are there so few who can still be taken at their word?
Deuteronomy 23:21-23 NKJV
Have you ever had someone make a promise to you just to be disappointed by them not honoring their promise to you? Many times, dad's are guilty of this...We have all had our hopes crushed by unfilled promises and sad to say many of us have been the cause of making promises to others that we ourselves have not kept or fulfills....
Thomas Fuller said: 'Vows made in storms are forgotten in calm.'
Well, I am glad to announce that there is one who always keeps His promises, always, since it is in His nature and character to never break a promise - Jesus is His name!
Psalm 66:13-14 NKJV
'In the Old Testament a vow involved an offering or sacrifice of an animal or money brought to the temple. However, vows also have to do with our relationship to God and to people. Vows are promises based on many things, whatever we desire of God and petition Him for.
In the Old Testament there is a verb for making a vow, (neder, neh'-der; or neder, nay'-der), meaning to make or present a gift to God. Then there is the noun (nadar, naw-dar') which is to vow a promise to God. There is also a word that means to bind your heart or soul to someone (acar, aw-sar). It is translated as bound in verse 4 of Numbers 30:4-11. If I make a commitment to God to tithe, that is a nadar, naw-dar' vow. If I am married and have a marriage vow that is a acar, aw-sar vow, meaning to bind my heart, mind and soul to be faithful to her and love her. We make these marriage vows and say, for richer, for poorer, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Well, that seems to work for about half the people, as long as it is for better, for richer and for healthier. As long as she is healthy, rich and good, then you better hold onto to that one, but if it happens to turn to poorer, unhealthy or worse, they split.' ##
As Ray Stedman notes:
'God is a realist. He never plays games with us. He sees things the way they really are and he tells us the way they are. God expects us to carry out our word. It is dangerous to make superficial promises about what we are going to do if he will only do this or that. He hears our promises, and he takes us at our word. There is a penalty when we do not keep it. This ought to teach us to be careful about what we promise God. Do not do that, for he is not pleased with fools.
In fact, the Searcher goes on to say,
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 [the priest, the pastor or the representative of God] it was a mistake; (Ecclesiastes 5:5-6a RSV)
Do not say, "I didn't really mean that." How many have said this about their wedding vows. God takes you at your word.
...why should God be angry at your voice, and destroy the work of your hands? For when dreams increase, empty words grow many: but do you fear God? (Ecclesiastes 5:6b-7 RSV)
You are dealing with the Author of life itself. He holds your existence in the palm of his hand. God is not cruel and heartless; he is loving but he is real, so do not play games with him. Be honest with God; that is all the Searcher is saying. So pay attention when you are hearing the words of God.' ###
A good example of what happens when we make rash vows may be found in the story of Jephtah
And his vow - Read Judges 21:30-40