Good morning. I pray this writing finds you well and prospering today. As I sit here, I hear the birds singing outside my window and I am reminded how very blessed I am to be able to hear and enjoy these sounds. Oh how good God is to us.
Today I want to talk with you about “vows”. What do you think of when you hear the word vow? Do you automatically think of weddings? What other uses may there be for the word vow? Would you agree that a promise could be called a vow? What about when someone says, “you have my word”, would that be a form of a vow?
In today's world, we tend to put very little creditability or reliability in our “vows”. You disagree with me? Look at how many divorces we have every day in America. In each wedding, the man and woman exchange vows, not only unto each other, but unto the Lord, and yet they discard those vows almost as easy as they made them.
You maybe asking me, “well what's the big deal? Maybe I changed my mind.” Well, it is a big deal and I would like to show you what scriptures have to say about the issue.
Psalms 56:12 says, “ Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God; I will render praises to You,” Numbers 30:2 says, “If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” Deuteronomy 23:21-23 says, “21 "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. 22 But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you. 23 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.” Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 says, “4 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-- 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?”
Thanks to a recent Bible study some of us at our church just completed, I have been reminded of the fact that once God's Word has been read or heard, then we are held double accountable to do what we know. With this knowledge, let us reread the above scriptures.
Now, knowing what God expects of us concerning our “word” or “vow”, I want you to think back over the day, past few days or weeks and think about how many times and to whom you have given your word or vow to, and ask yourselves if you have kept your word or vow. Have you told someone you would pray for them or told someone you would do something for them, and then allowed other things to cause you to break your word or vow? Do you speak with God and ask for Him to act for you by fulfilling some need you may have and tell Him you will do something for Him in return and then you don't or you stop for some reason?
Another word for vow, is covenant. A vow, like a covenant, are both like contracts. The difference between a contract and a vow or covenant, is a contract has an ending and “loop holes”. A vow and a covenant don't. Both, vows and covenants, have requirements and they are binding till death. Does that scare you? Looking back at some of the things you may have told others you would do, or vows you have made, are you recalling some things you didn't fulfill?
God's Word tells us that it is better not to vow, than to make a vow and not pay it. God does not except excuses and does not like to be put in second place, or any other place rather than first.
So, I ask the big question. Where is God on your priority list? When you ask God into your heart and to come and live inside of you, you made a vow, and a covenant with Him to make Him first in your life. No other place is worthy of, or of interest to Him. Is He? Realizing now that you have a covenant with God for Him to be first, a marriage vow, if you will, if you were to die today, what would the life you have lived reveal to God? Does He come first? Did you let the job come before Him? Did you let recreational activities come before Him? Did you let relationships come before Him? Did you let yard work come before Him?
When it comes to our relationship with God, our marriage vow, nothing or no one should come in between us. If we allow anyone or anything to be of more importance to us, then we are breaking that vow we made with God to allow Him to be first in our life.
Other activities, family members and things can be fun, needed and enjoyed, but when we allow them to circumvent our relationship and responsibility to God and His plan, we are breaking our vows to God. When we know that the church doors are open we should be fulfilling our vow to God and His people to be supporting and encouraging our brothers and sisters. When we allow our spouses, children, grandchildren, friends, football, softball, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, TV, parents and whatever else to come in front of God, we are teaching all those whom God has put us in a position of influence over, that these things have more importance to us than does God.
Remember: In the good ole days a person's word and handshake were every bit as binding as a contract. Where did we lose our integrity?
Until next time, please pray for each other, and me, as I continue to pray for each of you. Love in CHRIST,
Bethel Baptist Church