The concept of making a vow and promise often means little when living a life under the sun. We say, “I promise…”, “By God, I am going to…”, and “I vow that I will…” to assure and strengthen our resolve and will. And we say vows and promises to assure and comfort someone. And sometimes we say the as a sware. Yet, most of the time we have so little control of ourselves and the world that we really don’t know if we can keep promises and vows.
The Bible does not forbid vows and promises. In fact, it has a lot to say about them (Num. 9:6, Deut. 23:21-23, Eccl. 5:4-7, Matt. 5:33-37). A fool in God’s eyes is not someone who is not educated, cannot learn, or not intelligent. God says a fool is a person who does not learn, refuses to acknowledge the truth, has no moral or ethical integrity, and who makes a vow and does not or will not make every effort to keep the vow (4).
God says, “It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.” (5) One of the often overlooked parts of the human soul is our will. Personal will is a desire and motivation within emotions and mind that I am going to do something. My will can lead to simple-to-achieve acts such as getting out of bed, eating, and walking. My will can lead to hard-to-achieve acts like winning an Olympic gold medal, creating something new and amazing, and raising accomplished and successful children.
A vow is verbalizing or writing our will. Words spoken have power over me and will lead to consequences. God warns, “Do not let your mouth lead you into sin.” (6) If my will is totally set on accomplishing something, and I make a vow I lock it in my soul and forever sets consequences. Words spoken and written are eternally accountable. Never take them lightly.
What happens when I make a vow and for whatever reason, I did not keep it? I cannot make excuses as Saul did to Samuel the prophet and messenger of the temple (6). For when Saul did not keep his vow to Samuel he had an excuse and not a confession of sin. His life work was destroyed and the kingdom of Israel was taken from him and his descendants forever.
“Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of and fear God.”