Vow

A vow is more than a promise—it is a pledge made that must not be broken.
Sometimes it is called “swearing an oath.” If you take a vow like this in court to tell “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” and then you lie, that is a crime. When we make a vow to God, the human law is not involved so breaking that vow is not a crime; we won’t go to jail. Keeping our vows to God yields great benefits while breaking them makes us vulnerable to the enemies of our souls.

The Psalmist, knowing this, puts our vows to God in perspective:

“I am bound by the vow I made to you, O God…”

While promises are sometimes expressions of our good intentions, a vow is a binding promise. We must be very careful of the vows we make with the Lord. To raise our hand to Him in praise is one thing; to raise our hand making a vow to Him is another altogether.

Covenantal Relationships
The ancient world into which the Bible was spoken was a world built on covenants. They were even sealed in blood, binding the covenantal partners to the agreement. In our modern world, we are more familiar with contracts. When we sign a contract it is binding and can only be broken at great cost and with mutual agreement. God’s promises to us are of two kinds:

  1. Conditional promises that come into effect with our obedience to our part of the agreement. God says, “I will do this, if you will do that.”
  2.  Unconditional promises that do not depend on us. There are some things that God is going to do regardless of what man does. Among these are the Great Outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days and the Second Coming of Christ.

These two types of promises require two different responses from the believer. For the unconditional promises of God, our job is to be ready when God does what He says He is going to do. Most of our lives are spent in the realm of the conditional promises. As we do our best to fulfill our vows, the Lord is faithful to fulfill His promises to us. He proves Himself to be true to His covenantal names:

  • I am the Lord Who Provides—Jehovah Jireh,
  • I am the Lord Who Heals—Jehovah Rapha,
  • I am the Lord Your Righteousness—Jehovah TsidKenu,
  • I am the Lord Who Sanctifies—Jehovah McKeddish,
  • I am the Lord Your Shepherd—Jehovah Roi,
  • I am the Lord Your Peace—Jehovah Shalom,
  • I am the Lord Who Is Present—Jehovah Shammah,
  • I am the Lord Your Banner, Your Victory—Jehovah Nissi, and
  • I am the Lord of Hosts—Jehovah Saboath.

To break a vow we have made to God breaks His heart, but He does not cast us out. He is still the God who forgives. He is the God of the second chance—and the third, and the fourth—His grace is without measure.

As this week begins, remember your vows. God will surely never forget His promises!

Scriptures:
Psalm 56 NKJV
Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; Fighting all day he oppresses me. My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? All day they twist my words; All their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather together, They hide, they mark my steps, When they lie in wait for my life. Shall they escape by iniquity? In anger cast down the peoples, O God! You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 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 50:14-15 NKJV
Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”
Psalm 61:5-8 NKJV
For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name. You will prolong the king’s life, His years as many generations. He shall abide before God forever. Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him! So I will sing praise to Your name forever, That I may daily perform my vows.
Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 NKJV
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.
2 Corinthians 1:20-22 NKJV
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
2 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You have a full record of the vows I have made to You. Bring them to the front of my mind today so that I might attend to them. I have a full accounting of Your promises to me in the Bible. Bring them, also, to the front of my mind today so that I may live by them. The success of this day depends on both Your faithfulness and mine. Keep me true to my I vows so that might walk in Your promised victory today. For Your glory, Lord! Amen.

Song:
Standing on the Promises of God

Words and Music: Russell Kelso Carter

1. Standing on the promises of Christ my king,
through eternal ages let his praises ring;
glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
standing on the promises of God.

Refrain:
Standing, standing,
standing on the promises of God my Savior;
standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

2 Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
standing on the promises of God.

Refrain

3 Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
bound to him eternally by love’s strong cord,
overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
standing on the promises of God.

Refrain

4 Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,
resting in my Savior as my all in all,
standing on the promises of God.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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