Vows fulfilled open doors of Amazing blessings from God.
HYMN: THERE IS NOT A FRIEND LIKE THE LOWLY JESUS
Text: 1 Sam 1:1-28, 2:21; Judges 11:30-40; Num 30:2; Deut. 23:21; Ps 50:14, 76:11; Eccl 5:1-7; Matt 5:33
A vow according to Oxford Dictionary simply means a solemn promise especially to God. It could equally be a declaration, affirmation, agreement, a bond, an undertaking or an oath. It could take place within an individual either privately or publicly: especially when it comes to things of God. It could be an undertaking between persons, e.g. marriage vows. The use of vows was common in Bible times. However, vows must come out of one’s willingness and not out of compulsion, otherwise, it becomes fruitless and meaningless. When fulfilled it attracts the blessings of God, 1 Sam 2:21. Vows are sacred and should not be taken lightly. Our God is a covenant keeper.
He demands nothing less than faithfulness. “When you make a vow unto God, defer not to fulfill it; for He has no pleasure in fools: pay that which you have vowed. Better is it that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not pay”, Eccl 5:4-5. Once it proceeds from your mouth, it becomes binding on you, the only way out is to fulfill your vow, no other alternative.
The objectives of this lesson are to know, understand, consider and appreciate:
- To know the meaning of a vow.
- To know the importance of vow.
- To know how vows generally should be made.
Q1. WHAT DO WE UNDERSTAND BY THE TERM VOW?
A vow is a solemn/sacred promise, an undertaking and a declaration. It could be regarded as an affirmation, an oath or a bond which an individual makes to God either privately or publicly when faced with a problem. It could equally be an undertaking between persons with a target in focus.
Hannah came back to the temple to present Samuel to the Lord, just to fulfill her vow in 1 Sam 1:11. A vow is a promise to God of doing some good thing when prayers are answered. So, vows are sacred, when made to GOD, before GOD and in the assembly of His people. God is in heaven and we on earth, Eccl 5:2, any pledge or oath or undertaking made before Him is recorded in the Lord’s Book of Records.
Q2. WHAT WERE THE LAWS THAT REGULATED THE EXECUTION OF VOWS?
There are several laws for the regulation and due execution of vows. A man might devote himself or his children, to the Lord. If a man or woman vowed themselves, or their children to the lord, they were obliged to adhere strictly to His service according to conditions of the vow; if not, they were to be redeemed, Lev 27:2-3. Only if the person was poor, and could not procure the sum limited, the priest imposed a ransom upon him according to his abilities.
If anyone had vowed an animal that was clean, he had not the liberty of exchanging it or of withdrawing (or redeeming) it, but as obliged to sacrifice it to the Lord or give it to the Priest, according to the manner of his vow. If it was an unclean animal, and such was not allowed to be sacrificed, the Priest made valuation of it; and if the proprietor would redeem it, he added a fifth part of the value by value by way of forfeit. The same was done in proportion, when the thing vowed was a house or a field, Lev 27:9-10.
The vows and promises of children were void, except they were ratified either by the express or tacit consent of their parents. It was the same with the vows of married women; they were confirmed by the express or tacit consent of their husbands, Num 30:1-8.
Under the New Testament, a vow is either general to all Christians, as that which is made at baptism: or particular and special, as when we bind ourselves to a greater endeavor, to leave some sin, or perform some duty.
Issues for discussion:
- What happens when a child makes a pledge or a vow in the absence of the Father?
- What happens when a wife makes a pledge or vow in the absence of the husband? Numbers 30:1-8
Q3. HOW SHOULD VOWS GENERALLY BE MADE?
A vow must be made deliberately and devoutly; a sudden passion does not make a vow. Vows should be made willingly and not under compulsion. To the believers, vow, like praises, appears to be one of the highest forms of prayers. This is why it should come out of one’s willingness and not out of duress. When one is forced to vow, it becomes fruitless and meaningless, and the forced person will not exercise faith. Caution should however be applied in making vows. We ought to vow nothing but what is in our power to perform.
Vows are to be made by the individual, who ultimately should take responsibility to perform what he/she has vowed. Therefore no one (teacher, pastor, Bishop, Overseer, etc.) should cajole any individual believer into making vows.
Vows should be specifically made. In our texts, Hannah was specific in her vow, 1 Sam 1:11, “Oh Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid and not forget thine handmaid, but will give into thine handmaid a male child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head”. Hannah asked for a male child and she was specific in her vow too: she will give the child back to God all the days of his life. Also, Jephthah was specific in his own vow. Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, “If thou shalt without fail, deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s and I will offer it up for a burnt offering”. Judges 11:30-31. Although Jephthah was faithful to God, by fulfilling his vow, he regretted offering his only child (daughter) as a burnt offering.
However, believers should avoid making vows that will cause them to regret their actions after fulfillment, thereby turning away the blessing that would have followed. We must mention however that some vows are of evil things to an evil end; such vows ought neither to be made nor kept. Of this kind was the vow or curse which the Jews bound themselves under, who conspired to murder Paul, Acts 23:12.
Q4. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE IMPORTANCE OF VOWS?
Vows made to the lord are binding on us, should not be broken or unaccomplished, delayed, but fulfilled; God will demand or the fulfillment ultimately, Num 30:2; Deut. 23:21-23; Eccl 5:4-5. Vows are important in the lives of Christians because they bring open doors. No matter the problem areas; be it job opportunities, fruit of the womb or even education. God keeps His own part of the promise. Vow when fulfilled no doubt attract God’s blessings. Vow expresses the earnestness of the individual’s desire and absolute dependence on God, to have the problem solved or need met. Vow is and indication of increased faith of the individual in God’s ability to resolve the issue at hand.
Daily Living Application
It is not enough to vow, as God is always committed to giving you your heart desire. God is always ready to fulfill His own part because He is a faithful God, a covenant keeper; so appropriate steps must be taken towards fulfilling the vows. Once it proceeds from your mouth, it becomes binding on you. The only way out is to fulfill your vow whether it is convenient to you or not. There should not be another alternative, that is why vow should be made with wisdom. Vow should be administered prayerfully for excellent result.
This will make you not to dance to the dictates of the devil when it comes to redeeming your vow.
“If a man vows a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.”
Daily Devotional Guide:
Monday: Vows are sacred.
Tuesday: Law on vows in the home.
Wednesday: Vows made are binding on the individual.
Thursday: God is greater than your situation.
Friday: Wisdom is needed to vow.
Saturday: God’s faithfulness is guaranteed.
Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29