When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. – Eccl. 5:4 NIV.
Please click the link above to download the full text of this Ministration.
Today’s devotion is a follow up to the devotion titled, “Talk Less”. The Teacher in today’s scripture identifies a major act of man that is a product of hasty decisions and which comes back to haunt them, especially Christians, when it is done in the House of God. The Teacher in that scripture advises who cares to listen, to avoid hurrying into a decision to make a vow. A vow is a solemn promise and to vow is to solemnly promise to do something. Again two words pop up from this definition and these are “solemn” and “promise”. To do something solemnly is to do it in a manner characterised by deep sincerity while to promise solemnly is to make a declaration or give and assurance in a deeply sincere manner that one will do something. The major reason why it is believed will be because it assumed to be a statement, made out of deep sincerity and with assurance, based on the fact that the one making the vow has weighed all factors and has concluded that he/she is capable of doing all that was promised.
The Teacher advises that it is better not to make this kind of commitment unless one is in control of all the factors that can affect the fulfilment of such vows, a claim that is definitely beyond human capability. Vows as can be seen from this discussion so far, cannot be based on what one does not have but must be on what you have 100% control of. The Teacher advises that non-assurance of the ability to do what is about to be promised and promptly, is enough reason to decline vowing to do same, especially when it comes to issues concerning God – Eccl. 5:5. This is because vows made in such an environment, or in any environment for that matter, by the Christian, involves God and no excuses will be entertained if such promises are not redeemed – Eccl. 5:6. The Teacher says, no excuses whatsoever will exonerate the one who made a vow from the implication of unfulfilled vows. The implication of such actions is the Almighty God destroying the works of such a person. Now this is serious. This is not a case of stopping new things from happening to such an individual, but a destruction of the achievements of such a person. This is really scary and enough for any one who is wise to take to heart.
Why do people make unfulfilled vows and thereby get into a situation that will make the Almighty God destroy the works of their hands:
1. Environmental pressure is mainly the reason for this, especially in the world that we live in today. Christians are pressurised by Christian leaders with words, sometimes bothering on emotional blackmail, into making promises that they obviously cannot fulfil, at least, at that moment. Phrases like, “have faith”, believe that God will do it”, “that is the sure route to receiving divine blessings”, etc. are used to pressure the individual and because of respect for such people, many make pronouncements to promise what they cannot afford. It remains foolishness to make a vow, based on faith in something that the Almighty God did not promise. It is a different thing when one is vowing to do something as a result of what he/she is expecting from the Lord, and even that has to be done with care and caution – 1Sam. 1:11-28. Refuse to be blackmailed into making that vow as you will be the only one that will bear the consequences of unfulfilled vows.
2. Ego remains another reason why people have made vows. Wanting to be seen as who they are not, or not wanting to be looked down upon, such people make promises that ends up unfulfilled. The Christian needs to realise that he/she is not like anyone just as no one is like him/her. Being honest with oneself as to who one is or what one can do remains a key to enjoying a good relationship with God. It is not about people’s expectation of you but God’s expectation. He only knows what He gave you and knows what He expects from you. Ignore other assessments of your person as it will only lead to regret. Avoid promising what you cannot do, or what you do not see yourself as being able to do within the specified period. Why expose your self to God’s anger and destruction?
3. Wrong projections is another reason why people make unfulfilled vows. In anticipation of some advantage or the other and most times with the best of intentions, some make vows which they are not eager to fulfil because the projection did not go as expected. Sorry! You have just gotten yourself into a mess because your excuse does not free you from that vow. You remain bound to it for as long as it is not paid. You should not forget that you are supposed to have made a solemn promise which is what your vow is, more so, those failed expectations may just be your test. You may believe you made a promise to an individual or may be to the Church of God, or even the Almighty God Himself, but the Almighty God remains the witness during that solemn activity. He will always act against you for as long as the vow remains unfulfilled.
4. Lackadaisical attitude to divine things. Most people who are in church actually lack sufficient respect and fear for divine things. They take most divine activities for granted mostly because they feel God is not interested in them, or the ungodly conduct of the people in such environment, which they seem to be getting away with, gives the impression that God is not interested in what is going on. Truth be told, God may not approve of all that is done in a place where is name is being called, but He is definitely interested in what goes on in such places and will reward every act of man in such places in due season, and that includes unfulfilled vows. For anyone to take Him for granted in such situations will only be at the detriment of such a person. The fear of God is the foundation of wisdom and whoever is aware of the omnipresent nature of the Almighty God will be careful at all times especially when making vows, even when there is no physical evidence of His presence.
In summary, no vow can and will be dismissed as an error of judgement or for any other reason. Just as the Teacher advised, be careful and cautious when you make them because once they are made, they will remain binding until they are fulfilled and if attached to an implementation time, every minute after such time will be seen as minutes of unfulfilled vows during which the individual remains prone to having his/her work being destroyed by God. Are you experiencing some situations now that seem like a gradual destruction of your work? It may not have anything to do with that person you are tagging as an enemy. It may actually have to do with an unfulfilled vow in which God was a witness. Redeem those vows if they exist and the hand destroying your work will cease.
May God grant us wisdom to guide our pronouncements, especially with regards to vows in Jesus name. Amen.