A vow is a spoken promise made to God and considered the ultimate commitment to God.
“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.” Deuteronomy 23:21.
Some people promise God something in their time of need but don’t keep their promise to Him after God answers their prayer. I’ve heard patients promise to go to church or give their lives to God if He keeps them cancer-free to see their children grown. The Lord was and still is faithful. He put the patient in remission so she watched her children grow, but she didn’t keep her vow to God. I’ve seen the cancer return and nature take it course.
God is sovereign. It’s wise to honor God and keeps our vows.
The Old Testament saints were serious to keep their vows which might be why I cringe when I hear people today making promises and breaking them.
In Judges 11:30-40 Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, that he would offer whatever came out of his home as a burnt offering if God delivered his enemies into his hands. His daughter came out of the house to welcome him back. But she agreed with him that he must keep his vow to God. I’ve posted the story at the end of this.
Later we read about Hannah, who was barren but promised God if He gave her a child, she would surrender the baby to serve the Lord. She kept her vow. After Samuel was born, she carried him to the temple to serve the Lord. That story has a happy ending and is found in the first two chapters of I Samuel.
If we make a vow to the Lord, we would be wise to keep that promise to Him. God is always merciful and gives us second chances, but judgment day is coming to everyone.
Here’s the scripture.
Judges 11:30-40King James Version (KJV)
30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
31 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.
32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.
33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.
36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.
37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.
38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.
39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,
40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.