Most of us have reneged on a promise or broken a vow at some time in our lives. We get caught up in the moment and make a rash declaration we are unable to fulfill. These days, when a promise is not kept we often hear the words, “My bad,” as though that negates the promise. We expect everyone to just move past it.
But what if the promise is made to God? In a desperate attempt to bargain with God, we might pray “If You… then I will…,” or “If You… I promise I will never…” Oh we absolutely mean it at the time we say those words. But life happens, and so often our promise is forgotten.
Does God forget? What does God do with those promises and vows we break? Leviticus suggests there is a price to pay if we can’t fulfill the promises we make to God.
Now I know we live after the cross, that we are under grace, that God forgives our sin when we ask Him. I know there is nothing we can “do” to earn God’s favor, or to make up for something we did or did not do. But does that make breaking a promise to God a moot point?
Leviticus has me considering the broken promises I’ve made to God. When I recognize them as sin and confess them to God, I know He forgives. But I wonder if that act of forgiveness changes me. Does the fact that my God extends grace to me make me more aware of my choices, does it encourage me to choose my words and my actions so as not to repeat the sin of breaking my promises to Him in the future? Do my broken promises to God break my heart?
The Jews were to buy back the vow they could not keep, plus add a fifth of the value to the purchase price. It reminds me if – when – I break a vow, God expects me to do better next time. With His help, I can.
May I be aware that my words are heard by God, that when I make a promise to Him He does not take it lightly, and may I keep the promises I make to Him because He loves me and keeps His promises to me.
It’s the least I can do. And personally, I don’t want to be satisfied with doing the least I can, in response to His marvelous grace.
I have made vows in my anger and hurt, but after repented,but I wonder do they still stand
Wow, Derrick, I don’t know how to answer you. I don’t know the circumstances surrounding your vows or what it was you promised God at the time. I don’t know your heart. But I believe God does. I believe He knows the difference between a vow and a rash statement. And I believe that if He wants you to hold to a vow He will not give you rest until you fulfill it. I think what God wanted us to learn from the words He inspired the writer of Leviticus to say is that a vow, an intentional promise made to God is very serious.
But you said something else. I believe Scripture teaches that if your vow was a sin, and you repent, God forgives and removes your guilt as far as the east is from the west. There may be consequences for that sin that you can’t escape in this life. But that’s true for many sins we commit, isn’t it?
I prayed for you this morning. May God give you clarity concerning your question. May you have the courage to fulfill a vow He wants you to fulfill in a way that will bring Him honor and glory. And may you have the peace to let go of a vow or a rash statement you’ve made that He has forgiven. And may we both choose our words carefully, knowing that God takes our vows very seriously, and we don’t want to grieve Him by promising something He doesn’t want for us.