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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

February 23, 2024

Read to Read …Again

 

Daily Reading:  Numbers 28-30

 

Numbers 30:2

If a man vow 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.

 

Making a vow is a serious thing. Wedding vows are the most common use of the word today. But every promise is a vow. The entire chapter of Numbers 30 is all about the making and keeping vows. In fact, the last verse of this chapter says: These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father’s house. Concerning the authority of the father and husband undoubtedly will cause questions and arguments to arise, but one overriding, undebatable truth can be derived from this Old Testament teaching. That is this; God expects those who make a vow to keep that vow, unless some sort of disqualification arises.

 

Of a vow, Solomon wrote of God’s displeasure toward those who break their vows. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Ecclesiastes 5:4 

 

Now, let’s face it. We have all made vows which we have not kept. I remember being in a national conference years ago and the preacher was speaking about the upcoming war of terror. He asked the individuals in the congregation to vow to get up every morning at 4 or 5 o’clock and pray for this coming war until it was won. I stood up with the rest of them. That was over 20 years ago and yet the war on terror has never been conclusively ended. I made that vow; I broke that vow. I’m a vow breaker. May God forgive me, and probably every other person who made that vow.

 

So, what do we do about vows? Consider these things. One, be careful about making the vow in the first place. Get counsel. Get advice. Get alone with God in prayer about the promise you are about to make. Ask Him if He wants you to make that vow. Yield to leadership.

 

Two, once a vow is made, keep it. Like Amos of old …I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. (Amos 7:14-15) However, I was not a shepherd or a gatherer of fruit, I was a peddler, selling my wares wherever I could. I may not have followed a flock of sheep but I followed the flock of believers in the local church and was a lay leader among them as a deacon. While God did not call me as a prophet, He did call me, separate me, as a preacher. But in general I was like Amos. Over the past thirty years the only thing that kept me going at times was the fact that I made a vow. My wife made that vow with me. We could not, would not, and praise to the Lord God, have not broken that vow.

 

An easy two-step process in making and keeping a vow to God. Be careful about making the vow, but once made… well, as David said to his son Solomon about building the great Temple, “Be strong and do it.” 

 

Dr. William T. Howe

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