January 25, 2008

Keeping Your Vows

Deuteronomy 23:21-23

You made your vow freely to the Lord ...
Deuteronomy 23:23


Let's say you were in a tight spot when you promised God you'd quit smoking. Then the trouble disappeared, but you're still lighting up. You might argue, "That was a promise made under duress. Besides, no one was there to hear the vow, so it didn't really count, right?"

What matters is not who heard your vow, but that you made it. No one forced you. Besides, you brought God into the picture. Christians know that they live in God's presence and that their words reflect on God himself. And the truth is that no one escapes God, believer or not. All our words count-especially our vows.

Because a vow is voluntary, it is only right that we control our tongues and that we only make vows we fully intend to keep. Standing by the promises you make, as long as they are honorable, is good self-discipline. Wise people know that haste makes waste, that silence is golden, and that it is better to look before you leap. Let's not make idle promises.

What vows have you made? To be faithful to your spouse? To be loyal to your church's teaching? To be a law-abiding citizen? To visit all your daughter's home games? To spend evenings with family members three times a week?

A promise made should be a promise kept. Let's be wise and not make liars out of ourselves.

Help me to be wise, Lord, in the words I speak and the promises I make. Give me strength to be a promise-keeper and, above all, to be faithful to you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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