Rash Words and Rash Promises
“When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.”
I remember one Sunday singing a song at church and when it was over I couldn’t even remember what song we had just sung. I was going through the motions but my heart was not in it. My mind was occupied with thinking about all the stuff that I was going to do when we got home. I was definitely not worshiping.
There is always the danger that worship becomes a meaningless exercise. How often do we listen to sermons but don’t really hear a word of it? The pastor’s voice almost lulls us to sleep.
Our verses for today have to do with the worship of God. But it is not just referring to church on Sunday. Solomon is telling us to be careful in all our worship and this includes corporate worship, private worship, our words about God and the promises that we make to Him.
Remember that worship is ascribing worth to something and for the Christian, it must be God. It is praising who He is and what He has done. Our life is to be lived in such a way that we ascribe worth to God.
We must be careful with our words
God’s name is holy and so are the things that He does. So we must guard against speaking rash and thoughtless words about God (Ecclesiastes 5:2). We do this sometimes when we pray out loud. We are much more concerned with how we come across to those around us instead of focusing on the fact that we have entered the throne room of God and are speaking to the Mighty One of Israel.
I’ll confess that, while praying with others, I practiced my prayer in my head instead of praying with the person whose turn it was…all because I didn’t want to stumble over my words and sound like a dork.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
We must be careful with our promises
Have you ever been in a panic and made a promise to God only to forget about it later? Maybe you were on some emotional high and made a rash promise to God? I am pretty sure I have done this too. I’m also pretty sure I have made promises when I was fearful, when I really wanted something, or when the guilt of my sin drove me to my knees.
Promises born out of the heat of the moment are usually forgotten and not kept.
If we make a promise to to God, the Almighty, then we need to be quick to follow through. It should become our priority that is fulfilled without excuses. We need to be as good as our word. As a matter of fact Deuteronomy 23:21-23 tells us that failure to complete our promise is sin and a foolish disregard of God. It is actually better not to make a promise at all.
“You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.” Deuteronomy 23:23
But there is always good news. Though we need to be more reverent with our worship (both inside of church and out) particularly in our words and promises, we belong to a God of mercy and grace. Christ was punished for all the broken promises, and our slate is clean so we can wake tomorrow to a new day and a new opportunity to glorify God with our words and worship Him in a way that is befitting to one who is mighty and holy.
Week Four Challenge: Making promises to God is a weighty and serious undertaking. What promises have we already made to God and forgotten to follow through with them? Let’s repent of our words spoken in haste and resolve to take the things of God more seriously.
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Week Four Reading Plan:
Week Four Memory Verse: