“The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, musicians, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand— all these now join their fellow Israelites the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD our Lord.”
(Nehemiah 10:28-29 NIV)
After hearing the Law of God read aloud and confessing their sins, the nation of Israel made serious promises to God (Nehemiah 10:30-39), many of which they had failed to keep in the first place. The Bible tells us that God takes vows seriously, whether or not we’re aware of their implications. Here is one of my favourite passages on keeping our promises to God, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?”’ (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6). When I used to make hasty promises to God and not keep them, I’d stumble across a convicting passage like that to remind me of what I had vowed to do. I decided not to make a promise, rather than to make one and break it. Instead, my prayer is that His Holy Spirit would enable me to do the thing that I’d usually promise to do on my own strength and fail.
Keep your promises to God or don’t make any at all.