Bible Insights

When You Make a Vow to God

Be Sure to Follow Through on What You Promise to Do

Have you ever promised God that you’d do something for him? Sometimes these occur from the Holy Spirit’s stirring within our souls.

Yet other times, these come at a traumatic moment in a person’s life when they’re in the middle of a crisis.

They bargain with the Almighty. They make a conditional vow to God: “If you get me out of this jam, then I will do ______ for you.”

What goes in the blank varies. It may be an act of service, to give money, or to change a behavior, either to start doing something good or to stop doing something they shouldn’t be doing.

Regardless of the promise they make and the fact that it contains a stipulation for God to act first, the result is they are making a vow to God.

I’m not sure how God views these provisional pledges. On one hand it seems a bit manipulative by the person making the promise.

Yet there is the potential for good to come out of it, providing the person making the pledge keeps their vow to God.

Lest there be any doubt about it, God expects us to follow through and keep our vow.

In the book of Numbers, Moses writes that when we make a vow to God or promise to do something we must keep our word and not break our pledge (Numbers 30:2).

Though the Bible doesn’t require us to make a vow to God, it does clearly state that if we choose to do so, we must follow through and do all that we promised.

Moses later writes an additional command on the subject. He adds that when we make a vow to God, we must not be slow in fulfilling that promise. To procrastinate is a sin (Deuteronomy 23:21). A delayed obedience is disobedience.

Jesus repeats this instruction in his Sermon on the Mount. Then he adds a wise addendum, telling the crowd that the better solution is to not make a promise in God’s name (Matthew 5:33-34).

This last part is wise advice for us to follow. Don’t make a rash vow to God. Instead, live a life where we don’t feel we have to.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Numbers 28-30 and today’s post is on Numbers 30:2.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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