Book: Proverbs 20
“Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost.”
It is serious business when a person makes a promise to God. In the Old Testament Jephthah made such a promise, that he later regretted. He got so caught up in his desire for victory that he said to God, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the Lord whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” (Judges 11:30-31). God gave Jephathah that victory and when he came home, his one and only offspring, his daughter, came running out to meet him.
Deuteronomy 23:21-23 says “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, be prompt in fulfilling whatever you promised him. For the LORD your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin. However, it is not a sin to refrain from making a vow. But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to fulfill your promise to the LORD your God.” Notice in these verses that you do not have to make a promise or vow to God. If you don’t make a promise you are not sinning.
There are times that people feel like they need to negotiate with God to get what they want or need. They will say, “God if you do this for me, I will ….” Careful consideration must be made before doing such a thing. In a sense when we make a promise to God we are assuming we know the future. Only God knows the future. Negotiations are not needed.
Let me suggest an alternative. If you see God as your loving Father who desires the best for you and you are one of His children, why not just ask Him to help you? Admit that you need His help and that you can’t do it on your own. Invite Him into the situation instead of making a rash promise based on emotions that you may later regret. Trust Him that He will look after you. He wants to help, but He is waiting for the invitation.
Next time you are in need, instead of trying to negotiate with God, just invite Him into the situation and ask Him to help you. He doesn’t need your promise, He just wants you to walk with Him and obey Him.