When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed— better not to vow than to vow and not pay. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5)
Keeping Our Word
The veracity of God’s word has never been challenged with success. Critics of Jesus tried to dissuade the multitudes away from Jesus but they could never find error or falsehood in His teaching. They often tried to trap the Lord with His words. The Jewish leaders wove intricate questions designed to assassinate the character of the man from Nazareth and failed miserably every time. On one occasion, they confronted Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar and acknowledged how honest Jesus was and how He taught the way of God without partiality or favoritism. The word of Jesus was His bond, His character without reservation and everyone knew that.
God’s word has been true from the beginning. The word of man has not. Nothing challenges the heart of men more than keeping promises and fulfilling vows. God demands honesty in His children, which is especially true in the promises made by men. Nothing is more important to the character of the disciple of Christ than the words that come from his mouth. The wise man warns against speaking out of turn and failing to keep promises to God. Making a vow or a promise to God and refusing to keep that word is foolish and dangerous. Every judgment scene shows the Book of life open with all men judged by the things done in the body, good or bad. Unkept promises, lies, falsehoods and dishonest words will appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
Truth is the sterling character of a person of character. Their word is their bond not to impress others but to obey God. The Lord holds accountable the promises made. Two main areas of concern begin with the promise to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation comes from an obedient heart willing to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. With the mouth confession is made to salvation. The oath of allegiance to serve the Lord is a promise God demands His children keep. When someone becomes a Christian, they promise to serve the Lord and obey His word. Failing to keep that word will bring the judgment of God. It is foolish to make a vow of obedience to be a Christian and delay keeping that promise.
The second vow that must be kept is the promise made in marriage. Marriage vows are words of the covenant where a man and woman stand before God and promise to be faithful to one another. These vows are solemn and must be kept with great fidelity. Failing to keep marriage vows is displeasing to the God to whom those promises were made. It is easy to disregard a promise to others without fear of retribution. Failing to keep a vow to God has eternal consequences. God hates divorce in part because vows are broken, promises made are rejected, and a covenant broken. It would be better not to have made promises than to go back on those promises.
Jesus was known as a man of integrity because His word defined His character. The disciple of Christ must be a person of truthfulness by their words, keeping promises to God and one another. When a promise is made to God, He intends the person to keep that word. God takes no pleasure in fools. Failing to keep their word makes a man a fool and in danger of God’s displeasure. Speak the truth in love but speak the truth. Strive to keep promises or explain why it cannot be done. Let the example of the Lord guide the heart to be a person who is known for his honest character and a person of integrity. Do not be rash in making promises that cannot be kept. But fear God.