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I Wouldn't Dare To Play Fast & Loose With God
"I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot go back; I must therefore go forward. I have sworn, and I must, I will, perform it. Let me not dare to play fast and loose with God." - Matthew Henry
Have you ever made a promise to someone that you had not kept or had no intention of keeping?
How about to God?
In his Commentary on Numbers 30:2, Matthew Henry admonishes us with these words - "Be not deceived, God is not mocked. His promises to us are yea and amen, let not ours to Him be yea and nay."
God's Promises to us are always "yea and Amen." However, are our promises to Him the same? Or, are they occasionally as Pastor Henry mentions - "yea and nay"?
Numbers 30:2 instructs us concerning vows or promises made unto the Lord - "If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."
Deuteronomy 23:21,23 adds - "When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee...That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth."
"If a man vow a vow unto the LORD..." "When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God..." - This refers to the times whenever we promise the Lord that we will do something or stop doing something.
"swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond" - This refers to taking an oath or binding ourselves by a pledge or specific obligation.
Is there a difference between a "vow" and a "bond"? As a matter of fact, there is!
A "vow" is an obligation to accomplish a task for God or to dedicate something to Him.
Barnes' Notes defines a "vow" as a "solemn engagement to perform a certain duty, the obligation of which is felt at the time to be especially binding. It partakes, therefore, of the nature of a promise or a covenant."
Adam Clarke, the Bible Commentator, defines it as a "solemn, holy promise, by which a man bound himself to do certain things in a particular way, time, etc...." "A vow is a religious promise made to God."
A "bond," on the other hand, is an obligation to deprive ourselves of a privilege or an enjoyment in order to accomplish God's purposes. It is rather restrictive and negative as compared to the "vow." In the "vow," we do something for God or dedicate something to Him. In a "bond," we deny ourselves of something for Him. One involves giving; the other, taking away.
"he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."
"That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth."
At no time are we allowed to break, profane, or violate our "vow" or promise. We must be careful and watchful to conscientiously perform all that we have spoken to the Lord. We must understand that it is a "freewill offering" - an offering that is voluntary - one of our own choice.
"When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it" - Whenever we tell God that we will do a certain thing, we must be prompt in performing it. Never are we to put it off, be slow, or delay in "paying" it.
"for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee" - This is serious business! God demands that we keep our promises to Him. Whenever we don't, we are guilty of sin!
Oftentimes, our vows are made in times of trouble, zealous exuberance, humiliation for a particular sin committed, in pursuit of a desired mercy, or in thanksgiving for a blessing received or a "second chance" - so to speak.
How important it is that we make them with extreme caution and great sincerity of heart!
In Psalm 76:11, Asaph admonished us with these words - "Vow and pay unto the LORD..." In other words, what he was saying to us was - pay your vows...be sure to faithfully observe and fulfill them...while at no time ever, forgetting your obligation to the Lord.
In Jonah 2:9, the Prophet Jonah said - "...I will pay that that I have vowed..."
"I will" - By an act of his will, he pledged his obedience to the Lord for the remainder of his life. He pledged to be wholly His and to do whatever He required and to go wherever He led.
When each and everyone of us got saved or were Born Again, we gave our lives unto the Lord Jesus to be used for His Glory and Honor. We bound ourselves to Him with a Holy Bond. This step required that we refrain from certain people, places, things, and activities - simply because we now belonged to Him. By an act of our will, we pledged our obedience to Him with a holy vow to go wherever He led and to do whatever He demanded.
Have we sincerely and faithfully obeyed the word of the Lord from Asaph to us today - "Vow and pay unto the Lord"?
Have we vowed a vow unto the Lord?
Have we kept our word or did we break our promise by forgetting our obligation?
Is there something that God told us to do? Or to dedicate to Him? Have we obeyed?
Or have we put off, been slow, or delayed to obey Him in the task He's been requiring of us?
Do we - like the Prophet Jonah - have to end up in the belly of the whale before we will pledge our absolute obedience to the Lord Jesus? Or will we willingly keep our promise - "I will pay that that I have vowed..."?
Remember - God demands our obedience. If we choose to be "slack," delay, or are forgetful in fulfilling our duty, it will be counted as sin on our account!
We close once again with Matthew Henry's words - "I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot go back; I must therefore go forward. I have sworn, and I must, I will, perform it. Let me not dare to play fast and loose with God."
What about you, O Christian?
Would you "dare to play fast and loose with God"?
May God Bless His Word.