What obstacles are you facing today? Our recognition of obstacles lets us know that we have unfulfilled desires. Perhaps you set a goal of reaching a certain weight by a definite time. You didn’t reach the target and you feel rather hopeless.
Maybe you told the Lord that you would accomplish something important. You made the vow when you were in trouble. And now, life moves on and you have not managed to get it done.
The trouble with unrealized goals or vows left undone is the unsettledness that remains in our souls. We are made in the image of God, created to live like Him.
Since God does not lie, we don’t do well when we lie. We may have a life rule to never lie, but are we not lying when we turn aside from a promise made just to ourselves?
“God is not a man that He should lie…Has He said, and will He not do it?” Numbers 23:19
The Scripture has many instances of vows made. Often, they were made during trying circumstances.
Hannah, in her distress over her barren womb, vowed to give her son to the Lord, if He would only give her that male child. She made good on her promise. The great prophet, Samuel, was the result.
She brought him to the priest where, even as a child, he ministered before the Lord. And God recognized her obedience to the Lord with three additional sons and two daughters.
We all know the story of Jonah. He made vows from the belly of the big fish.
“But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah 2:9
Other interesting vows were made in that story. When the great storm came upon them, Jonah told the men on the ship that he was running from the presence of the Lord, the God of heaven.
God had their attention and they feared being held accountable for the death of Jonah if they threw him overboard. And yet, they felt they had no choice but to grant Jonah’s request.
Here’s the good part.
“Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly
and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.”
As my pastor brought out in his message Sunday, even while he was running from God, Jonah managed to participate in many sailors recognizing the true God.
So, how do we keep our vows, our promises to God, and ourselves? I found a way in Psalm 61 today. David is crying out to the Lord…
“When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” He is in distress, like the situations in which we often find ourselves.
“For You have been a shelter for me,
And a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those
who fear your name.
….So I will sing praise to Your name forever
That I may daily perform my vows.”
There it is! The key to following through with our promises is singing praise to the Lord. Yes, we can sing at home or in our vehicles, but the real power is singing praise in the congregation of “those who fear (reverence) His name.”
That would be at church. And that would be singing with our mouths, not just listening. I tell you, this is a monumental truth that if you will practice it, you can accomplish amazing things in the days ahead.