This is another post I’m sharing with you from the From Garden to City Blog. Today our reading was from Numbers 30 & 31, and it was my turn to blog. Check it out at From Garden To City

Chapter 30 deals entirely with laws concerning vows. The strange part about it is, there’s really no need for them, God never tells us to make them, and often when people do make them it’s out of a desperate place or situation. We ask the Lord to deliver us from situations and promise in return to do things that we often can’t or won’t commit to, and most of the time those are foolish things that we either shouldn’t be doing, or we promise to do things that we should already be doing anyways.

In Judges chapter 11, The Ammonites were making war with Jephthah over a land dispute with the Israelites. It says in verse 29 that “the Spirit of the LORD was upon Jephthah”. He had no need to make a vow, the Spirit was already moving in His favor, but instead he makes an ill-advised vow, that if the Lord delivered the Ammonites into his hand, he would offer as a sacrifice the first thing that comes out the door to greet him when he returns home.

I’m not sure what he was thinking. Maybe he thought a servant would come out to greet him first, but if you have children, aren’t they usually the first ones to run to the door when you get home from work? So the Lord delivers the Ammonites, and as Jephthah is heading home, his only child, his daughter comes dancing out of the house with tambourines to greet him. He stays true to his word, and two months later, he does as he had vowed.

Jesus cautions us in Matthew chapter 5 to not make vows:

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”

Jesus advises us not to make any vows because we cannot change the color of one hair on our head, or in other words, God is the one in control and we need to have faith in Him that he will deliver us and provide for us according to His will. You making a promise to go to church every week, or to stop smoking if the Lord delivers your from a situation isn’t what saves you. It’s not about you! It’s about Him!

If you’re in a situation where you need help, don’t make promises you can’t keep, because it’s better to not make a vow than to make one and break it. Let your yes be yes, and your no, be no, and put your hope and trust and faith in the One who has the power to help.