Has someone ever broken a promise to you? How did that make you feel? Angry? Disappointed? You probably felt that person shouldn’t have made that promise at all if if there was no intention of fulfilling that commitment.
Have you ever considered the seriousness of the commitments we make in our lives? The promise to stay together with our spouse, no matter what. The promise to love, nurture and bring up our children in the ways of the Lord. The vow to follow Jesus only and obey His word. At the end of the post, it is my prayer that you and I look back at the big or small commitments we made in the past and ask God to help us fulfill those vows.
What comes to mind when you hear the word commitment? According to the online dictionary, commitment involves dedicating yourself to something like a person or a cause. It continues by saying that before you make a commitment, think carefully. A commitment obligates you do something. Quite heavy right? When we commit to something as serious as marriage or enter into a contract, it is a promise that we have to keep, regardless. And God will take us up on that promise.
For the second week of Minute Mondays, we look at the life of Hannah. She vowed to dedicate her child to the Lord if He would bless her with one. Such a heavy vow to make right? Did she fulfill her promise in the end?
Who is this woman? Hannah shared her husband Elkanah with another woman, Peninah. This other wife made her life difficult because Hannah couldn’t bear children while Peninah had a lot. This situation grieved Hannah, in her deep anguish she prayed to the Lord bitterly. Read 1 Samuel 1:10-11
After some time, the Lord remembered Hannah’s prayer and she gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel. (Samuel was the prophet who anointed Israel’s first King, Saul) The year after Samuel was born, Hannah did not go up to the temple in Shiloh to worship the Lord. She stayed until the child was about 3-4 years old and that was the time she had to fulfill her vow to the Lord.
Do you think Hannah had second thoughts about fulfilling this vow? Did she ever bargain with the Lord to extend her time with Samuel or probably not give him up at all?
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah[ of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord.27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to theLord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
This brought me to tears. Imagine what may be going through Hannah’s head. She prayed so hard for the Lord to give her a child. Tearfully, she asked to Lord to grant her request with a promise to give the child back to the Him. She must have been a doting mother to Samuel, took care of her every need, taught him the ways of the Lord and even breastfed him. Yet at the back of her mind, she knew that her intimate nurturing is short-lived.
Am I like her? Have you ever uttered these words to the Lord, “Okay Lord, I promise that I will __________________ just answer my prayer!” Out of desperation or impatience, you and I have made “deals” with God. In my younger years, I made a lot of pledges to the Lord. “Please, please God, just this one time and I promise I will go to church everyday or I will follow my parents!”
Finally, the Lord answers the long-standing prayer item in our list. The Lord reminds us of the promise we made to him. Are we to chicken out of the bargain or fulfill the vow we made?
What can I do? Hannah knew in her heart that Samuel belonged to the Lord. She honored God by staying true to her promise. The promise she made beforehand was sincere and she had the intention to fulfill it because of her love for God. She knew that God alone can answer her prayer and He did prove himself faithful to her. Out of her reverence to the faithful God, it was necessary for her to keep her side of the deal. She needed to be faithful too.
Do we have that habit of making promises to God and fail in our commitment to Him? Remember God answers our prayers whether we make vows to Him or not. His answer is not dependent on what we can do for Him. His answer is dependent on what He knows is best for us.
Nothing wrong with making vows to the Lord so long as our motives are pure and sincere. If there is a hidden agenda then we better not make vows at all. We have to stop being presumptuous before God.
As you reflect today, look back at the many promises you made before God. If the Lord reminds you about a certain promise, ask for forgiveness if you have done so out of arrogance. If you have not been fulfilling your vows to your spouse, then do so lovingly and out of respect to the Lord. If the Lord takes His promises seriously, so should we.
Dear Lord, thank you for reminding of the seriousness of the vows I made to you. Forgive me for dangerously speaking vows out of desperation and without the intent to really follow through. Help me to trust you, your timing and your way as I wait for the answer to my prayers. Open my heart to accept your answers even if they are not what I was hoping for. Help me to be faithful as you are faithful. I ask all of these in your mighty name, Amen.
2 Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
and you are on earth,
so let your words be few.
3 A dream comes when there are many cares,
and many words mark the speech of a fool.
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? 7 Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God. Ecclesiastes 5:2-7