In the O. T. people made vows to God in an effort to obtain a special blessing or give thanks for a special blessing. These special promises were not to be made lightly, but every effort was to be made to fulfill them (Numbers 30:2). It was possible, however, to take a vow back. This mandated paying a penalty of 20% on the assessed value of whatever you devoted to God. Leviticus 27 deals with redeeming or taking back your vow. King Saul made a foolish vow to God. This vow involved executing his son, Jonathan (1 Sam 14:24-46). The people would not allow Saul to carry out his promise. It seems clear that it was not God’s will for Saul to carry out a foolish vow that he made rashly.

In the church age, we are not under the Mosaic law. If a believer makes a foolish promise to God, he does not have to pay a financial penalty for not keeping it. In my opinion, a believer who has failed to keep a promise to God, should confess that to God as a sin (1 John 1:9). The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin-even foolish, careless promises made to the Lord. If the vow involved obligating the person to things he cannot fulfill, or things that are contrary to God’s Word, he should confess that as sin as well. We should never make promises to God lightly, for that is tantamount to taking God lightly. I do not believe that God will hold a person to a foolish promise.

The person who has made a promise to God centered in something that he or she describes as “the only thing I have to live for” needs to confess and forsake the sin of idolatry. As Paul said, “For me to live is Christ.” The primary goal of life is not a particular blessing from God, but the God who gives the blessing. Having made a foolish promise to God will probably not result in losing something dear, for God merciful forgives, but to elevate a blessing above the Lord who gives it could likely be a reason for the Lord to withhold it.


    • I am not sure I understand your question, but it sounds like you are saying, “God if you answer this prayer, I will do something special for you as a way of saying thanks.” Then before God answers, you cancel the promise.that you made. Your promise seems to be contingent upon God answering the prayer. If He doesn’t answer the prayer, then you are not obligated to your promise.

    • A promise is something you verbally commit yourself to doing. For example, “I promise to be your husband until death due us part.” Other examples would be: “I promise that I will look for a job,” or “I promise to pick you up at the airport tomorrow at 3:00 PM.”

    • A promise made to God is very serious. To make a promise flippantly to God is a sign of disrespect to God. I suggest that you confess as a sin that flippant promise you made to God. Read 1 John 1:9. God will forgive you, but promise God that you will never make a flippant promise to Him again.

  1. Thanks Pastor. I guess I was a bit rash, and lost sight of what is really important in my life. I need to re prioritize. God used to be number one in my life, but i guess i forgot about Him.In eternity these material things will be petty. Thanks again, ill be alright.

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