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. Numbers 30:2 KJV

The message is unmistakably clear; one who makes a vow to God shall not break his word. A vow is a voluntary commitment to do something that pleases God or to abstain from certain practices to demonstrate devotion to Him. An oath is similar but uses God’s name in making a promise to do something. I often hear people say, “If God will do such and such, then I will do such and such.” Or, I hear people say, “I swear to God I will do this!” It always makes me nervous to hear such things because I know, more often than not, the people making them will not keep their promise. Too often we speak before thinking, or speak to deceive, but we forget God hears our promises. Scripture warns us against making such vows (Ecclesiastes 5:4) because God holds us accountable to them. Jesus said it is better not to make a vow at all, than to make one and not keep it. Instead, we should be people of our word and do what we say we will do (Matthew 5:34-37).

Lord, I want to do that which is pleasing to you and to abstain from that which does not please you, but I can do both without making vows I may not be able to keep. Help me to just be consistent in my relationship with you, both in the things I say and the things I do.