“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
I will go into Your house with burnt offerings; I will pay You my vows, 14 Which my lips have uttered And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble. 15 I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals, With the sweet aroma of rams; I will offer bulls with goats. Selah 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul. 17 I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue. 18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. 19 But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me! Psalms 66:13-20 NKJV
David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). He had a deep reverential fear of God and a whole-hearted commitment to his Lord. He put God first and himself second in everything for most of his life. He made some mistakes and some bad decisions, but he also repented immediately when God dealt with him and submitted with humility to the consequences of his actions.
There are always consequences! When you make a decision or a choice, you should be willing and prepared to live with the results of your actions – whether good or bad. Too many people want to eat their cake and still keep it at the same time. People want to make selfish decisions and then they expect God, or their parents, or their teachers, or their boss or their friends, or their spouse, to let them off the hook, bale them out, and save their skin. They want the best of both worlds. They are selfish and they want to have everything go their way – no matter what. This does not work in real life!
People treat God like they treat people – they use Him, lie to Him, take advantage of Him and try to manipulate Him. But you can’t lie to God – He is looking right into your heart – and you will find out that what you dish out will come back to you – on every wave! You cannot escape it. You cannot make a promise to God and then not do it – no matter how pressured you were when you made the promise. Some people wonder why nothing ever works out for them and why God is not blessing them, but they have all these rash promises floating out there that need to be kept. God is waiting for them to do what they said they would do when they were in trouble. If you are afraid of people’s response to you not keeping a promise – what about the Creator’s response?
People call on God – He hears their promise – He rescues them – and now they go merrily on as if a promise was never made. They act like they got themselves out of the predicament they were in and that they did not need God’s help. That is what you are saying when you refuse to acknowledge God with your promised gift. That might seem to work for you for a while, but only until the next lot of trouble you get yourself into. Then who are you going to call? If your car breaks down and you call for a man with a tow truck and then you don’t pay him – you are not going to be able to call on him ever again – at least not until you pay him what you owe him.
Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. 2 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed — 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God. Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 NKJV
Some people treat people better than they treat God – they pay their bills because they are afraid of the trouble they will get into if they don’t – but they have no problem owing it to God forever. They have no fear of God and no respect for His kindness. Some people see kindness as a weakness and even though they ask God for His help, they disrespect Him by forgetting their promise. It may seem like you are getting away with not keeping your promise and not paying your vow, but you will be held accountable and you will have to stand and face Almighty God eventually and give an account for your words, together with every other person who ever lived.
It would be better to not open your mouth and utter a rash promise than to promise what you have no intention or ability to fulfill. Think about what you are saying before you make a promise. Make a decision to do as you have promised at your earliest opportunity and do not quit until it is all done! Start paying your vow even before you are out of trouble! If you will pay your vows promptly, and keep your promises exactly, then God will be able to bless you as He loves to do. God is no man’s debtor – He does not owe you anything. He wants to bless you, but He is only able to bless you as you keep your word and do as you have promised to do.