a good day to make promises you can keep.
“And she made a vow saying, ‘O Lord almighty, if You will only look upon Your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget Your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.’” 1 Samuel 1:11 NIV
Hannah was despondent because she and Elkanah had been unable to produce children. Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, would taunt her mercilessly because she had children and Hannah did not.
When she first took her concern to God, she had the right idea: pray. Ask Him for His blessing; ask Him for His help; ask Him for anything at all. But then she took a step that we should never take. She made a promise that was tied to the fulfillment of her request.
When Samuel was three years old and had been weaned from his mother’s milk she did something that must have been very hard for her to do: she brought Samuel to Shiloh and presented him to Eli to fulfill the promise she had made.
God will not respond to our prayers because of a promise we have made, but He may grant our request in spite of the promise. It then becomes incumbent upon us to keep that promise and sometimes our promises prove very difficult to keep. Hannah remembered her promise and kept her part of the bargain. “So now I give him to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:28a NIV).
What about the vow that Peter and the rest of the disciples made to Jesus on the way to Gethsemane? Jesus knew what would happen when He was arrested and He tried to tell them, “But Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You.’ And all the other disciples said the same.” (Matthew 26:35 NIV). We all know that the disciples all scattered in fear when Jesus was given over to His captors by Judas.
A promise, or vow, is an important statement. A promise should never be made without thinking of the price for following through. God doesn’t want us to make promises to Him when we ask something of Him. There is no place in the Bible where it is stated that making a promise is a condition of prayer. When Christ died for us, He made access to God possible for all, so the only thing we need to do is ask.
Most of us would never promise anything close to what Hannah or Peter did, but no matter what our promise is, it should be kept. If we can’t keep our word, we shouldn’t give it to anyone – least of all to God.
We should remember that attaching a promise to a request from God will not determine whether or not that request is fulfilled. If it is God’s will, and the request is made in faith, then it will be granted.
We need to make fewer promises, and make sure we keep them. Promise your children a trip to the ice cream parlor when you get home from work. Keeping your promises to them will please God.
Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson