“It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.” – Ecclesiastes 5:5 (ESV)
I remember listening to a broadcast of Back To The Bible a while back, and Dr. Woodrow Kroll was relating a story about a man who was running late for a job interview. As he reached the company’s parking lot, he was having trouble finding a parking space. The man said, “Oh God, please help me find a parking space. If you find me a space, I’ll do anything – I’ll read my Bible more, and start going to church, and praying more. Please, I can’t be late for this interview !” Just then a parking spot appeared in front of him.
“Never mind, God,” said the man. “I just found a space !”
Our church is doing a series through the book of Ecclesiastes and a few weeks ago preached on chapter 5. Here the Teacher (Solomon ?) is warning about making false or meaningless vows. Our pastor talked about this unfortunate concept of using God as a “cosmic vending machine” and how often we can be prone to doing this. Our pastor then reminded us that we should be people of integrity when it comes to our speech, and to follow Jesus’ commands in Matthew 5:33-37 about oaths and letting “our yes be yes and our no be no.”
Matthew Henry in his Concise Commentary explains that, “The worse men are, the less they are bound by oaths; the better they are, the less there is need for them.” Great reminders today to be guarded in our speech and our vows to God.