And she made a vow, saying, Lord Almighty, if you will only look 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. “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life, he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 1:11, 27-28 NIV)
When we pray and make vows to God, do we honor them? Or do we simply use God–to get what we want and then ignore Him and what we’ve said?
Hannah not only received the response she wanted from God when she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, she also had other children (three sons and two daughters) because she kept her word to God. All of this after her husband’s other wife–tormented her about being barren.
Everything we go through, happens for a reason. Even periods of barrenness–dry spells--when nothing we do seems to work the way we want it to work. That’s okay–because in God’s timetable–everything works for our good. Sometimes, God just wants to see what we’ll do before He responds to our prayers.
I think I know how Hannah felt–it was bad enough (from a 21st century perspective) to share a husband, but to be tormented by the other wife because she had not conceived–yeah, I can see why Hannah would be bitter. There are times in our lives when we feel like God has forgotten us, but we must stand firm on the faith we have in Him–knowing that He never leaves us and will not abandon us–but His plans will be accomplished.
In order for God to trust us to do what we say we’ll do, He allows us to go through things–not because He doesn’t know what we’ll do, but He wants us to know what we’ll do in certain circumstances. As He has said in His Word, “It’s better not to make a vow (a commitment) than to make one and not keep it (honor it).” (Ecclesiastes 5:5)
How many vows have we made or commitments to do something and did not do it? When things fall apart–who do we see as the culprit–for us not receiving what we wanted or receiving the derision of others? Until we are able to see us clearly–our motives and agendas for doing things–we are doomed to be disappointed. For if we cannot be honest with ourselves, can we be trusted to be honest with others or in our dealings with others?
Let’s think before we make vows or commit to do things we know we are not going to honor. God looks upon the heart of a man/woman, but the rest of us–can only judge a matter by what we see–based upon what we do. And when judgment is made because of our inability to honor a commitment, we have no one to blame but ourselves.