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"Thy Word Have I Hid In Mine Heart..." Psalm 119 : 11

Vowing and Paying

I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.
JUDGES 11:35
14th July
Thomas Fuller
One vow made and kept after the tempest, is worth a thousand promised in the same.
These are words of great sorrow. Jephthah rent his clothes as he uttered them. The story of Jephthah and his daughter is one of the saddest in Scripture. What a tragic vow this man made when he promised to sacrifice the first thing that came out of his home to meet him upon his victorious return from the battle with Ammon. It was certainly foolish. The Bible says, "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God" (Eccl. 5:2). This vow was utterly rash. A little reflection would surely have suggested that Jephthah's beloved daughter would be the first to welcome him home. So it was. Thus the hour of triumph was turned into desolation. Joy gave place to anguish. Let us not be "hasty to utter any thing before God."

These are words of great strength. They describe the unwavering fidelity of Jephthah to his vow. In spite of the strongest and deepest feelings of natural affection, he gave up to the Lord what must have been the dearest object of his heart. The Word of God says, "Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay" (Eccl. 5:5). Jephthah paid his vow.

What of us? What of those promises whispered in the ear of God in some dark hour of need? "Raise me up, Lord, and I will walk more closely with Thee." "Prosper me, Lord, and I will devote so much to Thy work." How quickly our well-meant resolutions lose their power! How easily we can forget! Weigh well the counsel of Spurgeon, "If a man must trifle, let him trifle with men, but not with God. If promises to men may be lightly broken-and they should not be-yet let us not trifle with promises made to God. And if solemn declarations ever can be forgotten-which they should not be-yet not solemn declarations made to God."