How Serious is a vow?
1 Samuel 1:9-20
So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord . And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord , and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord , that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my Lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord . Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord , and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord .
1 Samuel 1:21-23, 27-28 KJV
And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord , and there abide for ever. And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the Lord establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord ; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.
Victory in our lives doesn’t just happen. Victory doesn’t come from just coming to church, or paying tithes, or serving in the ministry. Victory comes from commitment. Sacrifice and commitment are two different things.
When we dedicate our children to the Lord as Raven and Dennis are going to do this morning, we are making a vow to raise that child up in the ways of the Lord, just like Hannah did. She committed herself to raising that child and then completely gave him to God.
When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Ecclesiastes 5:3-7 KJV
For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.
If you make a commitment unto God, you need to keep it if you expect to have the blessings of God in your life. God wants commitment at every step. When you ask Him to forgive your sins, He expects a commitment to live a life dedicated to Him. He expects you to commit to let Him control your life. He expects you to commit to obeying Him. You are committing to having a relationship with God and relationships are all about communication so you are committing to talking to God everyday.
Many people are in church and serving God today because their parents and grandparents made a commitment, made a vow to raise their children and grandchildren in the way of the Lord and they HELD TO THAT VOW. It’s never too late to start living a life that is committed to Jesus Christ.
As we take time to dedicate this child to God, you can also take this opportunity to dedicate your life to God. You can make a vow today to serve God and enter into a relationship with Him. He forgets your past, He forgives your sins and enters into a blood contract with you. He paid the price with His blood and you just need to seal your end of the contract with your commitment, with your life. Wherever you may be, you can make that vow to God, but if you make it God expects you to keep it even when it’s not easy, convenient, or popular. When the times get hard, you still must serve God.
Even when my son Brian was living such a wonderful life for the devil, running from God as fast as he could, I never gave up on him because I didn’t give up on God and the commitment, the contract that I made with God when I dedicated him to God as a child. I committed to showing him the ways of God. When he came to me and wanted to move back in with us, after a period of severe rebellion, I told him that if he wanted to live with us, he had to live the way I had raised him to. He would have to follow my rules and not bring things into my home that were ungodly. He agreed and now he is living for God, working in the ministry and raising his 3 children in the ways of God.
There have been hundreds, maybe thousands of books written about how to raise a child but the books won’t raise this child, the parents will. It’s up to you to raise him. up to serve God. It’s your job to show him the ways of God. Be sure to take this vow seriously because if you don’t God counts it as sin.