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Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

Broken Vows: The Sacrifice of Fools



1.  Why are vows taken so lightly and broken so easily?

  a.  We promise (vow) more diligence, more holiness, more Bible study, to be faithful to our spouse, to control our temper, to be hospitable, to grow spiritually, to be a worker, etc.

  b.  Good intentions often fade, and vows are forgotten.

2.  God commanded Israelites to keep their vows, Deut. 23:21.

3.  God expects Christians to keep our vows, too.



  A.  A Vow is a Solemn Promise.

    1.  Vow: A positive promise made to another, by which one is bound to an act, service, or condition.

      a.  To God, 1 Sam. 1:10-11 (Hannah: Give son to the Lordís service).

      b.  To others, 1 Kgs. 1:29-30 (David to Bathsheba: Solomon king).

    2.  To dedicate or devote, Num. 6:2 (Prov. 20:25).

    3.  Binding of oneself, therefore, a test of integrity, Num. 30:1-2.

  B.  Should We be Making Vows?

    1.  A vow is a voluntary promise, not mandatory, cf. Deut. 23:22-23.

    2.  A vow is not the same as forbidden swearing:

      a.  Paul took a vow, Acts 18:18; Others, Acts 21:23-24, 26.

      b.  God Himself took an oath, Lk. 1:73 (promise and an oath, Heb. 6:17-18).

      c.  Swear: Excessive declarations, Matt. 5:33; Jas. 5:12.

          -Calling God as our witness is not sin, 2 Cor. 1:23; Phil. 1:8.

  C.  Do Not Make Rash Vows, Eccl. 5:2; Prov. 20:25.

    1.  Deliberate and careful, cf. Jephthah, Judg. 11:30-31, 34-36.

    2.  Keep the vows you make, Eccl. 5:4-6.

    3.  Fundamental issues: Accountability to God and integrity before men.


II.  PAY YOUR VOWS TO GOD, Psa. 50:14.

  A.  A Vow to God Obligates (Binds) You to God, Psa. 56:12-13.

    1.  Binding; Given your word to the Lord (Judg. 11:36).

    2.  God hears our vows, Psa. 61:5; cf. Jacob, Gen. 28:18-22; 31:13.

    3.  Keeping your vow is a mark of fearing God, Psa. 22:25.

  B.  Some Vows (Solemn Promises) We Make to God, and Why they are Broken.

    1.  To be a faithful Christian (vowed to follow Jesus, to live by faith), cf. Phil. 3:7; Gal. 2:20.

        -Why do Christians break this vow? Mk. 4:16-19 (persecution, worldly cares, deceitfulness of money, other desires)

    2.  To be a true worshiper of God, Jno. 4:23-24.

      a.  To faithfully attend worship services, Heb. 10:25.

          -Why do Christians break this vow? Lk. 17:17-19 (lack of thankfulness and faith) Every excuse under the sun seems sufficient to break our vow to put Jesus first in our lives!

      b.  To give to God as we have prospered by God (Jacob, Gen. 28:18-22).

          -Why do Christians break this vow? 2 Cor. 8:5 (havenít first given ourselves to the Lord)

    3.  To be a faithful worker for the Lord, Eph. 4:15-16.

        -Why do Christians break this vow? Misplaced priorities, Matt. 6: 33-34; Lk. 10:41-42.

    4.  To be a faithful husband or wife, Mal. 2:14; Matt. 19:6.

        -Why do Christians break their marriage vows? Selfishness, refusal to accept God-given places in the home (head, helper), Eph. 5:22-25.



1.  A broken vow is the sacrifice of fools, Eccl. 5:1, 4.

2.  God will receive those who repent of their broken vows, cf. David, Psa. 51:17 (1-3).

3.  Remember the Lord, and with thanksgiving, pay what you have vowed (ďI will pay what I have vowed,Ē Jonah 2:8-9).



By: Joe R. Price

Posted: April 17, 2018