It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows. Proverbs 20:25
prudent: (ˈpruːdənt) adj 1. discreet or cautious in managing one’s activities; circumspect
Years ago, when I was heavily involved in our elementary school PTA, there was one woman who put her hand up for just about every activity for which we needed volunteers. The first to offer to be a chair for an event, she was well-known at the school. There was just one problem. She rarely followed through with what she promised. Without fail, those events she promised to shepherd fell into chaos. It’s difficult, when someone steps forward to volunteer, to tell them, “no thanks.” And so, year after year other volunteers assisted with the clean up behind her wake.
Today’s wise words remind us that making promises we can’t keep leads us into traps. In the case of the rash volunteer that trap was a destroyed reputation. For others, it may look like a broken marriage which effects finances, children, livelihoods and more. A failed promise to pay back a debt that leads to more indebtedness.
Judges 11:31-39 tells of Jephthah who is desperate for victory against the Ammonites. He promises God that should He give him victory he will sacrifice whomever first walks through the door upon his return from the battlefield. And, of course, his favorite young daughter dances out the door, being the first to greet him after his victory. He is devastated realizing too late his vow.
Friend, we make little and large promises all the time. A promise to make dinner. Promises to show up on time. A commitment to the bank to repay your loan. Those promises we make to ourselves to lose weight, get fit, read our Bible and more. God wants us to slow down and be more cautious with our word. There’s only one person who walked this earth who has and will keep every promise He has ever made – Jesus. We will fail to keep a promise or two. But we can minimize the destructive results of broken promises by limiting them and being careful with them in the first place.
Heavenly Father, thank you for being a promise keeper. You show me that making promises is something to be taken seriously. Help me to step back when facing a situation where a promise may be needed and take the time to evaluate my ability to keep that promise. Amen