(#148) The Proverbs of Solomon 20:25-Don’t Break Out In A Rash!

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 20:25: “It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, And afterward to reconsider his vows.”

The mouth can promise things that the mind later regrets. Sexual passion is a powerful accelerator for senseless promises. “For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.’ And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother” (Matthew 14:3-11). Even Herod, however, felt compelled to keep his oath. Many people in the hormonal heat of a moment promise marriage and fidelity, only to forget after they “cool down,” but God doesn’t forget!

Jephthah rashly vowed that if God would give him victory over the Ammonites, he would devote “whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me” to the LORD. His daughter, his only child, was that person, and “he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man” (Judges 11:29-40). Many people “bargain with God” in time of stress, only to forget their vow, but God doesn’t forget it!

King Saul had forbidden his army to eat during the fighting against the Philistines, under the penalty of death. His son, Jonathan ate some honey, and that death penalty was suddenly forgotten by Saul (1 Samuel 14:24-31). Saul forgot his other obligations to God, too.

Solomon later will state that rash vows before God that are not kept make one a fool, and God has “no pleasure in fools.” The time to avoid this sin is by thinking through the responsibility involved, before such vows are made. “Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed- Better not to vow than to vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:2-7).

Repenting, and being “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) is a commitment. Don’t break out in a rash, but obey this Gospel “from the heart” (Romans 6:17).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

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