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For Tomorrow, Make a Vow Today! Living in Abundance (Jn. 10:10b) Dec. 2014

As the year gradually but steadily comes to an end and New year is just by the corner, it is yet a time for many people to take a reflection of what had happened in their lives in the out-going year. It is a time to really take stock and evaluate, analyze and find out how far we had gone; the things we had achieved and hopes and expectations that perhaps that didn’t come to materialization. After such analysis some people are in the habit of making what they regard as New Year Resolutions.

After a thorough soul-searching, such persons come to a conclusion that perhaps they would have done much better if not for the fact that they engaged in activities/took actions that they should have avoided or rather that they avoided activities/actions that they should have been involved in. Such individuals tend to believe that if they had abstained from some activities and behaviors; if they had stopped drinking alcohol, for instance, their lives in the passing year would have been much better. Some may even conclude that if they had not associated themselves with certain individuals, all would have been well for them in the out-going year. With such understanding many decide on certain Resolutions that they would make in the New Year. They would decide that, you know what? As the New Year comes they would quit such and such habits in other to position themselves well towards the realization of better outcomes in the New Year. However, it is really an irony that before the end of a quarter of every New Year, many of those who had made the so-called “New Year Resolutions” would have broken nearly all the resolutions they made. The major reason being that such Resolutions are often times agreements/promises people, circumstantially, make to and with themselves/others and not to God.

That brings us to the concept of a Vow. The difference therefore between an individual’s Resolution, particularly a New Year Resolution and a Vow is that in a New Year Resolution the individual makes a promise to himself or herself that he or she would do something or would desist from doing something in the New year. However, a Vow is a promise a person makes, not to himself or herself but to the almighty God, to do something or to desist from doing something within a specific period of time. Often time’s Vows are contracts between individuals and the creator of heaven and earth. Conditional vows are promises that we make to the Almighty God assuring Him that if He does His own part of a deal, we will, surely, then do our own part. I have observed that God is always faithful to do His own part. The problem is that when it is the turn of Man to fulfil His own part of the bargain, somehow we come up with excuses on why we may not be able to redeem our Vows.

Searching the scriptures I have come to conclude that there is something special about Vows, that whenever any person is desirous of a certain breakthrough that is perhaps unprecedented; one that perhaps has taken a very long time; a level of deliverance that would confound even the worst of enemies; the kind of abundance and prosperity that would make history, the individual may have to make a Vow to the almighty God. I have realized that making a Vow is one of the routes that believers can use to commit God, tie His hands and make it almost impossible for God to say no to a request. A Vow is an offer, it is a definite Consideration in a contract with the God of heaven that makes it impossible for God to say no to a request; particularly when we make Vows commensurate to the dimension and magnitude of the blessings we are seeking from Jehovah Jireh.

In the Book of Judges 11: 30-40 we read about the case of Jephthah. He was a mighty man of valor and yet the son of harlot. As a consequence he was despised in his community. He had to run away from his brethren. However, a time came when the same Town was faced with war. They went and begged Jephthah to come back and lead them in battle. Jephthah accepted the invitation on the condition that Israel would make him their Head. Knowing that His continued stay as the Head was dependent on the outcome of the war, Jephthah had to make a vow to God. He told God to make him victorious in the battle and he (Jephthah) would in turn give whatever that would be the first to greet him on his return from battle, to God as a sacrifice. He was victorious in the battle. But somehow it was his only child that ran to meet him on his return from the battle front. As a man of honor and his word, Jephthah had to sacrifice his daughter to God. Hannah also made a Vow to God (1Sam. 1:11). She was barren for many years. She realized that the Vow to God would make a way and lead to a lasting solution. She vowed to God that if God gave her a son, she would surrender the child to God, to serve in God’s household. When Samuel was born, Hannah had to ensure that the Vow was redeemed (1Sam. 1:24).

Jacob made a vow. He had just cheated his brother (Esau) by fraudulently collecting his blessings from their father, Isaac. When Esau realized what Jacob had done, he decided in his heart to kill Jacob. This was made known to Jacob and he began to run away from home; from his brother (Gen.27:41). As he ran, he had a dream in Bethel where God made promises to him. Because he knew that it was only the almighty God that had the capacity to protect him and provide for his needs according to his riches, Jacob vowed, conditionally to God. He said “ If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house and of all that thou shalt give to me I will surely give the tenth unto thee” (Gen. 8:20-22). God is fateful as he kept to his own part of the contract. God directed the steps of Jacob even unto the House of Laban and made him very prosperous there to a point where the same man had many maidservants, menservants, camels and asses (Gen. 30:43). God was moved to action by Jacob’s Vow.

Jonah was running from God. The almighty God asked him to go to Nineveh and prophesy. Instead the man decided to go to Tarshish and hide from God. He entered the boats of some innocent people who knew nothing about Jonah and his disobedience. However, the fact that Jonah was in their boat was all that was necessary for problems that they knew nothing about to become their portion. The waves were so tempestuous that the boat would have capsized and killed everybody. The people were wise enough to offer sacrifices to God and made vows to the almighty God who had saved them from death that they didn’t cause; death by wrong coincidental association (Jonah 1:15-16). Jonah had to be swallowed by a fish. He remained in the belly of the fish until he realized that it was only God that had the power to save and promised to sacrifice to God (for the rest of his life) with thanksgiving and that he would redeem all his vows. Immediately after, therefore, God commanded the fish to vomit him on the banks of Nineveh (Jonah 2:9-10).

Friend, I don’t know which of those scenarios may concern you or someone you know, or best describes the case you may be going through now, or the experience that someone you know may be passing through now? The solution to that problem might be that you have to make a vow to God concerning what you would do when God gives you victory. For instance, if your are like Jephthah; about to engage in a battle or presently engaged in a battle that the outcome would decide your future and seems pretty dire and difficult, you may have to make a Vow, the magnitude of which is great enough to move God to action. Your case may be like that of Hannah, desperately in need of something that only the almighty God can give at this time concerning the future of your family, you may need to Vow to God in a similar manner that Hannah vowed concerning Samuel.

You may be on the run now, because your brothers or sisters plan to do you harm or indeed have concluded plans to do you and your family harm, because of a particular blessing that you inherited from your father. They have vowed that they would do you harm next time they see you and because of their threats you have decided to stay away from home and your runaway status is affecting your finances, well-being and health. It may be necessary for you to make the kind of Vow that Jacob made as he ran for his life. Another person’s case might be like that of the Ship owners that, due to no fault of theirs found themselves suffering because of the sin of Jonah. By association, you are going through problems and discomfort at the present moment due to the sins of others; friends, colleagues, relations; some of which you genuinely decided to help. Now what you didn’t cause has brought untold hardship to you. It may just be your turn to vow. Yet some other persons might be going through “the belly-of-the-fish” experience now; limitations, restrictions; loss of vision and focus; loss of freedom and direction; unbearable heat, discomfort and frustration from all angles perhaps as a consequence of disobedience from the commandments of God. Like Jonah, they may have to make vows to the almighty God, today so that their tomorrow will be alright.

When we vow, we cause God to act. You may ask me at this point; “pastor what should I vow about”? My advice is that you should still go to God and He will give you wisdom on how to make your vow(s). Taking a cue from people of old as seen above, Vows may include, but not limited to the following; a promise to serve and win souls to God for the rest of one’s life, giving back to God by using whatever He had blessed us with, to serve God and expand His Kingdom in return, paying our tithes correctly when God had blessed us, building an altar/pillar or house for God, obeying God in all our ways with respect to all His commandments, using our resources to take care of widows, the poor and the needy in our society and also to support the work of God etc.

Friend, I advise therefore, as we go into the New Year; 2015, that you make a definite prayer request from God. Ask Him of something big in the class and dimension of what people of old as contained in the scriptures (for instance Jacob or Hannah) asked. Then attach a commensurate Vow to the prayer request(s). God will not fail on His part. He will do what He has agreed and promised to do. My counsel to you is that when God had done what you had asked in your prayers; make sure you redeem your vows, no matter what. I encourage you to ensure the success of tomorrow by making a Vow to the God of heaven today. I just have a feeling that a pleasant divine surprise is awaiting all those who would do that, concerning 2015 and beyond.

If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, please do so today for tomorrow may be too late.

On behalf of my family and the entire members of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Throne of Grace Parish, Hagerstown MD, USA, I wish you and your family Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

God bless you.

Pastor Fidelis Nwachukwu

RCCG Throne of Grace Parish

317 Woodpoint Avenue

Hagerstown MD 21740, USA

Email: rccgthroneofgraceparish@ymail.com

Website: http://www.rccgthroneofgraceusa.org



Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 08:53am