VOWS AND PRAYERS
"I will pay Thee my vows" Psa. 66:13
This is another song of praise, in two movements. The first is national (vs. 1-12), and celebrates a Divine deliverance from trouble, while recognizing that the trouble itself was a part of the Divine method, a chastisement through which the nation was brought into a wealthy place. The second is personal (vs. 13-20), and perhaps in it the king, who in the earlier part had spoken of and for his people, spoke of and for himself. The singer had been heard; God had attended to the voice of the prayers he had uttered in the day of his distress. In that day of distress he had made vows to the Lord, and now in the day of prosperity he remembers them and comes into the House of his God with burnt-offerings to fulfill his vows. There is an important principle in these words. The soul of man in hours of distress constantly makes promises to God as to what it will do if He will deliver out of that distress. Such vows are entirely voluntary, and they are not necessary. They do not affect the action of God in the least. PRAYER DOES THAT, BUT NOT VOWS. But when the voluntary vow is made, it becomes an obligation from which the one making it must not attempt to escape. This was explicitly enacted in the Law. The provision will be found in Lev. 27. There it is clearly laid down that vows in respect of persons, beasts, houses, fields, are entirely optional; but when made, are COMPULSORY. The life of fellowship with God into which we are admitted through Christ, makes vows more than always unnecessary. They; however, are not forbidden. Only let us never forget that when made, they must be fulfilled. The reason is not in God, but in us. To fail to keep faith with God is to suffer deterioration of character.