Today: [Ecclesiastes 5] Is it Acceptable to Make a Vow to God? In Ecc. 5 Solomon talks about the subject of vows. We see in this chapter that angels are intimately involved with the words that come out of our mouth and specifically regarding vows that we may take from time to time. If vows are taken and neglected the angels assigned to our life are provoked and actually motivated to bring detriment to our lives. Jesus taught upon this subject as well and it would be foolish on our part not to be aware of the dealings of God in our lives where vows are concerned.
[Ecc 5:1-20 KJV] 1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. 2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter [any] thing before God: for God [is] in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. 3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice [is known] by multitude of words. 4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for [he hath] no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 5 Better [is it] that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. 6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it [was] an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
In this chapter Solomon speaks of the folly of rash words and hasty vows. This subject is very present as well in the teachings of Jesus as well. What we seldom hear taught on and is reflected in this passage above, is the connection that angels have with the words that come out of our mouths. Solomon applied this issue to activities that took place in the newly built temple. For us the more sobering truth is that we are that very temple and our words are audited every hour of every day by angels assigned to us that are always beholding the Father’s face. When Jesus spoke of this he gave the following cautions:
[Mat 5:33-37 KJV] 33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
In the first century when there were varying levels of certitude by which you could gauge the veracity of a person’s words and vows. For instance if a person swore by the earth then that oath carried a certain weight. If the oath was by the heaven’s then there was a greater weight assigned to the trustworthiness of the vow. If the oath was by Jerusalem, again there was another level of dread attached to those words. If the oath was by the temple, the altar or the gold on the altar then it was understood that that there was greater likelihood of expectation connected with those words. Jesus is saying all such thinking comes of evil and that we should let our yea be yea and our nay be nay.
We can see then that angels very closely monitor the words that we speak. Furthermore we see that angels are allowed to act in our lives even contrary to our wishes based upon the character of our words. This is a very sobering truth. We see this same connection of angels to our words in Daniel 10:12 when the angel told Daniel “I am come for your words…” Whether you realize it or not – angels are auditing your words and acting in your life either to your detriment or benefit depending on the character of your words. There is no indication that Daniel summoned an angel or was even aware of angel activity in his situation – however angels were there and acting in concert with Daniel’s prayers and Daniel’s words. We likewise see the sobering nature of oaths and vows. In reality it is much better that vows be avoided. Again, Jesus said the thinking behind a vow “cometh of evil…” We tend to see a vow as a sacred thing, or a spiritual concept but in fact more often reflective of a contaminated thinking than otherwise. Be very conservative in regard to the issue of taking vows.
7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words [there are] also [divers] vanities: but fear thou God. 8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for [he that is] higher than the highest regardeth; and [there be] higher than they. 9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king [himself] is served by the field. 10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this [is] also vanity. 11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good [is there] to the owners thereof, saving the beholding [of them] with their eyes? 12 The sleep of a labouring man [is] sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
In this chapter we also see important truths about the place of dreams in our lives. I cannot find any passage in the scripture that tells us that Satan enters our dreams or can give us dreams. Many people feel Satan attacks them in our dreams but remember that dreams are a form of communication. Satan operates in the dark and wants to keep us ignorant of his devices. Why then would he inform us of his assault against us by giving us a dream – if in fact he has the power to enter our dream state. What are we to conclude then if we have many dreams one right after another? It is an indication that there is a level of vanity in our life that needs to be exposed and addressed. Job 33:14-17 says that dreams come to keep us from pride. Vanity is the fruit of pride, therefore much pride produces much vanity and much vanity is exposed or indicated when we have many confusing dreams. The statement Solomon makes is not that many dreams are vain but that many dreams are an indication of vanity in one’s life arising from pride.
13 There is a sore evil [which] I have seen under the sun, [namely], riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. 14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and [there is] nothing in his hand. 15 As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. 16 And this also [is] a sore evil, [that] in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind? 17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and [he hath] much sorrow and wrath with his sickness. 18 Behold [that] which I have seen: [it is] good and comely [for one] to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it [is] his portion. 19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this [is] the gift of God. 20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth [him] in the joy of his heart.
Verse 13 warns us about miserly habits. Common sense would suggest to us that holding back finance is the way to increase our store but Solomon contradicts that thinking. Many people live their whole life without understanding in this one area and have nothing to show for themselves or their labors. Money moves by the Spirit and when we give God gets involved with our finances in ways that He withholds His Spirit when we are tightfisted or parsimonious. Learn to listen to God and be willing and generous with your resources. Give readily. Give willingly. Give without expectation or offense toward those that you give to. Give adventurously. Let the financial exploits on the books in your life be about what you do for others or in advancing the gospel than in what you amass for yourself or for selfish gain. This is the path to true riches and the promise of God in verse 19 that you will not only have this world’s goods but will have the ability and opportunity to enjoy the use of them as well.
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