Can I Break A Vow Made To God? LIVE Q&A for March 14, 2024

Can I Break A Vow Made To God? LIVE Q&A for March 14, 2024

Can I Break a Vow Made to God?

From Josh via email:

Years ago I made a rash vow to God that I would not get married and that I should be cursed if I do. I was angry and sad about my lustfulness and did it to punish myself. I deeply regret it but I’m not sure if I can be forgiven of it. I want to get married. I see in the Bible the importance of keeping vows and in Leviticus 27 that things devoted to God with curses on them are irredeemable. I’m in agony over it because I don’t know if I can marry or not. Will Christ forgive this or do I need to keep it?

Acts 5:1-2: What Ananias and Sapphira Did

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

  1. Ananias and Sapphira broke a vow they made before the Lord.

The ancient Greek word for kept back is nosphizomai, which means “to misappropriate.” The same word was used of Achan’s theft in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (Joshua 7:21), and in its only other New Testament use, it means to steal (Titus 2:10).

  1. Their vow was both private and public.
  2. Their vow was a voluntary act of consecration.

Acts 5:3-11: Peter confronts Ananias and Sapphira

  1. God knew all about their broken vow – and He knows about our broken vows.

Think of these common examples of broken vows:

  • More time in prayer.
  • More intercession for others.
  • More devotional reading.
  • More intense Bible study.
  • More personal witness.
  • More faithful tithing.
  • Better example to others.
  • More patience with the children.
  • A vow to personal purity in sexual matters.
  1. They seemed unaware of how serious their sin was.

They seemed totally unaware that they had lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3).

They seemed totally unaware that they had tested (provoked, challenged) the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:9).

Their sin was serious – and dealt with seriously – because it could poison the whole church at a critical time.

  1. Their broken vow was the result of a work of Satan.

Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart (Acts 5:3)

The reason why Satan worked through Ananias and Saphira was because he wanted to attack and derail the whole church into the corruptions of pride, vanity, phony-egotistical-image consciousness, and he tried to use broken vows to do it.

  1. Ananias and Saphira broke fellowship with their fellow believers when they broke fellowship with God.

Had Peter and the rest of the church lied to the Holy Spirit? Had Peter and the rest of the church provoked and challenged the Holy Spirit?

When we think of fellowship purely in social terms, we don’t think this way. We often confuse social fellowship with spiritual fellowship. Perhaps it is because we see so little real spiritual fellowship.

  1. Ananias and Sapphira paid a price for the broken vow.

Look at this from Ecclesiastes 5:4-6:

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. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?

When you go to the bank to take out a loan, they always want to see your credit record. They look at a lot of things, but the first think they look at is how pay the loans you already have. Many of us are like delinquent debtors who keep coming to God for an extension of credit!

“Until broken vows are mended, it is difficult to make any progress along the way of consecration. Before seeking a blessing from God, one should carefully consider in honest retrospect one’s previous dealings with Deity. It is not enough that no affront was intended. It is not enough that no deceit was planned in advance.” (J. Edwin Orr)

More on Broken Vows: Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, 4-6

  1. It is better to not make vows at all than to make foolish vows.
  2. This does not mean that vows are bad – they can be good. It means we must take them seriously.
  3. If you have broken vows, either repent and keep them or repent of your foolishness in ever making the vow and seek His release from the vow.

Look at how we respond to traffic or parking tickets and how we respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Many of us have more respect for the Department of Motor Vehicles than we do for the Holy Spirit of God.

What to do to Restore Broken Vows

We see something of the heart of this in what was required for the breaking of a Nazirite vow in Numbers 6:9-12:

And if anyone dies very suddenly beside him, and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it. Then on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting; and the priest shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned in regard to the corpse; and he shall sanctify his head that same day. He shall consecrate to the LORD the days of his separation, and bring a male lamb in its first year as a trespass offering; but the former days shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.

  1. Humble yourself (shown in the shaving of the head).
  2. Humble yourself publicly (shown in the shaving of the head).
  3. Look to your atoning sacrifice.
  4. Start all over again.

What if I think I have broken vows, but I can’t remember any of them?

  • Humble yourself, confess, and repent in general terms.
  • Ask God to show you if there are specific vows that need to be addressed, and keep your ears open.

Conclusion: Expect God to do great things in your life when you set this area right!