“Make vows to the LORD your God, and pay them;
Let all who are around Him bring presents to Him who ought to be feared.”
It is funny the things I remember from my youth or childhood. Some events seem as clear to me today as the day they first happened. Other events I have no recollection of whatsoever. I can remember one Saturday morning when I was 13. Myself and a group of the neighborhood boys were at our local beach and the waves were unusually large. We made our way past the breaking waves and into the lineup. Not long afterwards the horizon began to fill with the largest waves my young eyes had ever seen. We paddled as fast as we could in hopes of getting past them, but for myself and a few others, our efforts were in vain. Wave after wave came crashing upon my head until I began to despair of life. Just then I began to pray. Keep in mind I was not a believer, I had never been to church, read a bible or even really considered the idea of eternal matters. Nonetheless, in that moment I began to pray and to pray hard. I can still hear the words of that prayer echoing in my memory, I prayed “God if you hep me I will never cuss again.” Soon enough the waves subsided, I made my way back out and immediately forgot the promises I had just made to a God I did not give a second thought toward.
When the psalmists speaks of making vows he is not referring to the empty promises we often make when we are overcome with fear or worry. We do not sway God by promising things we have little intention of keeping nor do we earn His favor by bribing Him with gifts. While my situation may have drawn my attention to God, if only for a moment, His attention was already fixed upon me. The Bible tells us that God thinks of us continually, writes down our thoughts about Him and even sings songs of joy about us. We do not bring gifts to God to win His favor we bring them because we have it. While our spending habits will reveal our priorities it is not primarily financial gifts that God desires from us. The apostle Paul wrote that we should offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices. That means that we surrender ourselves to live for Christ and do the things that bring Him pleasure.
Take a moment to make a vow to God. Don’t promise things you don’t have or can’t do. Instead determine today that you will walk with Jesus, leaning upon Him for comfort and strength and look for ways to show His love to others.
Questions for Psalm 76
- God is known in Judah for His mighty deeds against the Syrian army. What is God known for in your life today?
- Verse 4-9, God goes to great lengths to deliver the oppressed. Take time to dwell on these verses and remember that God wants to deliver you!