When a man dedicates his house to be holy to the Lord, then the priest shall set a value for it, whether it is good or bad; as the priest values it, so it shall stand. (Leviticus 27:14)
Apparently it was common for people to dedicate property, whether homes, animals or otherwise, to the Sanctuary. These vows were not imposed upon people, they were voluntary. However once vowed the property was considered sacred and set apart. In other words, those things could not be used for common purposes and it was expected of the person to fulfill their vow. In fact, it would be better not to make a vow than to renege on that oath. Failure to keep it was going against their word as well as violating something that had been deemed holy.
Not only does this underscore the sanctity of things that God determines to be “holy,” but also reveals a person’s heart. If the vow is made and honored, it reveals the heart of someone who wants to honor God. Someone who makes a vow quickly and then rethinks the vow is inclined toward making rash decisions and an evil inclination. Consider the account involving Ananias and Sapphira, who sold property with the intent to give thr proceeds to the work of God and then kept back a part after making a vow (Act 5:1-11). In effect, they lied to God and dishonored what was considered holy — the result was death.
On the other hand, the Bible tells us of Hannah, an honorable woman who vowed to dedicate her yet unborn son into God’s service. God hearkened to her prayer, gave her a son that she named Samuel — “God heard.” Because she was faithful to keep the vow, she was blessed with more children and, perhaps even more important, the people of God were blessed and greatly benefited from her faithfulness through her son, the prophet.
The point, then, we should think before making a vow to God because He does hear. And when He hears us make that vow He expects us to keep it. A vow is much more than a promise — it is something holy — and it should be honored because it is holy. Furthermore, whether we do or not reveals the true intention of our heart to God, and sometimes to men. So then, whether with God or man, don’t make promises that you can’t possibly keep or when it’s not in your heart to do what you say. Instead, think it through, pray about it and then, if it’s truly in your heart to do so, make your vow. Once made, dedicate yourself to fulfilling it — you’ll be glad you did.
Blessings and Shalom,