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Deal or No Deal
by Judy Webb
Vow: a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment; to dedicate or devote by a vow.
Our reading today in Leviticus can be confusing, or one could simply dismiss it as not applicable to us today. The lesson is about redeeming a promise or pledge to God. Have you ever found yourself in a desperate situation and attempted to barter, or bargain with God? How many of us have cried out to God words like: "Lord, if you will get me out of this situation, if you will only make the cancer go away, if you will provide the money I need, I will …" Fill in the blank. Likely we didn't really mean to strike up a deal with God, but we didn't know how else to fix the situation.
Making a vow to God was common practice years ago. Faithful believers of God often showed their love and devotion by offering up their belongings or dedicating a person to the Lord. In 1st Samuel we read about Hannah, Samuel's mother. She had been unable to conceive because "the Lord had closed her womb." (1 Samuel 1:5) When she finally conceived and gave birth to Samuel she told her husband, "After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always." (v.22)
There are other vows that were made with evil intent or a self-serving motive. In the book of Judges 11:30-31 we witness such a vow. "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph...will be the Lord's, and I will sacrifice as a burnt offering." Unfortunately for Jephthah, it was his only daughter who appeared at the door.
Praying to God his mercy and his help is different from making a vow. Especially when our vows are more of a bargain. We think we are striking a deal with God. When we have faith in God and believe that he wants only the best for us, we only need to pray and trust that his will be done.
Dear Lord, give me the faith to pray and trust that you hear my plea. Your will is more important than my desire. Help me to realize that you only want what is best for me and those I love. Give me a heart to grasp that you see the big picture, and I don't. I will trust and obey you. Amen.