The Cost of Devotion
“Give the following instructions to the Israelites: If you make a special vow to dedicate someone to the LORD by paying the value of that person, here is the scale of values to be used.“ – Leviticus 27:2-3 NLT
Sometimes in our zeal for God we can end up making vows or commitments to Him. We mean well. We are genuine in our enthusiasm, but then time passes and our zeal fades. When it does, our tendency is to forget our commitment and to move on with our lives as if nothing happened. Chapter 27 of Leviticus covers just such a circumstance. Moses gives the people instructions regarding “special vows.” The word used for this kind of vow seems to indicate that it was unusual or significant – out of the ordinary. The NET Study Bible notes say, “In general, the point of the expression seems to be that this sacrifice is a special gift to God that arose out of special circumstances in the life of the worshiper.” It seems that God knew there would be times in which His people would be compelled to make special vows to Him due to something that had happened to them or out of a genuine response to His actions or activities in their lives. They could dedicate themselves to His service. They could dedicate a child, as Hannah did with Samuel, to the service of God. They could dedicate an animal or their home. But regardless of what they dedicated, it seems that God knew the hearts of men and made a provision for their change of heart. Should a person who had made a special vow to God change their mind, they could redeem themselves or the one dedicated to God – for a price. Whatever they had devoted to God could be bought back, but it would cost them.
Devotion to God is a serious thing. Yet we often take it lightly. We can sometimes make vows or commitments to God flippantly. But God takes them seriously. This chapter seems to be reminding the Israelites and us, that God takes our vows seriously and sees devotion as valuable. So much so that He even puts a price on it. We should not make rash commitments or promises to God. It is not so much that God is going to make us pay if we do not keep them, but that our failure to live up to our commitments is a serious affront to a holy God. This chapter should be a reminder to us that God takes our vows of devotion seriously, and so should we.
Father, there are so many times that I have rashly made vows of devotion to You. I have told You that I was going to do something for You, out of excitement or gratitude for something You had done for me – then I have failed to follow through. I have failed to see the seriousness of how You view those kinds of commitments. Never let me take them lightly. Help me treat them as holy, just as You do. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men