We can so often let our appetites or our emotions control us in bad ways. There are reasonable appetites given to us by God, we need to feel angry about injustice and we need to desire to eat food in a regular or healthy way. However, I have noticed that strong emotions can catapult people into impulsive behavior. The worst environment for this to happen is in our relationship with God. It is amazing how many people bargain with God in a dangerous situation, but what do we do with our end of the bargain when danger has passed? It is even more ridiculous when we expect God to answer our self-focused demands. He might, but he doesn’t have to.
In short, there needs to be wisdom during times of stress and during times of excitement. A good friend who is often with us can be given permission to counsel us when our emotions are running away with us. We can ask ourselves a question like, “Would I do this if my feelings were different?” there are ways to stop ourselves from rushing in and making rash promises or threats that we can not or should not follow through upon.
1 [a]Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.
2 Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
and you are on earth,
so let your words be few.
3 A dream comes when there are many cares,
and many words mark the speech of a fool.
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? 7 Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.
- Why should you let your words to God be few?
- When Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, how does he reinforce the idea of being brief in our prayers with God?
- What kind of vows might an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner both make before God?
- When have you tried to bargain with God, “If you do this, then I will …”
- How should we manage times of crisis so that we do not make rash vows or meaningless promises to God or others?