When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. (Ecclesiastes 5:4)
These are strong words from Solomon regarding vows and promises and they are good words to think about as we embark on a new year. It is that time again where all of us make new promises and vows about what we are going to do and accomplish in the New Year and I think it is a good thing to do. The problem is keeping those resolutions and promises, right??
I wanted to carry over the theme of New Year’s resolutions to this post today, seeing as so many of us are making them as we enter 2013. The reality is that there is value making resolutions. It is always good to set goals for ourselves and we see in Scripture that certain Bible characters made resolutions. I would like to examine a few of them in light of New Year’s Day. I would like to look at the resolutions made by Jacob, David, and Daniel. We will look at Jacob today and then David and Daniel later this week.
Jacob made a resolution to give a tithe to the Lord (Gen. 28:22). Jacob made this resolution when he was fleeing from Esau because he had defrauded him. Jacob made this resolution when he had very little to give to the Lord, but he still made the promise. I understand that there is a lot of controversy about tithing and whether or not a New Testament believer should give a “tithe” or a tenth of his income back to the Lord. This is not something that is new within the pages of Scripture. Abraham began the practice (Gen. 14:20) and Jacob merely continued it here. Later we see Malachi commanding it (Mal. 3:10) and the Lord Jesus praised its practice. (Matt. 23:23) Does tithing apply to Christians? Regardless of how one might answer that question, there are some things that are clear in Scripture. It is clear we are to give a portion of our income. (1 Cor. 16:2) A decision to give the Lord a tenth of what you earn may be a great place to start and might be the perfect resolution to make at the beginning of this year.
Giving to the Lord is one of the easiest places to let down and fail in our Christian walks. At the same time, it is also one of the most practical areas to prove and show our faith in the Lord to continually provide for our needs. The challenge from God through Malachi was for the people to prove the Lord to see if he would not provide for them (Malachi 3:10). In Jacob’s case, the Lord rewarded Jacob for this decision (Gen. 32:10).
As you think about resolutions for this New Year consider your giving. Are you tithing a portion of your income to the Lord? Perhaps the Lord would have you give more than just a tenth of your income. Perhaps it is twelve or fifteen percent of your income that the Lord has laid on your heart. Maybe you need to give the Lord more of your time or use your talents and abilities for His service this year. These things are just as much a part of faithful stewardship as giving of your income to the Lord. The Lord will bless those who put Him first and I hope that the Lord and His service is at the top of your priority list when it comes to resolutions in 2013.
Tomorrow we will look at David’s resolution about God’s Word.