A wise man is one who when he makes a vow to the Lord keeps it. That is what is spoken of in today's proverb of the day. When the man in this proverb makes the statement, "It is holy!" he is stating that what he mentions is separated unto God. This was what the Bible refers to as making a vow to God. This may be a vow to give something to the Lord or it may be to dedicate a certain amount of time or even some relationship to God. Of course included in this situation is the vow of marriage as well.
Once a vow is made before God - it stands. We read of this warning in the book of Ecclesiastes, "When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God." (Ecclesiastes 5:4-7) Once the vow is made before God - all that is left to the one making it is to fulfill it.
Too often people make vows rashly. They make them in the midst of an emotional moment - with no thought to what it will take to fulfill the vows they made. I've watched in some youth meetings a speaker work up a group of youth into an emotional moment where he then asks them to make a vow. The classic that I've seen is to preach a message against dating - and then get all the youth present to make a vow not to date - unless it is the person they are going to marry. As I've watched - I wanted to scream, "Stop!" I wanted to get on stage and read this passage from Ecclesiastes as well as this one from Proverbs. Someone needs to warn these kids against making vows - especially when they are made either emotionally or rashly. When I do pre-marital counselling prior to a wedding I do everything I can to get the couple to realize the extreme intensity and solemnity with which they need to make their marriage vows to their spouse. Vows should NEVER be made lightly - or in all honesty - emotionally or quickly.
This passage in Proverbs states that the one who made these rash vows feels a regret for making them. But that regret comes at the wrong time. They "make inquiry" only after they have made the vow. They do not think before they make it - only afterward when the have to pay the price of their foolish vow. For many it is only afterward, when the emotions wear off, that they begin to see the cost of what they vowed. Unfortunately this is true in marriages as well. When things are sweet and romantic they make the vow. When things get rough and they learn that marraige is indeed for life - they ask their questions and want out. How many divorces could have been avoided if only the couple had of considered the LONG TERM aspect of getting married?
The wise man thinks and considers what he is about to do when entering into a vow. Solomon warns that in many words and dreams there is emptiness. All our emotion and strong religious words "in the mmoment" are honestly nothing more than empty promises. We are so prone to promise something in the heat of a moment that will not ever be carried out in the end. God is seeking to keep us from such foolishness here. He wants us to "fear God." What God is saying to us is that in that moment of power and emotion - be quiet! Get before God and humble yourself - seeking His face and listening. We want to pour out words - when it would be better to be silent and listen to what He is saying. Our response should be humble worship - not boastful vows. Humble worship and submission will do far more to bless us in the end. Vows tend toward pride and the thought we can do something for God. Humility and worship express the kind of dependence on God that will be blessed in that moment - and for a whole lifetime to come.