• Theo Williams

Worship in Distress: Bow & Vow

Psalm 66:13-14 (NASB)

13 I shall come into Your house with burnt offerings; I shall pay You my vows, 14 Which my lips uttered, And my mouth spoke when I was in distress.

In Ps. 76:11, Asaph encourages the congregation of the Lord’s people to make vows and fulfill them (also see Deut. 23:21, Ecc. 5:4, ). As much as offerings and music were part of the worship of the Psalms, so too was the making of vows (Ps. 50:14, Ps. 22:25). will…!” That is the basis of a vow and a neglected part of our worship. Many of us don’t consider using this form of worship anymore. Yet, vows have played a foundational role in the worship of Israel.

Psalm 76:11 (NASB)

11 Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them; Let all who are around Him bring gifts to Him who is to be feared.

In Ps. 76:11, Asaph encourages the congregation of the Lord’s people to make vows and fulfill them (also see Deut. 23:21, Ecc. 5:4, ). As much as offerings and the music were part of the worship of the Psalms, so too was the making of vows (Ps. 50:14, Ps. 22:25).


When we face distress, like the loss of a job during this time of economic disruption, we can come to the Lord and make a vow. It's like signing a check of thanksgiving before the Lord. It is offering something for what God has done on our behalf. It is often a way to thank the Lord in ways that we can't do with money. It is not a manipulative promise in case God does something, for we are bound by these vows. It is a vow to the Lord in showing Him that He is more important than the things that surround us.

Consider what part making a vow plays in your spiritual life. However, do not be rash in making a vow. Consider what you vow with great care (Prov. 20:25). Jephthah made a vow during wartime that he would offer the first thing coming out of his house upon returning home. Then his daughter came running to meet her dad who was returning from war. He had to turn her over to the service of the Lord, leave her family home and more (Judg. 11:35).

Vows speak to the ‘graciousness” of our hearts, the courage to give to the Lord something in honor of what He has done, or is doing for us. Is there something you want to offer to the Lord? Remember what David said. “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God of that which costs me nothing (2 Sam. 24:24).

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