“But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9, NIV84)
Most of us have been here before. Remember when you experienced God’s grace for the first time? Do you remember the last time you experienced God’s grace in a powerful way? I do! And my response was much like Jonah’s. I thanked God for pursuing and rescuing me. Out of my indebtedness I made vows and promised to live up to them. What about you? Do you remember making any vows or promising anything to the Lord the last time you experienced His love and grace in a powerful way? One last question: Did we fulfill the vows and promises we made?
It is important that we treat these vows seriously, not because God needs our works but because we need to remain faithful. The one way we can be certain to live in the gratitude of God’s grace is to live true to the vows we made when we experienced that grace. Jonah was going to have to go to Nineveh. To not go to Nineveh would ultimately be a rejection of the grace experienced in the midst of the deadly storm. Going to Nineveh would mean that Jonah understood God’s grace and its impact on his life. We obey God and fulfill our vows not to earn God’s grace but in response to it. As we live lives in response to God’s grace, we can’t help but always be focused on that grace.
Do you see it? Failing to live out our vows eventually causes us to move further and further away from the grace we experienced. But if we live out our vows, we can’t help but live in the shadow of God’s grace constantly.