I know, I know. I looked at verse 2 yesterday. But it bridges verses 1 and 3-5 in such a way that I think it needs to be included in the discussion of both. Verses 3-5 talk about guarding what we say, and verses 4 and 5 specifically talk about promises.
Many are the fools who say things that they shouldn’t before God. They offer up illegitimate worship or make promises they don’t keep, and in both cases they are better off not saying anything. The second half of verse 5 says, “A fool’s voice is known by his many words.”
This passage reminds me of Matthew 5:33-34 where Jesus said, “”Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all.”
We live in a world where the spoken word is not venerated as much as it used to be. A verbal promise is not the binding contract it was back in ancient days. Instead promises are made flippantly and vows are used as a means of dishonest personal gain.
But woe to the person who makes an illegitimate vow to God. God does not look lightly on those who promise Him something but fail to follow through. But God has a good reason to demand such a high standard.
In Hebrews 6:13-18, the writer of Hebrews explains that when God makes promises, He keeps them. He has never once lied or made a promise He can’t or won’t keep. He is always faithful, and he expects us to be as well. But for those who aren’t, “He has no pleasure in fools” (Ecclesiastes 5:4).
I need to be careful with my words. First of all, I should not commit to doing anything that I do not plan on doing or think I am capable of doing. Secondly, I should not make ill-advised promises and I should keep the ones I make.