When going to worship God, Solomon warns that we should walk prudently. In the Hebrew, the phrase is literally to "keep your foot." The foot was a symbol of prideful strutting, like a peacock. In other words, we are to humble ourselves when approaching God (James 4:10). We need to come to God to listen to what He has to say and not to show off our piousness. Our worship of God should not be like King Saul (I Sam 15:22). Like Saul, the fool is so wrapped up in his self-righteousness that he doesn't see the error of his way.
Before we talk, we need to consider our words carefully, especially promises that we make to God. Consider the vow of Jephthah in Judges 11:30-39. His vow was rash as well as foolish, yet breaking the vow was never considered. Next time you are tempted to go back on your word, consider if it would cost you as much as Jephthah's vow cost him. Solomon wisely advises us to keep our words few (Prov. 17:27-28). The more we say, the more likely we will say something wrong (Prov. 6:2, 10:19).
We need to learn to keep our promises. If we promise to make a payment, then we must make every effort to pay on time (Ps. 15:4, I Cor. 6:6-8). You are much better off not making a promise at all than to make a promise that you cannot keep. Consider the Israelites promise with the Gibeons in Jos. 9:3-27. The promise was made under deception, but this was not an allowable excuse to break their promise. Mistakes are no excuse.
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" - Prov. 25:11. Our word is valuable. Jesus taught us that simply saying yes or no is sufficient to commit us (Mt. 5:37, James 5:12). We should never lie (Col. 3:9, Eph. 4:25). God always keeps his word (II Pet. 3:9) - we should keep ours as well.
1) What is the difference between vows, promises, oaths, and swearing?
2) Are all oaths wrong? What makes an oath wrong?
3) Give at least two examples of oaths that are used in today's society.