25. It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.
In every path has the great fowler laid his snares. Perhaps, however, the most subtle are reserved for the service of God. Offerings made holy to the Lord often were devoured by the hypocritical worshipper, and sacrilegiously appropriated to his own use. Thus Achan, robbing the treasury of the LORD, found a snare to his ruin. (Joshua 6:19; 7:1.) This was the sin of “the whole nation;” and fearful indeed was the judgment — “Ye are cursed with a curse.” (Malachi 3:8-10.) Voluntary vows were commonly practised;† and often inquiry was made after, which ought to have been made before. They were at full liberty not to vow; but having vowed, they were bound to pay.†
As the counterpart to this hollow, half-hearted profession — ‘a man vows in distress to give something to God: but having obtained his desires,’ devoureth that which is holy, and after vows makes inquiry, ‘how he may be loosed from this obligation.’† Often too in a moment of excitement — perhaps under the glow of a religious meeting — has a sacrifice been pledged to God; and, the impulse having subsided, after the vow inquiry is made how the bond may be retracted. Such evasions — what a revolting exhibition do they present of man’s deceitfulness! ‘He entangleth his soul in the snares of death, who resumeth unto a profane use that which is once consecrated unto God, and who, after he hath vowed aught unto the LORD, argues within himself, how to alter that holy purpose, and to defeat God of his due.’† Alienation of the gift proves the prior alienation of the heart. Let Ananias and Sapphira testify that God is a jealous God.† Take care of rash — be faithful to upright — engagements. Before entering into the service of God, make inquiry into its full requisitions. Beware of a religion of temporary excitement; far different from deep, solid, permanent principle. And whatever be the cost, be true to the consecration of thyself as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) on the altar of thy God.