The below was uttered by a fallen sinner named David. What he was doing was telling the Lord what he, David, would do…
Psalm 101:2,3 I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.
This is a vow before the Lord. It is a promise made by a fallen, feeble, sinful creature – a promise onto a perfect and Holy God.
Now… at a certain level what David vowed was reasonable — in the ideal, it is best to walk with integrity and keep our eyes from that which pollutes.
But… the problem is David vowed before the Lord to do what he has no ability to do.
Consider that David cannot be obedient apart from Grace. David cannot, to any degree, do what he promised – not in his own power. So… David was depending upon himself and has absolutely no right to promise God anything. David should not have made vows before the Lord. We should not either. For…
John 15:5b for apart from me you can do nothing.
David was expressing the opposite of humility – he was depending upon his own abilities, and trusting self rather than depending upon the Lord and trusting God. What he did was assume that he, David, could perform something in his own power that was meritorious in the view of a perfect God. When, in reality, what David should have done is fallen on his knees and cried out…
Lord, I am a sinner and I praise you that you call me to have integrity of heart within my house and you command me to not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. Yet Lord, I cannot do this in my power. I am weak. I need your grace. So please Lord, while I deserve no such grace, I beg you Lord – move me to have integrity of heart within my house and remove from me the desire I have to set before my eyes things that are worthless. My God and Savior, accomplish in me what I cannot accomplish for myself. Shower your grace upon me, a helpless sinner and change me.
David sets before us a perfect example of what never to do in prayer. Never make a vow to God.