25 ¶ It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.
This is one of those verses that are not easy to spiritualize for a Christian. According to Gill and Henry this refers to a man using something for himself that was set apart for God and also that man making a vow to God and then looking afterwards for an excuse or a way out of it.
Since our temple where God abides is our body and we don’t have holy tables and holy utensils and other such things this is not easy for us to understand. But, let’s look at it from our perspective. Imagine setting apart money you were going to give to missions or to the church offering and then deciding at the last minute to stop at a fast food restaurant for breakfast and spending it there. Or picture a church body setting aside a building they’d purchased to meet and worship in and then renting out that building to a company that leased gambling equipment the rest of the week.
The view here is that something you’ve committed to God, you decide to use in a profane manner. God would be saying that this is a snare, a trap to you. Would you use the communion cups and plates for a party you were having or rent out the church grounds to some family to have a drunken reunion gathering? The sense here is the danger of taking something that has been set aside, set apart for God, and using it in a personal manner or even a profane manner.
The other snare mentioned is making a vow, a promise, to God and then trying to think of an excuse not to perform it. Christians would do well not to make vows to God. These solemn statements are often just a big show that try to use something seemingly important as an excuse for not having a day to day relationship with God. There are many stories about someone, in a moment of doubt or fear, promising God that if He’ll deliver them from this or that they’ll be more faithful to church, to Bible reading, or giving. While this is foolish as trying to make business deals with God is a kind of sacrilege, it has been done time and time again. Afterwards the promise made was so rash and desperate that the person tries to find a way out, in his own mind, from performing it.
Ecclesiastes 5:4 ¶ When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. 6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
Remember the agony of Jephtath;
Judges 11:30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.
34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.
36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.
Remember, these are things under the Law, which was a spiritual and a civil restraint on the ancient Jews. God doesn’t want your empty promises, He wants your day to day obedience and faithfulness. He doesn’t want you dedicating a glass as a Holy cup. He wants you to use everything you have as well as your own body as His property.
Romans 12:1 ¶ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Going into this verse deeper, then, let’s understand that if your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which it is (1 Corinthians 6:19), and if the house of God is the church which is the living body of Christ on earth (1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 1:22,23; 1 Corinthians 14:23; Colossians 1:18), as in people, and as the verses in Romans 12 point out that you and I are holy, living sacrifices and that is our reasonable service to be so then what you do with your body should not be taken lightly. And we should not be looking for ways to go around our commitment to Christ which is as good as any vow as He has paid for us in His own blood.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, immoderate diets, lack of regular exercise, and lack of adequate rest are not the ways one would think that God would want His temple treated.
2Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
You’d think we’d want to be careful how we used things sanctified to God as how we use them can be a snare. What are you putting in front of your eyes? I can talk about porn all day and you’d agree but how about the things you willfully put in front of your eyes and in your ears that enrage you and make your blood boil? When was the last time you arrived at a destination in your car after having been enraged at the words of some fool on the radio?
What about the idolatrous and covetous creating messages that blast you in your newspapers and magazines?
Folks, if you are a Christian your mind and body is holy to the Lord. It is the temple of the living God. How do you use it? Is your use of what is holy a snare to you? Is your promise of yourself to Christ by way of the new birth something you’re constantly looking into to see what excuses you can use to act in a way that is not pleasing to God? These are questions this verse in Proverbs raises for the believer.