"I will go into thy house with burnt-offerings: I will pay thee my vows, Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble" (Psalm 66:13-14).
When in trouble it is very tempting to begin to vow or promise God one's life, service, time, money, etc., if He would only deliver him from the present difficulty. Unfortunately many forget to fulfill their vows when the calamity is passed. Not so with the psalmist. He made it a definite act of the will to go to the house of the Lord and pay his vows which he had spoken with his mouth and which his lips had uttered. Vowing to God is indeed a very serious matter.
David spoke of this in other psalms. "I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all His people" (116:14,18). "I have sworn, and I will perform it" (119:106).
Many years later the exiles who had returned from the Babylonian captivity invoked the Lord to "remember David, and all his afflictions: How he sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob" (Psalm 132:1-2) to build a resting place for the Ark, and a habitation for the Lord, and how the "Lord hath sworn in truth unto David" (v.11) to establish his throne forever.
Man may or may not fulfill his vows but God will never rescind what He has unconditionally promised. "The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand. . . . For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?" (Isaiah 14:24,27).
"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. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay" (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5). NPS