An open letter to all Christians in South Africa.
Re: The vow of Bloedrivier (Bloodriver) 16 December 1838
As a fellow-believer in Christ, I am saddened by the attitude in South Africa regarding the Boer nations’ vow on 16 December each year. In the last two decades the Bloedrivier-Gelofte, as we know it, was guided into a right-wing activity and replaced by the idea of reconciliation. It seems that Christians are either ashamed of this vow or discomforted by it?
Let us quickly take a look at some scriptures:
Psa 65:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm and Song of David. Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.
Psa 76:11 Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.
Ecc 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.
Ecc 5:5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
If you do believe in the Bible as the Word of God, these scriptures should surely serve as witness to the magnitude of a vow. Now, take into account that this vow was unto God, by the Boer nation, and God did give the victory, against all odds, to a small group as it was stated in the vow.
Now, you might speculate that this vow was only applicable to the small group of people, but you would be wrong. The vow clearly states that this day should be held as a Sabbath, not only for the people involved, but also for generations to come. An easy explanation would be to compare it with the grace bestowed on the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The one a ‘vow’ or covenant by God unto people, the other a vow by the people to honor God.
Taken this all into account, no Christian can criticize a group of people keeping their vows. In fact, as a fellow-believer it would be very unkind unto your neighbor to insult, degrade or ignore this important agreement between a nation and God…
This judgment unto others, this attitude against the Boer nation for doing what they are bound by God to do, is a total discrimination towards the Word of God. You can clearly see that a vow must be kept! By creating the perception that this vow is outdated, or racist or negative, you are judging an agreement that God Himself honored.
Let us be straight with one another- By changing an agreement with God, which should be honored as stipulated in the vow, into a day of the people is blasphemy. By labeling this vow as outdated, you are implying that the Word of God is outdated. By not encouraging a fellow-believer to keep his vows unto God, is nothing less than to lead a brother astray.
Irony is- You are losing out on blessing. See, if this Boer nation keeps their vow unto the Almighty, the Boer nation will be blessed, and if the Boer nation is blessed, then South Africa will also be a blessed place…
It is a sad day when a believer, a Christian, judge an agreement that was sealed by God Himself… If you know the history of Bloedrivier, there will be no doubt in your mind that a miracle happened that day…
This year, 16 December, the Boer nation will honor God and keep our vow intact.
Johan van der Merwe
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