Like Captain Jack Sparrow, Jephthah has called for “parlay”. Failing that, he is assured that God will smote these guys, because the Israelites are in the right. But, as we can expect, the king of the sons of Ammon disregard the message and press on to battle.
Text: Judges 11:1-12:7
Despite the controversial nature of Jephthah’ oath, God does answer him. Verse 29 tells us that: “Now the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah…”
I know, churchspeak. When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon an open and ready vessel, God’s will is done and God is glorified. So, just like all the other Judges of Israel, Jephthah went forward in the Lord’s might and won great victories.
“So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD gave them into his hand. He struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer to the entrance of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel.”
One of the things that I have noticed when reading the Bible is that when the faith of the Old Testament's saint is mentioned, no mention is made of their checkered pasts. Once again, this is what I love about the Old Testament. Many of these future saints, pillars of faith and paragons of virtue have not only checkered pasts, but are down-right horrible and sinful people, who should have been smitten a time or two themselves.
This is a great! It demonstrates that there is real hope for all of us. Unless we foolishly allow it:
Our past should not hold our present and future hostage!
In the past, we have discussed some of the failures of Moses, Abraham, Jacob and David, to name a few. We should be encouraged to find that God uses real people with real faults and problems (and issues). Then when we look in the New Testament and find that by His grace, He only remembers and records their faith. We should be heartened and encouraged that He views us through this same lens of grace.
And just so, with Jephthah. His faith in the Lord and the subsequent victories he won by the Lord’s anointing are not diminished by his stupidity and recklessness.
In fact, the Lord’s mercy, grace and determination to have His will done are even more clearly demonstrated by the fact that even in the shadow of this foolish vow made by Jephthah, He still uses the man for His purpose and His victory.
Let’s review the oath made by Jephthah and try to make some sense of a difficult passage and find the application for ourselves.
“Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, “If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the LORD’S, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” (Verses 30-31).
Do you see a problem brewing here?
- Do you let past failures, mis-steps and mistakes hold you in bondage?
- What can you do today to start changing your tomorrow?
- Write done one step you can make to fix this.