Friday, September 9, 2011
Bad boys, Bad boys.... or Commitments in the hour of desperation 10 / Conclusion
4) Commitment requires sacrifice. Usually when we speak of sacrifice, we are talking about giving up particular practices such as drinking alcohol, cursing, engaging in immoral acts, and all of these are valid. (see Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5-11)
And when most people think of church or religion and sacrifice in the same sentence, they are talking concerned about their monetary sacrifices. But it's not just about "our" money.
What is expected of us is that everything that we give is an acceptable sacrifice. Jephthah's sacrifice would not be considered acceptable in our New Testament lives, but the Apostle Paul helps us out in his writings to the Romans. He wrote, “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.” (Romans 12:1). It is important to notice what Paul does not say. He does not write, “. . . present your bodies a living contribution . . .” He says, “. . . a living sacrifice. . .”
God’s Word is truthful. Is ours? Do we say what we mean and mean what we say? The Bible cautions us to carefully consider the meaning of our words before we speak (Ecclesiastes 5:2). We are called to be honest and sincere whenever our word is given.
5) God’s Word reveals who He is. The more we read and study His written Word, the more we know about Him.
Our word also conveys who and what we are, for “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
What do our words reveal about us?
When we speak and give our word, does it reflect and honor the One who we say lives within us? When we speak, can others hear and see the goodness of our indwelling Treasure (Matthew 12:35)? “May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight…” (Psalm 19:14).
6) God cannot be bribed. This lesson details a fatal mistake in judgment. Jephthah did the wrong thing. That's why I think his story is in the book of Judges in the first place. He provides an example we're not to follow. Many people who don’t spend a lot of time in the Bible frequently assume that every example in the Bible is a good example. That's not always the case, and that’s not how life is. Is it?
Just like we wouldn't follow some (or many) of our relatives, friends and acquaintances, there are examples in the Bible that we are not to follow. This is particularly true in the Old Testament narrative books, like Judges. Accounts in this book are often reported without additional comment. Some of the examples are obviously bad and common sense dictates that one not follow them; some are not so obvious.
In Jephthah's case common sense tells us that sacrificing his daughter was not a good thing. Jephthah's vow is a bad example. He offered this vow to God as a bribe. This path cannot be successful. In his case it was tragic.
God is unimpressed with our bribes and deals. He wants our hearts and our faith.
We must trust God, and not try to manipulate Him.
Jephthah teaches us about being people of our word. You have heard the old adage, “Your word is your bond.”
Question / Thought for the series:
Are there some empty promises to God and / or to someone else that you need to go back and clean up?
(see you Monday)