Judges 11:30-35 – Let God Be The Judge
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.
32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.
33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
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.
Most People who know the story of Jephthah are familiar with this part. Jephthah promises God that, if God gives him victory, Jephthah will offer the first thing to come out of his house to meet him to the Lord. Who really knows what he was thinking when he made that vow, but can you imagine his surprise when he arrives home and his only daughter comes running out to meet him?! How ironic! However, he needed to go through with his oath. A quick point of clarification. Some people thing that Jephthah sacrificed his daughter, but the text is much more likely that he gave her to the temple to serve God full time. Not quite as dramatic as the other way, but he still had to lose his only child because of a hasty and rash vow.
What could we, as Christians, learn from this? The most important lesson here is that we ought to be careful with what we say. Jephthah made a promise to God, and had to follow through with it. The same applies to us. Do not promise God something you do not intend to follow through on. The same is true, however, with our dealings with other people. We should be careful not to promise something we know would be too difficult to deliver on. We should also be careful not to lie to people, or try to twist and manipulate our words to make it sound just how we want. That is not the kind of way a Christian should act. So, be careful with what you say. Think before you speak. You never know what might come back to hurt you later.
Life Step: Think about it…
What kind of things do we promise, to God or people, that we cannot follow through with?
What ways do our words hurt others?
What can we do to make sure that our words are not something that could hurt us or others?