Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Break it or keep it - Judges 11:29-15:20

Jephthah made a vow before God: "If you give me a clear victory over the Ammonites, then I'll give to God whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in one piece from among the Ammonites—I'll offer it up in a sacrificial burnt offering."(Judges 11:30-31)

Jephthah came home to Mizpah. His daughter ran from the house to welcome him home—dancing to tambourines! She was his only child. He had no son or daughter except her. When he realized who it was, he ripped his clothes, saying, "Ah, dearest daughter—I'm dirt. I'm despicable. My heart is torn to shreds. I made a vow to God and I can't take it back!" (Judges 11:34-35)

Could I have upheld this vow? I don't know - trying to imagine giving Adam or Nichalas up as a brunt offering - actually preforming it. I can't see myself being able to. And then to allow them to go away for two month! I would want to spend every waking moment with them if I knew that was their last.

I know we are to be very careful with our words - to God and man. We will be held accountable for how we spend our time, gifts and talents. The scriptures say to let your yes be yes and your no be no. It also tells many times how God abhorred child/human sacrifices.
Is this vow one He would have forgiven? Did Jephthah even go to God and ask? Am I not taking making vows serious enough? I know in my life I haven't upheld many vows. Some were made in immaturity, some in the spur of the moment, some I was unable to keep because of extenuating circumstances.

When I spoke to a minister friend of mine about a vow I had made and was unable to keep, he said it was between God and me. God knew my heart. He also knew I was going to mess up. He offers me love and grace. New starts. This doesn't mean I am to take making vows lightly - I don't. He has taught me it is a very serious matter. But sometimes as a parent to a child, they are to be forgiven.

What do you think?

"I made a vow to God and I can't take it back!"(11:35)

Isn't this putting myself in God's place? Isn't it His place to decide? How often do I do this instead of humbling myself - admitting I was rash, wrong, unable to keep the vow and lean on Him for strength? I feel this is a vow that broke God's heart. That He didn't want it made or kept. Jephthah has taught me to mind my words, yes, but also that I can go and talk to my Daddy. As long as I don't love something, someone more than Him, that I give all over to Him.

That is the vow He wants - to be number one in my heart.

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