I'm so glad you are here! I hope during your visit you get a glimpse of God's heart for we become what we are gazing at. I pray that God refreshes you and gives you readiness to persevere in what He has for you today. My desire is to be a blessing to you in helping you know God more and make Him known so I've made these Resources available to you and have the Missional Living blog tab for practical ideas of how to live on mission right where you are.
Don't you just love stories! Story helps me feel like I'm there, like I can understand and feel what the people might be going through. That's why I love Judges so much. Story after story of God intersecting lives. So, in bite size pieces I've been writing my way through Judges sharing glimpses of God's heart and character. To check out the entire series so far head on over the the Judges Devotional.
"The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him. Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."
Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands. He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon. When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, "Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break." "My father," she replied, "you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. But grant me this one request," she said. "Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry." "You may go," he said. And he let her go for two months. She and the girls went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. After the two months, she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin. From this comes the Israelite custom that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite." Judges 11:28-40
Through Jephthah's Eyes:
"Jephthah's vow was really a bargain with the Lord: If God would give the Israelites victory over the Ammonites, Jephthah would sacrifice to the Lord whatever came out of his house when he arrived home in Mizpah." The Wiersbe Bible Commentary
So often we forget that it's not all about us. It is so easy to think our desires are all about us. Jephthah did. He forgot God was actually the One who gave him the desire in the first place. And because he forgot that God was already doing His thing, he bargained with God, thinking God needed more of an incentive to pull off a win.
And just because this sure sounds like he offers his daughter as a human sacrifice, here's what The Wiersbe Bible Commentary says (which my other 3 say the same thing). "More than one expositor has pointed out that the little word "and?' in the phrase "and I will offer it up" (11:31) can be translated "or." (In the Hebrew, it's the letter waw which usually means "and."...) If we take this approach, then the vow was twofold: Whatever met him when he returned home would be dedicated to the Lord (if person) or sacrificed to the Lord (if an animal)... Nowhere in the text are we told that Jephthah actually killed his daugther, nor do we find anybody bewailing the girl's death. The emphasis in Judges 11:37-40 is the fact that she remained a virgin."
So basically, God is already working and we show up on the scene and start trying to control Him. God is in need of nothing and He desires us to tell us what to do not the other way around.
Through the eyes of dancing daughter:
I just wish I knew her name. She wow's me. She comes out to meet her dad, dancing in victory for his great win. Austin and I (lots of you probably know) are missionaries to college students. I long for the day our kids rejoice with us in the victories of God winning over students hearts. How incredible it would be to see them physically get excited about something God did. So beautiful!
And then her dreams are crushed, her hope of ever getting married or having kids are robbed from her through a foolish, rash decision. I have to ask myself, "Would I be as quick to submit my "rights" because of the foolishness of another?" She is an example of a beautifully meek (strength under control) lady. Oh the beauty of bridled strength!
For us today:
* Remember that God is already working and when He let us be part of what He is doing, it's not so we can come in an do it our way.
* God uses awful situations to train us for the works He has prepared for us to His glory.
* It's honorable to value other people's word as much as our own and help them keep it.
* With our God-given authorities in life like marriage, we need to be willing to submit "rights" even to our own hurt.
* We are desperate for the Lord's strength to live this life so we don't make rash, foolish decisions hurting those we love.
* Even in our failures, we can trust the Lord to not waste it.
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Tell the nations about his glory. Tell all people about the wonderful things he has done." 1 Chron. 16:24
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You are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."2 Peter 2:9
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