January 31, 2012
Read Judges 11
To read this text go to: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges%2011&version=NLT
Scripture- Judges 11:29-31- At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he led an army against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”
Observations- The story of Jephthah starts so well- sort of an opposite result the evil Abimelech perpetrated on his family (he killed all of his half brothers to clear the way for him to be a king) and in Israel (he ruled without integrity- no surprise given how he consolidated power). Jephthah was called back to lead the people after have been sent away in shame. He leads well and brings victory to
Application- Jephthah made a deal with God that God, through the Word He had already spoken to His chosen people, found detestable, so it would have been far more reasonable and honorable for Jephthah to have repented of his stupid and impulsive vow to God than follow through with such an evil act. This is a story that reminds us to be careful about the commitments we make to God, and that two wrongs don’t make a right. Pagan human sacrifices may have been common, but they were forbidden in Israelite culture. Jesus reminds us, “And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost.” (Luke 14:27-28) As His followers we don’t sacrifice others on the altar of expediency; rather we freely choose to make sacrifices that honor the One we call Lord.
Prayer- (a prayer by Eugene Peterson) “Dear Lord Jesus, Help me to come to You with each and every mess I have made, Regardless how large or how small, How trivial or how terrible. Help me to realize who I am – a sinner, Still, after all these years, after all these tears, still a sinner.
And help me to realize who you are – a Savior, Still at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us, still a Savior. Still loving me, still forgiving me, Still taking the shattered pieces of the things I’ve dropped, Gathering me into Your loving arms And making me whole again.” Amen.
Grace and Peace,
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