Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Jephthah's Daughter"

"And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 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." Judges 11:30,31
We have heard many sermons preached about Jephthah mostly because of the vow he made to the Lord. In my opinion, it was a very "stupid" vow. What did he expect to come out of his house to meet him after the battle? Did he keep cows, goats, sheep or horses in his house? Naturally, it would have been either his wife or daughter. This story has been preached on numerous occasions because there is so much that we can learn from the foolishness of Jephthah. But this morning I don't want to focus on him. I want to focus on his less familiar daughter. 
We don't know much about her-- just a couple of verses. She isn't even named in the scriptures. She is simply "Jephthah's daughter". In my opinion, again, she- not her father- is the main character of the story. We have this young girl who was placed in a situation because of someone else. Her father made a vow that would effect her entire life. She would never marry because of it. She would spend the rest of her life childless. She would miss out on the opportunity of perhaps being the one chosen to bear the Messiah, all because of her father's foolish vow. 
The most remarkable thing we see from her story is the fact that she could have become bitter and angry. She could have rebelled. She could have chosen not to honor her father's vow and do what her own heart desired. She could have turned on her father and hated him. But she didn't. Yes, she cried over what was happening to her but she did not get in self-pity. In those couple of verses we see her gratitude and praise to the Lord for His delivering power. We see her love for her nation. We see her honor for her father. We see her surrender to the Lord. We see her humility. We see her dedicated relationship with the Lord. 
Do any of us see ourselves in her life? How would we react had it been us instead of her? What would our reaction say about our relationship with the Lord? Are we as willing as she was to honor God even when something is done against us? Even when someone else's actions change our lives? How many of us even keep the vows we make to the Lord personally, much less one that we have been unwillingly brought into by someone else? There is a lot we can learn from this unnamed young girl about humility, Christ-like attitude and surrender to the service of the Lord. Will we learn it?
Have a great day. How do you react when something that someone else does effects your entire life? What does that reaction say about your relationship with the Lord? 
For further reading:
Judges 11
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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell
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