Cover to Cover

Reading: Judges 9:1-11:40

Focus: Judges 11:29-40

You know how kids just say the silliest thing sometimes… Bill Crosby made an entire TV series out of the things kids say. They are often come up with the most innocent of statements that are simply full of meaning and, at times, even profound. When they say silly things, we laugh and appreciate the innocence of a child and there is little consequence for even the silliest of comments. However, you have an adult repeat some of things kids say and you would look at them and wonder what planet they were from!

Enter Jephthah. Called upon by his people to take up sword against their oppressors. Coming before God he says probably one of the stupidest things recorded in the entire Bible… he makes a vow before God: “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.” It was an utterly unnecessary vow and there is no clear reason as to why Jephthah would need to make such a vow, nor such a stupid one at that!

Before even looking at what happened, just consider the vow itself… “whatever comes out of the door of my house…” What would you be thinking to say something like that? Even if he had a pet dog (or whatever they had those days) that ran out every time he came home, why would you even consider sacrificing it? What makes matters worse is that it is his only child, his virgin daughter who walks out the door to greet him.

Kids might say the darndest things, but us “adults” seriously need to think about what we say, even more so the vows and promises we make, greater still before God. Our words are no so flippant that they are easy swept under the carpet as it is with kids. In the words of the great Teacher, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No’…” (Matthew 5:33-37) If we’re not careful, we may find ourselves putting that which is most important to us in the firing line… and no one will be laughing.

Next Reading: Judges 12:1-14:20

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