Judges 11: 30-31, 34-35
30And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,31 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.
34And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back. ”
In times of need and sometimes desperation, we promise things in earnest, but do not recognize the potential consequences of our promise. Is this negligence, ignorance, or foolishness? Often it is a combination of the three. But the real question to ponder is what lie behind the need to promise? In this case, Jephthah was cast out of Gilead because of his birth, and that left him isolated and unwanted. When the elders of Gilead came to ask him to lead their army to victory against Ammon, he seized the opportunity to make Gilead pay for their mistreatment of him and agreed if he would be their leader. To ensure that position of recognition and authority, Jephthah made this promise to God. Little did he realize the price he had to pay.
When we are in desperation, and cry out to God for help, deliverance, success, or whatever the pressing need is, do we examine ourselves and ask why am I asking this? What do I want to get out of it? Or – what’s in it for me. Sometimes the need is pressing, but our motives are focused on the wrong area – ourselves. Me. Pride. When we focus on ourselves, there is little room for anyone else, including Jesus. Shouldn’t our focus be “how does this glorify God”?
Jesus, You are the God most glorious. I want to focus my life on You. Help me to look beyond myself, my ambitions, and my successes to see how the things I do are a result of walking in faith and obedience to You. Give me the courage to decrease so that You may increase in my life. AMEN