Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh. He passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a bow to the Lord, and said, "If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return victorious from the Ammonites shall be the Lord's, to be offered up to me as a burnt offering." Judges 11:29-31 NRSV
Why would anyone who is already a great warrior promise that he will sacrifice a person if God gives him the victory? Is he not Jewish? Does he not know The Law? Maybe spending time with the outlaws of Tob made him forget. Or, perhaps his mother who was a prostitute was not an Israelite. Maybe the whole childhood thing really messed with his head in more ways than one.
Or maybe those are all just excuses.
Jephthah is a great warrior. He is fully capable on his own.
The people who once rejected him have asked that he take on the Ammonites. They are so assured that he can do it that they promise him a leadership role.
Now God has filled him with the Spirit. He now has God's power.
So, why does he need to make a bargain with God? Shouldn't it be evident to him that he will have the victory?
Don't we do the same thing, though?
We are fully capable. Others have shown that they trust our abilities. God has given us the Spirit. Yet, we seem to lack the trust, the confidence that things are going to work out okay. Instead, we use our childhoods, our sad stories, and our weaknesses as excuses to find reasons not go ahead and do what we are asked to do.
The victory is ours.
Yet, how many times do we make a vow that is only going to get us into trouble?
God, you entrust us and trust us. Thank you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Question for the day: What's your excuse?
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims