Judges 11

Today's Passage: Judges 11

The story of Jephthah is both triumphant and tragic. It shows us how God can make heroes from the least likely of candidates, but those heroes can make catastrophic mistakes if they fail to understand the Word and character of God.

Rejected by his own family, Jephthah was an outcast, yet the elders elect him to lead their army in war against the Ammonites. Jephthah recounts Israel’s exodus story and has faith that God will win the fight, BUT he assumes that God must be bought/bartered with like the false gods of the Gentiles. That is not how God has ever operated. His love and favor cannot be bought, because there is nothing that isn’t already His.

Sadly, we often treat God the same way - as if he were a vending machine that only moved after we gave Him what He wanted. God doesn’t want our money or our empty promises, He simply wants us - our hearts. He wants our hearts to worship Him because worship is the only thing that will truly heal, mend, and satisfy it. Our God is not to be bartered with, He is to be worshiped as the one, true, and everlasting God.

The other sad reality of Judges 11 is how Jephthah’s vow to God goes against the very Word of God. Jephthah’s vow shows his failure to trust God, and his willingness to carry out the vow shows he doesn’t even know God’s Word or character. The Law takes very seriously the breaking of a vow, but the Law also explicitly prohibits human sacrifice. In fact, the Law commands any who performs such an act to be put to death.

God is the author of life and has made all human life in the image of God. Therefore, it should have been clear to Jephthah that his vow was not honoring the Lord. The critical mistake was a misunderstanding of who God is. As believers, we must worship and obey the God of the scriptures! Not the God the world wants him to be, or even who we want him to be - we must dedicate ourselves to believe that God is who HE SAYS He is.

Everywhere you look today someone has their “personal take” on God. They are selling you a "new and improved" version of God. The real question for us is whether we spend enough time in God’s Word to recognize who He truly is. He is the God who was crucified on the cross so that you could know Him and know the grace, mercy, and life He offers to all who believe in Him.

Written By: Joe Weaver

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