Good morning my friends,
Have you ever made a foolish promise? In the heat of the moment have you stated a promise that you later regretted? Maybe it was to a friend. Maybe it was to God. Do you think people really want to hold us to foolish promises? Do you think God wants to hold us to foolish promises? It is important that we are always careful about what we say, especially when it comes to oaths and promises because our words will be judged. But our God is also a God of understanding and forgiveness, so if we promise to run down the street with all our clothes off if he grants our prayers I do not believe he would hold us to such a thing. Let us say he has had a lot of practice in overlooking foolish things people promise him. Let us consider Jephthah from Judges 11 for just a moment.
Some people have been very hard on Jephthah over the centuries, considering him to be a foolish man, and he was. However, are there not things in our lives that are routine that we can count on happening all the time? Yet, one time out of a hundred it happens differently. Could this not have been the case with Jephthah? Perhaps it was a dog that always greeted him or a pet cow that came running out the door to welcome him home. Perhaps his daughter never came out to greet him as he arrived home. Regardless, it was a foolish vow he made.
Here is another thing to consider. Our God never accepted human sacrifice. You notice that he remained silent during this whole thing. Also notice the emphasis placed on the fact that the daughter was a virgin and that she would never marry. These facts have led some to believe that the sacrifice was not her actually life but the fact she would never be permitted to marry, that her life would be lived as a virgin servant of God. Although there is nothing that puts this in black and while it does make a lot of sense, considering how much human sacrifice disgusts our God. But none of this takes away the fact that Jephthah's vow was a thing that did not honour God but instead reveals the danger of rashness.
Jesus made it clear that we do not need to try to manipulate our Father in this manner. He taught us that simple obedience is enough to provoke the heart of the Father:
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (John 15:7)
We do not have to make vows to our God in order to receive victory from him. He offers it gladly every day for those who remain faithful to him. Those of my students writing tests today remember this. Remind our Father of all his faithfulness and goodness and simply accept the victory he offers you today in the subject of your test. Let us leave the foolish things for the fools and as children of the Father let us march on in his glory and strength.