Let’s Not Make a Deal [Part 2]
By Alan Wright — October 11, 2017
Are you ready for some good news?
You don’t have to sacrifice something in order for God to bless you; He’s already made the sacrifice on your behalf.
Today’s Text: “Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.”” (Judges 11:34–35, ESV)
Today’s radio broadcast compares two stories. In one, God gloriously provides Abraham with a ram to sacrifice instead of his son, Isaac. The other is the dark, tragic tale of Jephthah who sacrificed his daughter because of an ill conceived vow.
Jephthah felt so desperate to defeat the Ammonites that he made a tragic, hasty oath: “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the Lord gave them into his hand.” (Judges 11:30–32, ESV)
God never asked Jephthah for such a vow. God doesn’t need oaths and sacrifices from His people to move Him. He has never loved our puny sacrifices and our pitiful expressions of self-righteousness. He is utterly for us. He is the God who died for us while we were His enemies.
Jephthah’s vow turned horribly tragic. He won the battle and returned home expecting to sacrifice a sheep or a heifer. Instead, his precious daughter, his one and only child, came out of the house, dancing like Miriam at the Red Sea. As she rejoiced over her father and the victory he’d secured, she didn’t realize that she was dancing her way to death.
Jephthah kept his vow and an abomination was committed in Israel – child sacrifice. If the story horrifies you – good. It should rattle every legalistic bone in your body with the horror of trying to move God with self-righteous religion. Your life isn’t blessed because you have something to sacrifice for God; your life is blessed because God has sacrificed His one and only Son for you! And that’s the gospel!