March 26, 2006

Read Judges 10

In Today's Reading:

Israel forsakes the Lord and worships idols; Israel oppressed by Ammonites for 18 years; Jephthah's daughter dedicated to God

After much suffering because they worshiped false gods (Judges 10:8), the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned. . . . And they put away the strange (foreign) gods from among them, and served the LORD (10:15-16). And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead. . . . said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon (11:5-6).

Jephthah prayed: If Thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me . . . shall surely be the LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering (11:30-31). God arranged that Jephthah's daughter should be the first to meet him. Jephthah knew the Scriptures well and human sacrifices were condemned by God (Leviticus 20:2-5; Deuteronomy 12:29-31; 18:10-12). How could one imagine that this man of God would cut the throat of his daughter to offer her as a burnt offering? To do that would have made God, as well as this man of faith, responsible for a vile murder, since it was the Spirit of the LORD who gave Jephthah his victory (Judges 11:29,32).

How he fulfilled his vow becomes clear as we consider all the facts. She was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter (11:34). The Lord had declared that the firstborn were to be "sanctified" — not sacrificed: It is Mine (Exodus 13:2; Numbers 3:13). And his daughter's response to Jephthah's vow made the outcome unmistakably clear. She asked for two months to go up and down . . . the mountains to bewail (lament) my virginity (Judges 11:37) — meaning to "bewail that I will never marry." Undoubtedly, in lifelong chastity, she became one of the servants of God in the Tabernacle.

Jephthah was highly honored as one of the heroes of faith: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises (Hebrews 11:32-33).

Word Studies:

11:3 vain men = worthless renegades; 11:37 fellows = virgin female companions; 11:40 lament = commemorate.

Christ Portrayed:

By Jephthah's only child as she wholly submitted to her father's will even as Jesus wholly submitted to His Father's will (Judges 11:34-40). On the night He was betrayed, Jesus prayed: Not as I will, but as You will (Matthew 26:39).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Government Officials: Sec. Elaine Chao (Department of Labor), Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr (UT), Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA), and Sen. Lincoln Chafee (RI) · Country: Nepal (24 million) a mountain-ringed Himalayan state between Tibet and India · Major language: Nepali · Limited religious freedom · 89% Hindu; 7% Buddhist; 3% Muslim; .3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Fast, sanctify yourself, and unite in prayer with others as you cry unto the Lord (Joel 1:14).

Optional Reading: John 16

Memory Verse for the Week: Ruth 1:16