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Bible Pathways 03/26/2003

March 26

Read Judges 10 -- 11

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 suffering because they worshiped false gods (Judges 10:8), the sons of Israel said, We have sinned. . . . So they put away the foreign gods from their midst and served the LORD (10:15-16). So when the Ammonites made war with Israel, the elders of Gilead. . . . said to Jephthah, Come and be our leader and let's fight against the Ammonites (11:5-6)

Jephthah prayed: Give the Ammonites into my hand, then whatever comes out of the doors of my house to greet me when I return in peace . . . it shall belong to the LORD (11:30-31). God arranged that Jephthah's daughter should be the first to meet him. It was as if God were saying: "I have given you all you asked; now I ask you to give Me your best" (11:30-40). This could not have meant human sacrifice. 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 he 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; he had neither son nor daughter besides her (11:34). The Lord 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 weep over my virginity (Judges 11:37) ? meaning to "bewail that I will never marry." She returned to her father, and he completed his vow (11:39). She was dedicated to serve the Lord in lifelong chastity, even as Hannah dedicated Samuel as a "spiritual" burnt offering unto the Lord. Undoubtedly, she became one of the servants of God in the tabernacle.

Jephthah became one of the heroes of faith: And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah. . . . who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises (Hebrews 11:32-33).

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: Yet not as I will, but as You will (Matthew 26:39).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Justice Sandra O'Connor, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA), and Sen. Lincoln Chafee (RI) · Country: Tibet (population unknown) (province of China) in eastern Asia · Major language: Tibetan · The Chinese government is still committed to promoting atheism, while at the same time, officially permitting Lamaism (a form of Buddhism) · No religious statistics are available, but at one time all were Lamaists · Lamaism was all but exterminated by Chinese invaders in the 1950s, but it is now permitted under strict control · Prayer Suggestion: Give thanks to the God of heaven; His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever (Psalms 136:26).

Optional Reading: John 17

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:16

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