Devotional on Judges

Don’t make stupid promises to God
Judges 11: I’ll give to God whatever comes out of the door of my house.
Jephthah makes a stupid vow. As he leads Israel into battle against the Ammonites he promises God that, if he’s victorious, he’ll make an offering of the first thing to come out of the door of his house when he returns home. Now, the battle is won and as he returns home it’s his own daughter who first comes out the door to greet him. Apparently, he keeps his stupid vow and offers her as a sacrifice. This is wrong on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to start. For one thing, God doesn’t work this way. God does what is right because he’s righteous. He doesn’t play “let’s make a deal” with us. Beyond that, God doesn’t want human sacrifices. In the history of the Israelites, only one time is such a demand given and that’s with Abraham and Isaac. Even in the dark ages of Judges every citizen of Israel knows the story; and they all know that God stops Abraham before one drop of Isaac’s blood is shed. Finally (although there’s more) just because we say something stupid to God doesn’t mean he wants us to do it. “God, if you make me well I’ll be a preacher” might just get a response from God saying, “I’m the One who calls preachers, not you! What makes you think I want the likes of you as a preacher in the first place?” I’m to live in a genuine relationship with God, not one in which I’m constantly trying to bargain with or manipulate him into getting what I want.
Take Away: The Lord doesn’t want to make deals with us. Rather, he wants to connect with our lives.

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