This short blog is called “Eternal Weight,” and it discusses how each decision we make carries weight for the rest of our lives, and even beyond the grave. We will be looking at the story of Jephthah in Judges 11, and how a hasty vow affected his family forever.
Judges 11:30-40 (New Revised Standard Version)
30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, 31 then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, to be offered up by me as a burnt offering.”
Jephthah was the son of Gilead, but he was an illegitimate son by the world’s standards, because he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead had other sons by his wife, and when they grew up, they drove Jephthah off the land. He grew up into a fine warrior, and when the Ammonites rose up to fight with Israel, the same people who kicked him out of the country tried to call him back. He came back as their commander. They routed the Ammonites, but it came with a heavy cost. Jephthah vowed to sacrifice the first living thing to meet him after the battle; the first person to meet him afterwards was his only child, an unnamed daughter.
34 Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; 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.”
The Spirit of the Lord was with Jephthah during battle in verse 29. Yet we know that Jephthah’s idea to sacrifice his daughter did not come from God’s Spirit. How do we know this? We know that the Word of God and the Spirit of God are intimately acquainted with each other, and they are never in conflict. Here is what the Law of Moses says: Deuteronomy 18:10 (NRSV)10 No one shall be found among you who makes a son or daughter pass through fire, or who practices divination, or is a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer.
Our words today carry eternal weight. Our actions today carry eternal weight. Our decision to edify someone or tear them down with words carry eternal weight. Our decision to be serious about Christ or not so serious carries eternal weight. Remember that God’s angels keep record of our every thought, deed, action and motive. And we will give account. GB.