Judges 11:30,31--Jephthah made this vow to the Lord: “If You will hand over the Ammonites to me, whatever comes out of the doors of my house to greet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites will belong to the Lord, and I will offer it as a burnt offering.”
It is one of the most bizarre stories in the Bible. Jephthah, the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His mother was a prostitute. His step-brothers drove him away from home. So he settled in a place called Tob where a group of adventurers banded around him making him their leader. His prowess as a commander must have gained attention. Later when the Israelites were fighting the Ammonites, the same people who expelled him came and asked him to be their general.
Jephthah desperately wanted to defeat the Ammonites. So he uttered the vow recorded above. After the Lord brought victory to Israel and Jephthah returned home, who do you suppose came out of his home to greet him—his daughter—his only child. She came out dancing to tambourines for her triumphant dad. He tore his clothes in misery for a wretched vow to the Lord he could not break.
I don’t understand why God or Jephthah’s friends didn’t stop him from sacrificing his daughter—a question for heaven. What I do understand is that his impulsive action was totally unnecessary. The Spirit of the Lord had already come upon him. God did not need a sacrificial vow to bring victory to His people. In his enthusiasm to win, a man made a horrible covenant.
I frequently observe people making impulsive decisions. I too am guilty of acting before thinking. Perhaps the two most obvious ways in which we reveal impulsiveness is how we use our money and our time. Life is short. God is great. We ought to act responsibly and with patience before we commit to making decisions that we will later regret. It is a sad thing to hear people start a sentence with the two words “If only . . .”
Make no excuses for impulsiveness—it is not a godly trait but rather a revealer of a character defect. Acting on impulse betrays a lack of trust in God, impatience, an “I want it now” selfishness, and a disregard for the future fallout of a present decision. Is not the way to glorify God through thoughtfulness, through a discerning and wise heart? Before making a hasty decision, why not identify a person you know to be wise and seek counsel! Turn to the Lord in prayer! May God help us to be wise for His glory and our peace.
The spiritual life is not impulsive; we are impulsive when we are not spiritual.—Oswald Chambers in God’s Workmanship
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)