Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say
Ponder your pronouncements before making promises; Judges 11
Two things stand out to me from this chapter. No matter who you are or your heritage, God has a plan and destiny for you.
Second, words are vitally important, and we should count them and consider them.
Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. But it was also recorded that he was the son of a prostitute and rejected by his brethren because he was born by another woman.
He suffered rejection from his family and likely many others. He was actually run out of town.
When the Israelites came to him for help, he reminded them of their rejection…in sort of a why-should-I-help-you-now tone, with a helping of, “Will you keep your word to me after I have won the war for you?”
It is interesting here that, after he goes with them, he reiterates this whole thing before the Lord. It feels like he has a relationship with Him.
I have always taken things to God; He is a trustworthy friend. I used to write Him letters, knowing He would tell no one, and that I was safe with Him.
I feel like Jephthah really wanted this win; he felt it would redeem him in the eyes of the people.
This may have been his motivation for declaring to the Lord that the first thing out of his house after the victory, he would sacrifice to God. Obviously, none of us were there to know. But it makes me wonder if he gave that any thought at all. Did he have animals as pets? Did they keep livestock in their house? Surely, he was not thinking of a human coming out of the house.
When it was his daughter who came out… I am so sure he was devastated!
I cannot imagine!
I gather from her reaction:
“…You have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites.” (Judges 11:36, NIV)
Obviously, he had raised her to honor and trust the Lord.
She asked him to give her two weeks to visit and mourn with her friends because she would never marry. And she did…. The Bible records that she came back, and he did what he had promised — and that she was still a virgin.
They were people who kept their word. Even when it was the most painful situation.
There are many lessons we can learn from this story, but the one that jumped out to me was to watch what we say, think before we speak, and be ready to carry it out.
Jephthah was a man of his word, even when it meant his most precious earthly possession. Even though he brought it on himself.
He also was a man who did not let his past dictate his future. He was a godly man, and a good and godly father who put himself in a major bid by his words.
I am sure you are thinking, as I am, sacrificing your daughter is not the mark of a good father. But he had made a vow to God and put himself in a major bid.
I would like to quote the psalmist:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14, KJV)