Today’s chapter has two distinct sections. The first section we see the life of the next Judge of Israel, Jephthah. We see that he is a illegitimate child, and was chased away by his father’s “actual” sons. But during the oppression by the Ammonites that we read about yesterday, the sons of Gilead came back to Jephthah and asked him to rule over them and lead them in battle. In the second section we see a prayer from Jephthah. He prayed, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the Lord whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” (11:30-31, NLT). Upon returning home, Jephthah’s daughter, his only child, came out of the house celebrating her father’s victory. After telling her what he must now do, he sent her away for two months to grieve over the rest of her life and the fact she wouldn’t ever have children.
In order to receive blessing from God, a sacrifice must be made. The bigger the blessing, the more costly the sacrifice. The book of Leviticus is full of directions for sacrifice, what to sacrifice for which situation. But here, Jephthah gave a fairly open ended sacrifice. He wasn’t simply asking for victory over the Ammonites, he was also asking for God to come back to the nation of Israel. So the sacrifice had to be large. Jephthah was going to have to give up his one and only child for the salvation of the Israelites. Sounds a little familiar doesn’t it?
“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, …” (Romans 8:3, NASB). There is no amount of sacrifice that we could give to overcome our sin, because the sacrifice was more than anyone could give. So God did what no man could do; He gave the greatest sacrifice so we could receive the greatest blessing of all time. Jesus did not die simply because it was in God’s plan. He died because God loved you and me so much that He wanted to gives us a way to be with Him.
Life is hard, and to receive blessing will take sacrifice. But thank goodness the price has been paid for our sins.
Also in this series
- Just a Bit of History (Judges 1)
- The Testing of Israel (Judges 2)
- We Need God to Succeed (Judges 3)
- Make Your Enemy Flee (Judges 4)
- Being Thankful (Judges 5)
- Staring Down the Mob (Judges 6)
- We Don’t Need More (Judges 7)
- Are You Obeying (Judges 8)
- Are You Ambitions? (Judges 9)
- Remaining Faithful (Judges 10)
Psalms to Pray: Psalm 61-65