Scripture: Judges 11:29 Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh. He passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. 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.” 32 So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them; and the Lord gave them into his hand.
Observation: Jephthah is portrayed in the book of Judges as a competent and faithful leader. But here his enthusiasm gets the better of him and he makes a foolish vow, “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.” It was a vow made in haste, in the heat of the moment. But once Jephthah made the vow to the Lord, he could not take it back. And who came out of his house to meet him upon his return from battle? His only child, a daughter. It’s a tragic end to an otherwise noteworthy portrayal of Jephthah.
Application: Do you ever say things without thinking, then regret it later? I sure do. Sometimes I have no filter between my brain and my mouth – and it gets me in trouble. This is a pretty common problem for extraverts like me. In recent years I’ve made a conscious effort to think before I talk, if I talk at all. The bible says that people who are slow to talk appear wise, even if they’re not. Something for us to remember today as we go about our business. Think first. Then talk. Such a simple idea, but hard for some of us.
Prayer: Lord, words are powerful things. They have the capacity to build up and tear down. Give us grace to be careful with our words. Help us to think before we speak. To listen, then talk. Amen.