an example worth following
SCRIPTURE: Judges 11
“My father,” she replied, “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]
I do find the response of Jepthath’s daughter – as sad as it is – somewhat inspiring.
Her willingness to surrender to her father’s folly is amazing.
Her humble spirit reminds me of Mary’s response when God asks her to bear the messiah. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” [Luke 1:38]
Ever since we messed up this world, God has been raising up delivers to guide us back to Him, out of this mess.
To some extent, every deliver is a pattern of Jesus, the ultimate deliverer.
But we need to remember that Jesus was a perfect deliverer, while all of the others were sinners, imperfect.
Jepthath is a flawed leader, his vow was rash and foolish.
God has never delighted in human sacrifice, and would not be pleased with this.
Some people might charge that God did the same thing, sacrificing His son on the cross.
But the difference is huge.
Jephthah’s sacrifice served no purpose, God did not require him to sacrifice anything for His help.
It was an unnecessary act.
But the sacrifice of Jesus was like the sacrifice of a soldier in battle, part of the cost of defeating an enemy.
Jesus’ death was necessary.
What lessons do I derive from this reading?
First, the reminder that Jesus is the only perfect deliverer, the only model that we should have as our highest model and pattern for living.
I am a Jesus-follower.
I may sometimes glean some insight into right living from others, but we need to remember that they are flawed examples.
Jephthah is a poor reflection of Jesus, Jesus is the perfect reflection of God – follow Him!
Second, I do see the humble spirit of both Jephthah’s daughter and Mary, as a weak reflection of the humble spirit of Jesus: Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. [Luke 22:42]
God may ask difficult things of us, but He will never do so for rash, unnecessary reasons.
He is not like Jephthah in this: His promises are always right, always good, always necessary.
Lord, grant me a humble, willing spirit, like Jesus, and Mary and Jephthah’s daughter. Do to me just as you promised, may it be to me as you have said, not my will, but yours be done!