Judges 11:29 (AMP)
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites.
The Lord was blessing Jephthah in the battle against the Ammonites. As we see in the passage above, the Holy Spirit came upon him. Sometime thereafter, he decides to make a vow to the Lord.
Judges 11:30-31 (AMP)
30And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, If You will indeed give the Ammonites into my hand, 31Then whatever or whoever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites, it shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it or him up as a burnt offering.
Why would Jephthah make a vow knowing that the Lord already gave him the victory to win the battle? Was he so excited and anxious about everything that he rambled in the midst of it all? Did he want to make sure that the Lord wasn’t going to let him fail in the battle?
For some reason whether excitement, anxiety, or not fully believing in the Lord, Jephthah made a vow that impacted him and his family.
Judges 11:34-35 (AMP)
34Then Jephthah came to Mizpah to his home, and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances! And she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. 35And when he saw her, he rent his clothes and said, Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are the cause of great trouble to me; for I have opened my mouth [in a vow] to the Lord, and I cannot take it back.
Obviously, the vow Jephthah made was not what he meant to say. Or perhaps he didn’t consider the consequences to his vow. He was so focused on the battle in front of him that he didn’t take the time to consider what he was pledging to the Lord. When we go into prayer, make a vow, or request something, do we give the full details of what we want? Do we consider the consequences to our vow?
I recall someone telling me a story. Her daughter was pregnant and she prayed to the Lord that her new granddaughter would look just like her grandmother. She was really excited because she believed that her request would be granted. The day came and her new granddaughter was born. She was looking forward to seeing her precious grandchild that would look just like her. She picked up her precious bundle of joy to be amazed that her granddaughter looked so much like her grandmother; the fathers mother.
When we have a relationship with someone, one of the basic steps is getting to know each other. We build the friendship and trust becomes a factor in growing the friendship. We’ll do things for each other just for the pure love of the friendship. When we are growing stronger we share our deepest secrets and desires and we give details of certain situations. We have to come to the Lord in the same manner; He is omniscient. But we, as humans, are not and when we come with a vow of any sort, the details of it is critical. It is an exercise for ourselves to know what we’re asking for is what we really want. Often, it may be so simple and innocent. But when it’s granted to us, it can be a life changing experience.
Maybe we don’t know what we want. Do we keep silence, do we pray for the Will of the Lord and allow Him to work it out the way He wants to, or do we do nothing? Whenever I find confusion, emptiness, or trouble in my spirit, I go to the Lord with all my feelings and I share it with Him just as I would do with my best friend. He knows what I want and how I would like for it to all work out. But once I’ve emptied myself to Him, I’ll say to Him, “Lord your Will be done in all this. My needs and wants don’t matter because I’m here to serve You. Whatever or however this turns out, let it be Your desires that take precedence.” This allows the Lord to work His plan for our lives.
Was Jephthah bargaining to assure that he receive the victory of the battle? He was feeling uncertainty about the battle even after he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He allowed fear to enter, which he proceeded with the vow that he felt he needed to verbalize. Discernment plays a big part in this story because Jephthah didn’t have the discernment to accept what the Lord prepared him for. He needed reassurance and confirmation. We have to be very careful and follow the Lord’s instructions. Our heart may be in the right place but if our mind is running a few steps ahead of Him, it causes disobedience.
Let’s be careful what we vow to the Lord. At times, in the excitement or desperation of an event, we take on more than what we can really handle. Then realize it wasn’t such a good idea after all.