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March 18 Today’s Reading: — Judges 10-12
“I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.”
Gideon was a farmer. Barak was a soldier. Samson was a Nazarite. David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons and was despised by his brothers. Samuel was the first person used by God in his service while he was still a child. Our great God delights to use weak, insignificant, despised instruments to accomplish his greatest works in this world (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
God’s Chosen Instrument
This fact is never more demonstrably illustrated than in the case of Jephthah. Jephthah was born in shame, the bastard son of a harlot (Judges 11:1, 2). As such, he bore all his life the pain and shame of his mother’s base, bestial immorality. He was by law excluded from the congregation of Israel (Deuteronomy 23:2). But Jephthah was beloved of God, chosen in Christ, and ordained as an instrument by whose hand he would save his people.
The Lord God poured out his Spirit upon Jephthah and exalted him to the highest dignity and usefulness among his people. Jephthah was one of God’s elect. As such, he was prospered by God in all that he did. No outward condition, be it ever so base, can hinder God’s purpose, or thwart his grace.
God Honoring Faith
Jephthah feared God (Judges 11:9-10) and believed his Word (Judges 11:14-27). His faith was evident in ascribing Israel’s conquests to the Lord (Judges 11: 21, 23). He called on the God of all truth to judge between Israel and Ammon (Judges 11 27).
The Lord God honored the faith that honored him by delivering the Ammonites into Jehpthah’s hand. Jephthah’s fidelity and perseverance in the faith is seen in the keeping of his vow (Judges 11:30-32). He had no idea that the one who would come out of his house and be the first to meet him would be his only child. But when he saw her, though his vow caused him great pain, he kept it. He said, “I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.” In accordance with his oath, he offered his only child as a burnt-offering to God, banning her to continual virginity.
Let us follow noble Jephthah’s example of faith. In our baptism we publicly avowed ourselves God’s forever, willing burnt-offerings to our God (Romans 6:4-6). Let us live as those who are God’s. When we united with God’s people in church membership, we publicly wed ourselves to God’s saints in that local assembly. Let us live for the good of and serve the interests and needs of that local assembly into which God has placed us. Brothers and sisters in the household of faith serve one another in love. They seek not to be served, but to serve.
What a great example God the Holy Spirit sets before us in the man Jephthah! I know that all of God’s elect are preserved by the grace of God in Christ. Not one of the chosen shall ever be lost. Not one of the redeemed shall ever be damned. Not one of the called shall ever perish. Not one true believer shall come short of eternal glory. But I also know that true believers never quit. They never stop following Christ. They never cease to seek the way of God, the will of God, and the glory of God. They will be tried. They will be tempted. Satan will roar against them, but he cannot devour them. The world will press them and caress them, calling them away from Christ. But the believer, like Jephthah of old, has opened his mouth to the Lord and cannot go back. He will persevere. Those who forsake Christ never knew Christ, for if they had known him, they could not have forsaken him.