I have read the story of Jephthah many times (Judges 11). His faith in God to provide him with victory is impressive, yet his vow was foolish. Every time I have walked away from it with the importance of watching what we vow, looking more towards Matthew 5, where Jesus warns about vows (or swearing an oath).
Jesus, of course, tells us not to make vows, as our word should be good enough.
In today’s reading of this text, Spurgeon points out something that I had never thought of as an option – break the vow. Jephthah made a rash vow, and now he is in a spot. To keep his vow, he has to sacrifice his only daughter. But God finds human sacrifice detestable. How can this be pleasing to God?
As bad as the vow was, carrying it out was even worse.
If carrying out a vow will cause us to sin, and this one did, then we should repent of the sinful vow, and not make things worse by sinning in action after sinning in thought.
Sometimes we only see a limited number of options, or even just one option, before us. God sees the whole picture.
We need to be willing to admit that we don’t have the answers, and seek God for them.
Jephthah, as far as we can see in scripture, never went back to the Lord to inquire as to the Lord’s will in the fulfillment of his vow. When we get ourselves in a bind, how often to we do the same thing?