Friday, August 31, 2007

That Jephthah Thing

In my quiet time the other day, I was reading about Jephthah (if you don't know the story, you can read all about it in the Bible, in Judges Chapter 11.) Here, in the midst of a time when God's people are running around helter-skelter, each following their own way, God raises up Jephthah. He is a "mighty man of valor", and the Lord pretty much empowers him to gather the folks of Gilead together (a pretty amazing feat in itself) and defeat the Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites (a more amazing feat!) But what Jephthah did when the Lord blessed him with the first adrenaline rush of success, is make a wild and rash vow: if the Lord continued giving victory, Jephthah would sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house when he went home. Jephthah thought he was being faithful. But in reality, Jephthah was taking on the presuppositions of the neighboring peoples. their gods were the ones who loved human sacrifice. It was abhorrent to the true God.

So, God continues to care for His people, and brings victory to Jephthah, and then he returns home, and what comes out of his house first, but his daughter. And this mighty man of valor allows his pride to refuse to admit the error of his vow, and he does the abominable.

Our pastor preached last Sunday from 1 Corinthians 3, and made the statement that the way we often deceive our own hearts is by justifying our actions as godly when in fact they are anything but. How often have I done the abominable? How often am I so embroiled in the world, or in MY world (the Cosmos of Chris, where everything revolves around me) that I don't even see that I am worshiping like the pagans, with human sacrifices left and right so that my comfort, my joy, my pleasure may be full?

I am trying to learn that I need to die to self on the Lord's altar, and stop sacrificing others, and fooling myself.