Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 11:30-31, 34-35
"And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.
And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, 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 or daughter.
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back."
So I sat a little horrified that Jephthah vow meant that he now offered his daughter up as a burnt offering. His daughter because she knew this was her father's vow to the Lord agreed that it needed to be done. I didn't get it, the Lord doesn't require human sacrifices. What about what happened with Abraham and Isaac? At least there an angel of the Lord stopped Abraham, and a ram appeared to be sacrificed in Isaac's place.
So what is the difference between these two stories? With the test of Abraham the Lord asked him to sacrifice Isaac. Then after being tested in his obedience the Lord required it no more. With Jephthah he made the vow on his own in the exchange for his safe return. I think the problem was Jephthah challenged the Lord, where Abraham didn't. It makes me wonder if the spirit even inspired Jephthah to make that vow? He may have just done it on his own, not thinking of its possible implications. That makes me really think about how serious it is to make deals with the Lord. I know when I was younger I used to do that. I haven't done that in many years. I certainly don't think its a good idea now. That's not how God works. I do things simply because I love him, and have faith that he will bless me if I am seeking to do his will.