Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Day 91 of 365 is 25%!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Welcome to Day 91 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Judges 11, 12; Psalms 50; 2 Corinthians 1 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Judges 11 What a horrible story about Jephthah and his daughter… In short, he vowed that if the Lord gave him victory over the Ammonites, whatever came out of the door of his house, he would sacrifice to the Lord. It was his only child… his young daughter.

v 38 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.” 38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed.”

Judges 12:6 “Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time.”

Psalm 50 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

2 Corinthians 1, Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth… He opens with a narrative of his troubles, and reminds them of God’s goodness and faithfulness in all his troubles.

O bservation

I can’t imagine sacrificing my own daughter… And why would God allow this to happen, even to fulfill a vow?? The Bible seems to be silent about this being either good or bad. It’s clear that Jephthah felt he had to fulfill his vow, and his daughter agreed, by her own words… in exchange for her father’s victory over the Ammonites.

Note: Some commentaries try to make a case that she wasn’t really sacrificed… but it’s pretty clear that his vow was to offer whatever came out the door as a burnt offering… and at the end of the chapter, it states “it became a custom in Israel, 40 that the daughters of Israel went yearly to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.”

There would be no need to commemorate her unless she was sacrificed… if the vow were merely her remaining a virgin for her entire life… That scenario just doesn’t make sense in the context.

Having said that, I would have to say, given all the other scripture condemning this practice, God would not accept this as an offering. It would be detestable to Him, regardless of it being in fulfillment of a vow.

See Deuteronomy 18:9-10, “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire…”

Compare it to Abraham offering Isaac and the Angel stopping him…

Again, all the details are silent surrounding the actual sacrificing of his daughter and how God viewed it.

Ok, moving on… sigh…

Additionally, I am stunned by Israel’s infighting amongst themselves… 42,000 killed?! Seriously? The whole “a house divided can not stand” comes to mind.

And I find myself losing all track of time… “Tola led Israel 23 years,” “Jair 22 years,” “Jephthah 6 years,” etc, etc… all the warring. I wonder why in some cases, there are few details, while at other times there is great detail. This period of judges lasts “about” 450 years until the time of Saul. (There were 14 judges from the time of Joshua’s death to the pending reign of Saul.)

Acts 16, “The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; 18 for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; 19 and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.”

A pplication

I honestly don’t know today… I am so stunned by these passages. I could focus on other passages from the Psalm or 2 Corinthians… but I am simply left scratching and shaking my head over the Judges chapters. I can not believe how far Israel has turned from the LORD… No mention of the Tabernacle whatsoever. No worship. Only warring…

What does it mean to me? When I do my application, I simply ponder that question…

What comes to mind is this, 1 Corinthians 10:12, “So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”

P rayer

It’s only by your grace that any of us stands… Amen.

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23 thoughts on “Day 91 of 365 is 25%!

  1. Kelley Flees on said:

    Do not become self reliant. We can so easily rely on our power, but that will only lead to destruction.
    Lord, please help me know when I stop relying on you. My husband, nor family or friends have the answer. I run to you as my strength and shelter.

  2. idbugyou on said:

    I am also amazed at how God was so patient with the Israelites. They turned away from worshiping him so many times and he delivered them again over and over.

    I am so humbled by his grace in my life after all the times that I struggle with sin issues. His love for us is in abundance and his love alone covers all daily struggles that we encounter. I lift his holy name up and give him the glory for all that I have, because without his love and grace I have nothing.

  3. Thank you lord for this beautiful day! I am amazed at the beauty that you provide for us.

  4. Marcia on said:

    Well no one can be absolutely sure, but I prefer to think she was set apart to serve only God. She only seemed to lament her virginity. This was especially grevious for her father who had no other children. What a hard lesson to learn. What it shows though is, like the passages we read about vows, God does not require them, but If we make them we better keep them. Thank you Lord for the blood of Jesus that can break foolish vows.
    Here’s the verse that resonates with me. “who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction.”
    That tells me I can comfort others even though I may not have experienced their particular circumstance. What we give them, what flows through us to others, is God’s comfort. Love that.

    • I’d like to think she was merely set apart as a virgin… Not that it really matters as we read it today. He made an unnecessary vow that cost him dearly, right?

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. These were confusing/conflicting readings for me as well. I agree with Marcia, the end result for Jephtah’s daughter was very simply put, tragic. Her demise is hard to discern.
    In contrast, Paul’s words in 2 corinthians:2-7 spoke volumes to me as a hospice nurse. People often ask me “how can you do that kind of work? Isn’t it depressing?” Sure, watching families grieve and work through the death of a loved one is difficult and draining at times. But also full of blessings and the experiences are powerful and life changing. I never expected to receive as much as I do from them. Hopefully, it is returned in turn to other families through me and my co-workers, the blessings and comfort of our Lord. I’ve also learned that by giving in this way, I receive without ever trying….that’s the blessing. So, here is Paul’s words, as a prayer to all of you who are reading this today:

    2 Corinthians 1:2-7

    2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.t6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

    • Great insight, Cheryl… I took note of those verses as I read, too.

      Hospice does a great job of caring for families in crisis. Thanks for doing what you do! (And for commenting!)

  6. “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. Judges 11:36 NIV

    It’s definitely unclear as to how Jephthah carried out the sacrifice, but clearly he did something. I am in the camp that believes she went into service of the Lord, not actually put to death and burned on the alter. There is no doubt that human sacrifice is detestable, so I don’t think the priests would have carried it out. I am impressed with her obedience either way. I don’t many times I’ve heard people throwing up drunk, saying that if God gets them through this, they’ll never drink again, only to end up drinking soon after. We need to take vows made to God seriously.

    He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 NIV

    We all need prayer, even Paul. We especially need to pray for church leaders. They are prime targets of the enemy.

    Lord, today I lift up our church leaders to you. Protect them and their families. May they hear your voice and lead us as you would have them. In Jesus name. Amen.

    • Just a thought, Shane… There is no indication that the priests would have been involved anyway. Certainly they wouldn’t have participated. (The silence around this issue drives me crazy!) Thanks for posting, as always!

      • No matter what the outcome, it makes me ponder how heart wrenching it would be to sacrifice my child, especially if offered up to purchase the salvation of a group of people who don’t really deserve it and end up going right back to what caused them to need saving in the first place…

  7. Today’s verse 2 Corinthians 1-11 “on him we have continued to set our hope that he will CONTINUE to deliver us. It holds special meaning today as I celebrate 3 years of not smoking. I had pastor Doug pray with me then and laughed when I told him I intended to cheat. God had other plans for me. A shift happened. I lost my wonderful loving parents to lung disease and other family from smoking so a generational curse was broken too. While I face other battles today I left them at His feet after walking thru the doorway of anointing at service. I know He will go ahead of me and set my path.. I am so so overwhelmed that He loves us so much.

  8. Nicole Marvin on said:

    It saddens me that Japhthah would make such a serious vow to God, knowing what the consequences could be. I wonder if he really thought it through. I can’t imagine making that vow-even if it was just a animal from my household that I would have to sacrifice.

    Although sometimes I am quick to do things in the moment-that later I regret. Words can’t be taken back. Once vows are made, they are made. And I should be a person of my word.

    God allows things that I don’t understand. Whether she was sacrificed or had to live in isolation and couldn’t marry. Both seem harsh. Although, if she was sacrificed-then she’s in glory-and that is a gift to her. And if she doesn’t marry then she gets to focus all her attention on Christ-so that is a gift too. I don’t know. I’m glad that God is in control, that he sees the big picture and has plans for me. I don’t have to figure life out. I just get to rest in his arms.

    Thank you, Lord, for who you are. Thank you that you are in control. Thank you for a day to rest.

    • Nicoles post made me think about how I myself made a decision about my business. I sacrificed so much of me and trying to keep it open I lost sight of the gift that God had given me. Which ironically was the business. I had to close after 8years. But I see now that MY desires not His were taking place those final 6MO. I am always grateful for His work He is doing in me. Hard sometimes but His grace and love surround me every minute.

    • Thanks for posting, Nicole… I appreciate your steady approach to your reading and weighing in on the blog. Thanks!

  9. Judges 11. Pondering Jephthah’s situation – I noticed that he was born illegitimately to a prostitute and his family shunned him and denied him any inheritance. I think that’s significant. Later, when he is called to lead a battle to reclaim part of Israel’s inheritance, he makes a foolish vow and winds up in an unspeakably tragic situation. Was his emotional need to reclaim inheritance a strong and dysfunctional driver? It’s irresponsible to “psychoanalyze” and speculate too much here, but I can’t help but imagine that Jephthah’s experience with his own family of origin shaped and formed his emotional framework and his approach to leadership. Jephthah’s vow reads like hyperbole – it’s so extreme and “over the top” that it’s almost like he didn’t mean it literally, but rather was trying to say, “God, I’ll do ANYTHING for you if you’ll grant me victory today.” And yet, in his desperation, he made a strong declarative vow – an irrevocable vow. Sometimes we have to live with the consequences of our impulsivity and stupidity. So tragic. I noted in verse 29 that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah.” God’s anointing was already on him for the battle ahead. There was no need to petition and vow to the Lord for something which God had already ordained and established. There was no need to impress the Lord with boasting about how “sold out” he was. The battle was the Lord’s, it wasn’t Jephthah’s anyway . . .

    God, please heal me of any deep and hidden wound in my heart, soul, or spirit that would prevent me from walking with You in freedom or that would darken or cloud my judgment. Thanks, God.

    • Great insights… No doubt all that affect his thinking and how he responded. Rejection can have a very powerful effect on our lives.

    • To Elizabeth : its great how God works. Yesterday going thru the doorway and line was especially frightening for me as since I had the flu and pneumonia and couldn’t breathe for a month I developed a lot Of panic issues. When I saw you in the line I remembered your story you shared about your own “issues” and how something happened that day that released you from them. That gave me the courage to go thru the doorway and get my anointing and come home to bless my apartment. Even though it was a very emotional and i felt silly crying i was determined to press on. I wanted to email you and was looking but couldn’t find when I received your journal message. Isn’t God so so wonderful!

      • Julie, Praise the Lord! He is SO good! Thanks for sharing – any time we share with each other the ways God works in our lives and puts pieces together it builds faith and encourages our hearts. I really appreciate you taking time to share this testimony with me, and with the online community. By the way, no need to feel silly crying – I cry every time I encounter the Holy Spirit in a profound way. I believe tears are actually a “spiritual gift” sometimes. (I cried the whole way thru the blessing tunnel when I got my turn to pass thru!) I pray God’s complete healing and restoration on your respiratory system and that you will walk in greater joy and freedom this week. God bless you, my sister!

      • Thanks fir more encouragement today. Yes God is been healing me and everyday it gets better and better. I released a lot if generational stuff yesterday and it was so refreshing. I’m happy if my posts helped someone too. God is so at work in us! Yay!

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