S21P13 – Portraits of faith: Jephthah

Judges 11:35
And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.”

A person of great faith carries several integral characteristics. These traits mirror those which we find in the God in whom our faith lies. Jephthah made a promise to God to give up something unknown in exchange for gaining the victory over his enemies. Ultimately, Jephthah’s daughter would be that which he had to relinquish. As she was an only child, this meant the end of Jephthah’s bloodline. And according to his vow, Jephthah faithfully gave up his daughter after God delivered the Ammonites into his hands.

When we have faith in God, we expect him to be loyal and committed to his word. If we thought He would behave otherwise, we would not have faith in him. As we walk with God and experience his faithfulness we in turn exhibit that same faithfulness. Jephthah’s commitment to his word flowed from this wellspring even though it may have been the hardest thing for him to do in his life. He understood what it meant to make a vow to the Lord. It meant that he would have to act according to his word just as God acts according to his word.

Confessing faith in God is not simply confessing faith in his loyalty and faithfulness; it is a confession of our loyalty and faithfulness to him. If we have faith in the Lord we should expect that we will progressively emulate those characteristics of God that solidify our faith in him. His faithfulness brings out faithfulness in us; his loyalty brings out loyalty in us. Father, as we grow in our faith in You, instill in us the character to keep our word and be trustworthy to act according to our vows even when it is difficult or painful to do so.