Judges 11:30-31King James Version (KJV)
30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
31 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.
Have you ever bargained for something you already owned? Probably not. What would be the point? If it's yours, you shouldn't need to barter or bargain for it.
Jephthah is an interesting man in the Book of Judges. He was an outcast from his family because his mother was a working girl. Despite his humble beginnings, he grew up to be a 'man of valor' and when his father's other children found themselves in dire straits, they called on Jephthah to lead the armies to victory.
Jephthah took and interesting approach to challenge the kingdom that was threatening the Israelites. He sent word to the king of the Ammonites, detailing the many times that God had gone before the children of Israel to remove the enemies. Basically, he told the Ammonite king, you're arguments is with God, not us. But, the enemy king did not heed the words and war was on.
Then, Jephthah did something unusual. He made the vow recorded above. Now, whether is was done from a point of arrogance or doubt, I'm not sure. But, it was interesting that after sharing all this history with the Ammonite king that he felt the need to 'bargain' with God by offering to sacrifice whatever walked through his door if he returned victorious. The tragedy was that first through his door following victory was his daughter offering congratulations. She later honored her father's vow.
We should be fully persuaded that God is with and for us. Time after time throughout His word, this sentiment is stated and restated. And as if that wasn't enough, He offered His own Son as a perfect sacrifice to seal the promise in blood as proof that His word toward us was true.
Beloved, God loves you. Not some far off, pie in the sky, isn't that a nice thing to say love, but a real, tangible, in your face, everyday kind of love. God's love toward us is deep, pure and very much a part of our everyday lives. He wants us with Him forever...not just in the ever after, but starting right now for forever. It's a love that is genuine and available for the receiving.
We don't have to bargain for this love. We don't earn this love. We receive this love. We honor this love by following what Micah said (He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? - Micah 6:8). Follow His teachings and commandments, receive the fullness of His mercy and grace and walk with Him...not against or ahead of Him, but with Him in humility, open enough to receive from Him with the expectation of good and not evil. Tender before Him, with all the respect that a loving father deserves.
Our God is truly an awesome God, Who has withheld nothing and no one on our behalf. His love for you and me is full and sweet. Don't bargain for it. Just take it in.
Romans 4:20-5:2King James Version (KJV)
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 8:35-39King James Version (KJV)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This year, be fully persuaded. Peace.
Lifeline is produced from the Evangelistic Ministry of Fellowship Church in Jonesboro, GA. You are encouraged to share this message. The Fellowship Church website (www.fcchosengeneration.com) includes a link to the Lifeline Blog (www.lifelineatfellowship.blogspot.com) where you can find previous messages.
Evangelist Robinson also posts her entries on Facebook and Twitter. To subscribe to the mailing, or for questions and comments, tweet (@evangeliststeff) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.