Battleground Earth 14: Vows and Inheritances - David Mitts

"And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, "If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.""  Jdg11:30-31 (NKJV)

Click here to listen to "Vows and Inheritances"

Last chapter we shared about the issue of legitimacy, rejection, and the forging of a leader through the fires of rejection. Jephthah was born outside of the wedding covenant to Gilead and an unnamed harlot, an ishah zona”.  We saw how rejection was an essential part of destiny for Jephthah and how leaders are often built out of the fires of affliction.

Jephthah was raised up as a Judge in Israel to deliver Israel from the Ammonites, whose name means the mob. The mob employs the power of bullying and rejection. It was the mob that screamed “crucify him” about Yeshua.

"So they cried out again, "Crucify Him!" Then Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they cried out all the more, "Crucify Him!" So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified."  Mar 15:13-15 (NKJV)

Jephthah lived with the spirit of rejection. Once he decided to engage the mob, the Ammonites, he knew that only with God’s anointing could he hope to succeed. His initial strategy was negotiation. Look with me at Judges 11:12

"Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon, saying, "What do you have against me, that you have come to fight against me in my land?""  Jdg 11:12 (NKJV)

Like most mobs, their weapon is not the truth but the threat of fear and intimidation. The Ammonites respond with a false narrative, the fake news of their day:

"And the king of the people of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, "Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore, restore those lands peaceably.""  Jdg11:13 (NKJV)

This narrative is untrue. Jephthah responds thinking all he has to do to fix the problem is to clear up the false narrative. This is a common misunderstanding of people who feel wronged by a falsehood, just tell the truth and all will be well. What is often misunderstood is that the false narrative has nothing to do with the truth, it is a rationale for provocation, not reality:

Jephthah tells the true story as recorded in the scriptures and sums it up with an appeal to God as the arbiter of truth and the defender of the right story.

"Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you wronged me by fighting against me. May the LORD, the Judge, render judgment this day between the children of Israel and the people of Ammon.' ""  Jdg 11:27 (NKJV)

The Ammonites however serve Chemosh, not Yahweh and this is also a spiritual issue of territorial conquest by the gods. They deny Jephthah’s attempts to negotiate.

"However, the king of the people of Ammon did not heed the words which Jephthah sent him."  Jdg 11:28 (NKJV)

Now, that Jephthah has placed the warfare in spiritual terms, God responds by anointing Jephthah with His Spirit:

"Now the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, so that he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon."  Jdg 11:29 (NASB)

The anointing of the Lord is all that is necessary to win any battle. Jephthah though is still carrying the spirit of rejection. He looks at himself and doubt creeps into his heart. The mob is large, and fear grips his soul. In response, he makes a vow to negotiate with God.

"Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, "If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.""  Jdg 11:30-31 (NASB)

Now, the only thing that can come out of his house is what is in his house, his wife and daughter. Somewhere inside he knows that it will be his daughter. We have to question, why would he do such a thing? Does God require such a vow? No. The gods of Chemosh and Molech would. They are gods who require child fire sacrifice, NOT the God of Israel. Doesn’t Jephthah know this? I believe he does. I believe he knows Yahweh would never receive a child fire sacrifice. In fact, I think he is actually demonstrating his dependence on God’s love nature. God didn’t take Isaac but provided the ram. God will not take Jephthah’s daughter either as a burnt offering but will receive her as a picture of the church. We will see this but first, let’s fight the battle:

"So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD gave them into his hand. He struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer to the entrance of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel." Jdg 11:32-33 (NASB)

Jephthah returns home, the conqueror.

"When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. Now she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, "Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are among those who trouble me; for I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot take it back.""  Jdg 11:34-35 (NASB)

Jephthah’s daughter is his only link to a natural heir. He says an interesting thing here. He states she has brought him very low. The Hebrew word is “cara” and it means to bow down before a king. Jephthah who has won the war and now is the ruler of Gilead, must bow before the true king, God. Then he states that his daughter has troubled him, which is the Hebrew verb “akar” which literally means to stir up the waters. I think what is happening is that Jephthah is facing the reality of who God is. He is being humbled and stirred by the Spirit and realizes that his vow is no mere words but a covenant with God.

His daughter also knows this and responds appropriately:
"So she said to him, "My father, you have given your word to the LORD; do to me as you have said, since the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the sons of Ammon." She said to her father, "Let this thing be done for me; let me alone two months, that I may go to the mountains and weep because of my virginity, I and my companions." Then he said, "Go." So he sent her away for two months; and she left with her companions, and wept on the mountains because of her virginity. At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her according to the vow which he had made; and she had no relations with a man. Thus it became a custom in Israel, that the daughters of Israel went yearly to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year."  Jdg 11:36-40 (NASB)

Many interpret this as Jephthah sacrificed his daughter physically. This never would have happened in Israel because child sacrifice was an abomination to the Lord. If we look at his daughter’s words and what is on her mind, it is her virginity.  She was weeping that she would know no man. The final verse makes that clear, “she” had no relations with a man.  For a childbearing woman in Israel, this was like death. Bearing children through marriage covenant was a fulfillment of a daughter’s heart.

What can we learn from this? Let’s recount the parallels between Jephthah and Yeshua. Both were persecuted and rejected by their brothers.  Both had a mother who was of questionable reputation. Both fulfilled their purpose through the persecution and the rejection of the mob. So how does Jephthah’s vow and daughter fit in? 

The vow was a "sanctification" of Jephthah’s life. Through the vow, he tied Himself to the Lord and specifically the fruit of his life, his daughter.  The daughter was, as a result of the vow, an offering to the Lord. She became a dedicated virgin to the Lord, married to Him alone.  She didn’t know any carnal relations and bore no natural offspring. In this way, the daughter of Jephthah is a picture of the church.  The church is Holy to the Lord, His bride alone.  It bears no natural children. Even though believers have natural children, they only become the children of the Lord supernaturally through the new birth.  In this way, the church is the daughter of Jephthah.

What is really interesting is that the daughters of Zion would yearly commemorate the consecration of Jephthah’s daughter. This is in remembrance of her sacrifice. What is sacrificed is her natural inheritance for an inheritance of the Spirit. Jephthah under the anointing of the Spirit felt led to sacrifice his natural inheritance through his daughter unto the Lord for a spiritual inheritance. We know he obtained that inheritance because he is mentioned in Hebrews 11:32-40:

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousnessobtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockingsand scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.  Heb 11:32-40 NASB

This verse puts a demand on us that we look at Jephthah’s sacrifice through the eyes of the resurrection of Yeshua and the establishment of the kingdom. Notice that there is not a mention of the death of a daughter. Instead, there is mention of acts of righteousness and receiving approval through faith. 

Faith is a two-way street. There is the word of God but there is also the speaking of man. Jephthah, whose name means an opening of the mouth, declares an oath to God, the sanctification of his natural lineage through his daughter becoming consecrated to God. Because of this, his sacrifice changes the spiritual atmosphere of the kingdom and the mob is vanquished.

One final point. After the battle, the scripture records the whining and threats of the Ephraimites, the largest tribe of Israel.

Then the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, "Why did you cross over to fight against the sons of Ammon without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you." Jdg 12:1 NASB

Having defeated the external mob, the Ammonites, now the internal mob threatens to burn down Jephthah’s house. I cannot but notice the similar strategies of mobs today on American soil burning down houses in a similar spirit of protesting the perceived wrongs of the deliverer. Jephthah responds:

Jephthah said to them, "I and my people were at great strife with the sons of Ammon; when I called you, you did not deliver me from their hand. "When I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the sons of Ammon, and the LORD gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?" Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought Ephraim; and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, "You are fugitives of Ephraim, O Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh." The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan opposite Ephraim. And it happened when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, "Let me cross over," the men of Gilead would say to him, "Are you an Ephraimite?" If he said, "No," then they would say to him, "Say now, 'Shibboleth.'" But he said, "Sibboleth," for he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus there fell at that time 42,000 of Ephraim. Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the cities of GileadJdg 12:2-7 NASB

This is the judgment that happens on those who cannot be grateful for the deliverance of God, choosing to criticize the man of God, in his imperfections.

Activation: Gratitude: What have you been ungrateful for? It’s time to count our blessings.


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