‘I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break.’Judges 11:35 NIV
It’s easy for us to stick to our principles, standards, and values when things are going well and we’re not facing tough or tempting circumstances. But we can easily give in when someone or something tempts us. Sometimes we make vows to God when we’re in a hard time. We say, ‘If you do this for me, I’ll do whatever you ask’, but how often do we receive our answer to prayer and fail to follow through on what we promised? When Jephthah was called to help Israel defeat the Ammonites, he prayed: ‘If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering’ (Judges 11:30-31 NIV). God came through and answered Jephthah’s prayer. But when Jephthah returned home, it was his daughter who came out to greet him, which meant she would have to be sacrificed. The Bible tells us that he was devastated but said, ‘I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.’ While this is a very extreme example of standing by what we’ve said (we shouldn’t promise to sacrifice or kill people, or to do anything else that goes against God’s commandments), we can take the principle on board. When we’ve promised God that we’ll do a certain thing, or stop doing something, we need to follow through. When we’re clear on how God wants us to live, we need to live that way, even when other people try to persuade us to live their way. Jephthah ended up becoming the judge of Israel for six years, which is another example of people keeping their word (have a read of Judges 11:8-10 and 12:7). We need to be sticking to our principles, even when it’s challenging. What Now? Write a list of principles you live by or promises you’ve made to God. Each morning for the next few days, pray that you would be strong enough to stick to these, no matter what happens.