Scripture – Judges 11:34-35
Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 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.”
I have just gotten back from a Friday morning date with my daughter, Bella, who is nearly two years old. We went for a walk in the rain, got some breakfast at a local café; she had warm milk and I had a coffee. It was a sweet time. I love her so much.
Reading this passage is hard. It tells the story of a father making a vow to God that he would sacrifice the first thing to come out of his house upon his return from battle. The first thing to come out was his only child, his daughter, innocent and pure.
I cannot imagine the anguish and sorrow in his heart the moment he saw her and remembered his vow.
As I read this I think of two things.
1. Be very careful about making vows.
2. Make every moment with my daughter count.
Every breath is a gift from God. All on heaven and on earth is his, including those we hold so dear, including our children. As a father, I never want to take for granted the precious moments with my children. Although sometimes I do. God my Father has every right to take my children at any moment, for any reason. It is my prerogative to enjoy them every moment I can. As I think about being the priest of my home, I want my children to know how much I love them, but more importantly, I want them to know how much Jesus loves them.
I would die for them. Jesus already did die for them.
Father, thank you for reminding me of the precious gift my daughter, Bella, is to me. Thank you that in less than two months I will have another baby girl, Chloe, to love and cherish. Help me to take seriously the honor and responsibility to love them as much as you love them and to continually point them towards you. I am blessed. You are my dad and I love you. In Jesus’ name, amen.