I remember reading about missionaries in the South Pacific Islands condemning certain tropical fruits because they symbolized unrighteous passions. Meanwhile, they were dying of scurvy and malnutrition. Yet the word was clear about food. Acts 10:14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. What are we so religiously overcharged in this day that we are presenting a false tutorial to the world concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Phil. 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
What if the first church I had walked into and there was someone with a placard that said, “God Hates Sinners!” What chance would I have had? Is the answer to stand on the other side of the street with a sign that says, “God Hates Those Who Judge” Again, no, God does not hate anybody. He loves us and wants us to come to a place of repentance and salvation in His son Jesus Christ.
Like many people today, Jephthah knew just enough religion to be dangerous and take the word of God out of context. Judges 11:30 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 comes 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.
So Jephthah does defeat them with the Lord’s help. Judges 11:32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. Jephthah returns home and his daughter comes out to meet him. He then says something a person who does not know God would say. Judges 11:35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.
The law of Moses was clear that there were to be no human sacrifices in Israel and that there were substitutes and offerings that could be made for vows and oaths. History says that his daughter was sent into exile and remained a virgin for the rest of her life. That being a virgin for the rest of her life was as good as dead. What a disaster not knowing God’s word brought to this family. What a pathetic chain of events that can come out of not knowing the freedom and truth that comes from knowing a loving God and His word.
The problem was that Israel had become servants of false demanding gods that required human sacrifices and the Israelites translated their knowledge of the unholy gods to what they thought God was like. Yet the God they no longer knew had delivered their forefathers into the promised land they now existed in. The problem was that they knew about gods but did not know the eternal God. Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.