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Let The Principles of Faith Work In Your Life

 Let The Principles of Faith Work In Your Life

That is, 

Count The Cost Before Making Commitment To God.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 (NIV) 1Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

When we gather together for corporate worship, we need to be especially conscious of what we are saying. Modern worship services often focus on one preacher. How important it is that his words be clear and to the point! If there is humour, it needs to be applicable and appropriate.

We can be easily moved by emotion and the appeal of the sermon to make a vow to God. This passage warns us not to be hasty in our hearts to utter anything before God. Be sure that it is at the direction of the Holy Spirit and that you have counted the cost before making commitments to God.

To make a vow to the Almighty is a serious thing. When God promises something to you, you can count on it coming to pass. We are to be like Him, faithful to our word. Use caution not to fill the air with words just to avoid silence. God often speaks to us in the silence.

When you come together to worship, come to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. Expect Him to meet you there. Take what He has said seriously. Take it with you through the week and determine how God would have you respond. Count the cost and then make the commitment.

Consider: What steps can I take to remember and cling to the Spirit’s direction?

Let us learn from the commitment of faith through Jephthah

Scripture References: Hebrews 11:32; Judges 11:1-40

Hebrews 11:32

32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:

Jephthah, mentioned next in Hebrews Eleven, and presented to us in Judges 11:1-40, is a strange character. His life was full of paradoxes, a mixture of vice and virtue, good and bad, triumph and disaster, the shedding of blood and the shedding of tears; but the principle of faith was at work in his life, and it is for this reason that he is mentioned in Hebrews Eleven. He was “a mighty warrior” (Judges 11:1), but he was an illegitimate child. This, of course, was not his fault, but in his case it proved to be a great handicap, for his family cast him out and disinherited him (verse 2). ‘His was not the sin, but his was the shame’. Here is a picture of social injustice, and it is still very prevalent today.

Branded as an outcast, there seemed only one thing for Jephthah to do –- see verse 3; but unfortunately in taking this course he found himself associating with, and surrounded by, the wrong sort of ‘‘friends’’, and he became a leader in vice –- look up and compare Psalm 1:1 and Luke 15:13.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

Luke 15:13 (NKJV)

13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.

What a testing time it is for young people when they leave home and go out into the world, and how essential it is that they go, not alone, but in the safe companionship of the Lord Jesus –- Let us look up Hebrews 13:5-6!

 Hebrews 13:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”[a] So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Then, we are told, war threatened Israel and Jephthah (of all people) was sent for and commanded to lead the Israelites into battle –- look up Judges 11:4-8. Jephthah agreed to be their captain (verses 8-11), and the closing phrase in verse 11 is the first indication we have of his faith in God. Please read on through the chapter, and particularly notice verses 30-31 and 34-40.

Let us get something straight about God.

God is a God that Keep Promises 

Hebrews 13:5-13:6

(Gen 28:15 KJV) And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

God is giving us a wonderful 5-point from this wonderful verse of scripture. We must remember that God is no respecter of persons. What He has promised others in His Word He also gives freely all things. Some of the promises are like the almond tree–they blossom hastily in the very earliest spring. But, he says, there are others, which resemble the mulberry tree- -they, are very slow in putting forth their leaves. Then what is a man to do, if he has a mulberry tree promise, which is late in blossoming? Why, he is to wait till it does! If the vision tarries, wait for it to come, and the appointed time shall surely bring it.

  1. I am with thee. 

(Heb 13:5 KJV) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

A: Know He is always with us we can then say:

(Heb 13:6 KJV) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. God never made a promise that was too good to be true. D.L. Moody,

11 He will keep thee in all places whither thou goest,

Not only is He with us but also He keeps us.

(Exo 23:20 KJV) Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.

  1. This is why it is important to walk in the perfect Will of God.
  2. God will either give you what you ask, or something far better.

III. He will bring thee again into this land

  1. Goes with us all the way even on the detours of life.
  2. One day He will welcome us home.

(Psa 91:11 KJV) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (Luke 4:10 KJV) For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:

  1. Important, Jesus mentions it again here.
  2. Pastor Allen in Ohio was questioning the Lord Why? He had a vision after his heart attack and split in his church of Jesus with the sandals on feet of Jesus.

When he questioned the Lord, Jesus spoke to his heart and

Said that the road He walked for us was long and rough. It brought peace to his heart.

  1. Jesus said, “I will not leave thee,”

(Mat 28:20 KJV) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

(Jer 42:11 KJV) Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand.

(Hag 1:13 KJV) Then spake Haggai the LORDʼS messenger in the LORDʼS message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.

  1. I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

He will keep His promises.

  1. He then wants us to carry on His work.

(John 14:12 KJV) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

(Psa 107:22 KJV) And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

God answers prayer; sometimes, when hearts are weak,
He gives the very gifts believers seek.
But often faith must learn a deeper rest,
And trust Godʼs silence, when He does not speak;
For he whose name is Love will send the best.
Stars may burn out nor mountain walls endure,
But God is true; His promises are sure
To those who speak.

The vow which Jephthah made was a definite act of commitment before the Lord, and it is about this that we are to think now.

  1. Jephthah’’s vow was a commitment of faith.

See what we read in verses 30 and 31 –- “If you give……I will sacrifice…”…” It was certainly a very strange vow for a man to make, but surely in it we see an indication of Jephthah’’s faith in God. It is as though he said, ‘’Lord, I must have your help, and if you will help me and give victory over our enemies, then I promise you I will…’…’ Jephthah cast himself upon the providence of God. Maybe it was a rash vow that he made, but the point is he was willing to trust God, and it is this which was so precious to the Lord. The one thing that the Lord wants of His children is that they learn to trust Him, to “live by faith, not by sight” – let us look up 2 Corinthians 5:7.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

2. Jephthah’’s vow was solemn and binding.

It was made, as verse 30 tells us, ”to the Lord””, and it is significant that in the previous verse we are told that “”the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah”” (verse 29). Did you ever realise that while we are not compelled to make vows, if we do so the Lord will hold us to our word? –- let us look up Deuteronomy 23:21-23.

 Deuteronomy Deut. 23:21-23New King James Version (NKJV)

21 “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you. 22 But if you abstain from voting, it shall not be sin to you. 23 That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform, for you voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.

We sometimes forget the vows we have made before the Lord, but God never forgets them, and it is for this reason that having made the vow we cannot go back! –- see what verse 35 says.

  1. Jephthah’’s vow was made voluntarily.

There was no obligation for him to make the vow, for God had not demanded it. But having made it, it was now binding –- let us look up Numbers 30:2.

Numbers 30:2 New King James Version (NKJV) If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

If we make a solemn promise before the Lord, unless our promise involves something which is altogether contrary to His will, we cannot go back. If we have committed ourselves to the Lord in some specific way, concerning some specific matter, we must

seek grace to keep our word. Is the Holy Spirit reminding you of some vow you made to the Lord which still awaits fulfilment? There is a good bit of advice in John 2:5!

John 2:5 (NKJV)

His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.  

4. Jephthah’’s vow was made at a time of crisis.

It was made on the eve of battle, as we learn from Judges 11:30-31. Most vows are made in a time when we are hard pressed and feel our desperate need of God’s help and deliverance. Look up the following references, and be sure to make the necessary spiritual application to your own life –- Genesis 28:20-22; 1 Samuel 1:10-11; Psalm 66:13-14; Jonah 1:16 and 2:9. Did you make some vow when you were seriously ill, or when you were unemployed, or when you were in some other trouble? Have you fulfilled your vow?

5. Jephthah’’s vow was shattering in its demands.

Read Judges 11:34-35 again and try to take in the whole situation. Surely this man must have been tempted to break his vow! We are not told that he was thus tempted, but could it have been otherwise? Do you think that Matthew 10:37-38 fits in rather appropriately just here? It may be that you have been tested along this line? If so, seek grace to honour the Lord, and He will surely honour you –- look up 1 Samuel 2:30.

1 Samuel 2:30 (NKJV)

30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honour Me I will honour, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.

  1. Jephthah’’s vow involved another life.

Yes, and what a truly noble life it was! How wonderfully Jephthah’’s daughter responded to this new and terrible situation, as we learn from verse 36! Another beautiful illustration of perfect submission is found in Luke 1:38, and yet another outstanding example is found in 1 Samuel 3:18!

Luke 1:38 (NKJV)

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

1 Samuel 3:18 (NKJV)

18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”

  1. Jephthah’’s vow was fully performed.

We do not know whether his daughter was actually offered as a burnt offering or whether she was simply devoted to a life of perpetual virginity, which was a tragic fate, for every Jewish girl hoped she would be the mother of the Messiah. What we do know is that whatever Jephthah intended when he made the vow, he performed it to the very letter.

We cannot conclude this study in a better way than by joining Judges 11:35 with Luke 9:62 –

Judges 11:35 (NKJV)

35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it.”

Luke 9:62 New King James Version (NKJV).”

62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

“I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break”; for, “No-one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

 

God bless you all.

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