The Bible never gives the name of the only child of Jephtah who was offered unto God as per the vow that he had taken before leading God’s people in the war with the Ammonites.
This tragic story shows a prominent principle from God’s Word – that the totality of things should have preference over individual or personal concerns. Now this principle is not merely dictated by God, it was painfully demonstrated by the God the Father in the offering of His only begotten Son for the salvation of the world.
Coming back to Jephtah’s daughter, her willingness to honour God by the fulfilment of the vow that her father had unwittingly made was accompanied by a request. “To tread upon the mountains, with her companions, weeping for her virginity, for two months.”
- She is not named – but she chose to honour God, even when it meant death to her young life.
- She is not named – but she chose to celebrate the deliverance of God’s people even though it was her lot to be delivered to death.
- She is not named – but she chose to live the life of a pilgrim on this earth.
- She is not named – but she chose to spend her days in lamentation and not in worldly indulgence.
Life is short and death is certain. It was two months for her. It may be two years or two decades or may be two score years for us.
But, how do we choose to live?
Do we choose to walk on the higher ground, based on God’s Word, denying the self, and carrying the cross?
Or will we go the broad way of destruction, based on bodily desires, soulish ambitions, and worldly principles.
Can we follow the path of the Jephtah’s daughter, whose name we do not know? However, in treading upon the mountains, she did show us the way to live on Higher Ground.
- Forsake our very right to live for the higher plane of honouring God.
- Forsake our need to be delivered for the higher ground of God delivering many others.
- Forsake our desire to be secure and settled for the higher plane of the pilgrim walk.
- Forsake our bodily desires and soulish ambitions for the higher ground of communion with God, which is characterized by life of prayer, fasting, lamentation, repentance, solitude, and silence.
For no one, nobody is exempted; all have to exit from this world. A Christian pilgrim walks consciously to his/her exit, making every moment count.
Jephtah’s daughter died young and died as a virgin. In the contemporary culture of indulgence and gratification, her life may be seen as a sad case, a tragedy. But we need to look at it in another perspective –
How many of us in the present generation will have at least 60 days of our entire life dedicated to abstinence and spiritual formation in an environment of mourning and lamentation.
If all that we live for is this world then what do we gain for eternity? On the other hand, if a small life matters much for God’s kingdom and eternity, does it matter that no one actually knows us by our name?
Can we seek to live by that old hymn, praying as we go –
“A higher plane than I have found, Lord lead me on to higher ground….”