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This character made a stupid vow that he likely didn’t carry out
Photo by Joshua Sukoff / Unsplash

This character made a stupid vow that he likely didn’t carry out

Tonight, I’m at Vacation Bible School (VBS).

When our girls were little, we’d take them to every possible VBS we could find. Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Church of Christ, Church of God, Catholic, Free Range, Wiccan, didn’t matter.

Most were surprisingly homogenous. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they all bought their VBS material from the same place — maybe Nashville!

But that’s just a guess.

The church where I am tonight has, for the adult class, set up tents inside the building with tables of food. There are signs on each tent: Sweets, Drinks, Appetizers, Chips, and Dips. It is an efficient setup. The wall behind the podium reads “He-brews Café” with a large picture of a cup of coffee.

On the PowerPoint projector, the slide reads:

“Foolish vows and their fatal consequences.”

I start thinking about all the foolish promises I’ve made. As the list quickly grows, I realize this ain’t a good idea and return to the food.

I can relate to making foolish decisions.

Buying a Yugo rates at the top of the list.

The church is only about 20% full at the moment — but more are trickling in.

The chocolate chip cookies are excellent. I expected no less at a church potluck. I turned down a cup of coffee because I didn’t want to be up all night and instead went for the sweet tea.

I really need to work on my reasoning skills.

A few minutes later and we’re almost at 80% capacity. Almost everyone is balancing a Styrofoam plate, napkin, and cup as the speaker begins his lesson.

I just noticed that there are coffee pots and bags of coffee beans propped up around the room. Now the “He-brews” theme makes more sense.

I really need to work on my observation skills too.

So, the bible character for discussion is a dude named Jephthah.

Old Jephthah got in a bad situation during a battle, prayed to God for help, and promised that he would sacrifice the first thing that walked out of his house when he returned home.

Does anyone think this is problematic?

I wonder what in the world could possibly walk out of his front door?

Obviously, he didn’t consider that his daughter would be the “first thing” that sashayed out.

Just to. be clear here: Jephthah allegedly agreed to sacrifice his daughter to God as a human sacrifice because…. wait for it…

She was the first thing that walked out the front door of the house.

Wouldn’t he expect his family to greet him after a long absence?

I've been on the receiving end of a welcome home greeting many times after being away on government service.

Does God even accept human sacrifice?

While I do not believe that this character followed through with this insane promise, it’s still a good lesson on making foolish decisions.

Unfortunately, the dysfunctional group portrayed in the bible never really learned: Rebel, God disciplines; Israel repents, God delivers.

Rinse and repeat.

Sometimes I feel just like the Israelites, stuck in a revolving door, looking for a way out of the messes I’ve created.

And sometimes in the midst of my self-inflicted troubles, the Free Range churches start to look really appealing.

Image by kirillslov from Pixabay