If Only Dads Could Be More Like Jephthah

1st John 2:16…For all that is in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Jesus was tempted by the devil in Matthew Chapter Four with all three while in the wilderness.

  1. Lust of the eyes…He was SHOWN all the kingdoms of the world.
  2. Lust of the flesh…He was tempted to satisfy his fleshly hunger by turning stones to bread while fasting.
  3. Pride of life…He was tempted to use His position as Christ and be very well protected by the angels, though it was not His time to do so, and not the way it was to be revealed.

Others who succumbed to the temptations:

  1. Lust of the Eyes:
    1. David seeing Bathsheba and committing adultery (biblical example)
    2. Those who indulge in pornography (modern day example)
  2. Lust of the Flesh:
    1. Cain killing Abel in a fit of jealous rage (biblical example)
    2. Woody Hayes punching an opposing player out of anger (modern day example)
  3. Pride of life:
    1. Jephthah wanted to gain his position at all costs, including disregarding other people (biblical example)
    2. Corrupt politicians in politics only for what they can get for themselves and not to serve the people (modern day example)

Sometimes when a person gives in to temptation and ultimately sins, the consequences can be so severe that it becomes their defining moment and all their accomplishments take a back seat to their misstep.

Adam and Eve are forever known now for their “original sin.” But the fact that we see both Cain and Abel bringing sacrifices to the Lord shows me they ended up being godly parents raising both their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)

Tiger Woods’ accomplishments and records in golf will forever be overshadowed by his 12 known mistresses…most of whom looked very similar, obviously showing that he gave in to the lust of the eyes.

Woody Hayes had almost a .750 winning percentage and coached Ohio State University to five national championships, but he is forever remembered for punching an opposing player for intercepting his quarterback, giving in to his lust of the flesh.

When Moses saw the Egyptian harming a Hebrew, he lost control in a fit of rage and killed the Egyptian and fled. Moses also gave in to the lust of the flesh as he was controlled by his raw emotions.

Jephthah (Judges 11) is forever known for impulsively offering his daughter up to God as a burnt offering because he let his pride get to him. Yet it overshadows many character traits of his that we should adopt as dads and men. Oddly enough, it’s that one act of impulsively offering up his daughter to be sacrificed that we gain insight into how much of a godly man and godly dad he really was.


  1. Jephthah had an auspicious start in life (Judges 11:1-2)
    1. He was the son of a harlot
    2. He was illegitimate
    3. He was rejected by his brothers
    4. He was kicked out of his home
  1. He had good leadership qualities and abilities (Judges 11:3)
    1. Vain men gravitated toward him
    2. He was able to organize and lead this group of mercenaries or marauders.
    3. This caught the eye of the men in Gilead
    4. Leadership capabilities, in the home especially, is what God expects in men
      1. Ephesians 5:23 (in the home)
      2. 1st Timothy 3:2-5 (in the home and church)
  1. He was a forgiving man (Judges 11:4-11)
    1. He did not make the rulers of Gilead beg or grovel when they came to him for help in delivering them from the Ammonites
    2. He did not lord it over them
    3. He was willing to work WITH them AGAINST the enemy. As men, we must forgive each other and work together to fight the enemy (Satan) and help deliver the unsaved.
    4. He acted the same way Joseph did when his brothers, who tried to kill him, came to him in need.
    5. God is the same way with us when we essentially “kick Him out” of our lives only to run to Him for help when we are facing difficult situations…the way Jephthah was kicked out from his home, only to be approached in time of need by the very people who kicked him out of their lives.
  1. Jephthah used the head on his shoulders (Judges 11:15-27)
    1. He was not an ignorant man
    2. He was a very knowledgeable and learned man
    3. He was able to refute lies and untruths and set the record straight…and so must we learn the truth of God’s Word (John 17:17) to refute the lies and misleading statements of the enemy
      1. Jeremiah 33:3 (we must learn from God’s Word)
      2. 2nd Timothy 2:15 (we must study God’s Word)
      3. Ephesians 6:13-14 (know truth to combat lies)
      4. 2nd Timothy 3:13-17 (thoroughly equipped)

Here’s where things fell apart for Jephthah as the devil tempted him with the Pride of Life.

Remember, if Jephthah were successful in defeating the Ammonites, he would be promoted to be Captain and head over all Gilead (Judges 11:8).

If he were to fail, he risked losing that headship…that place of authority over those who previously wronged him.

He risked losing a place of position that was most unlikely for the son of a harlot.

Fear started to kick in as the devil most likely was getting at Jephthah’s weakness. But Jephthah went to God and prayed as he should have (Judges 11:30)…BUT he went to God the wrong way…praying for the wrong thing and praying amiss (James 4:3) to consume it upon his lust.

Instead of praying his wants and desires to God and leaving it in God’s hands the way Jesus did in the Garden (Luke 22:42), he very impulsively vowed a vow that revealed the great depths of his pride (Judges 11:30-31).

“If You will _______ then I will _______!” And we can’t operate with God like that!!!

Here are the heinous negatives associated with that vow he vowed in Judges 11:30-31:

  1. It showed a total disregard for anyone else but himself.
    1. Unless a family pet ran out the door first, it was going to be a person!!!
    2. We ourselves today may not literally sacrifice anyone, but we may be tempted to assassinate someone’s character at work for advancement…we can take the attitude of:
      1. People are disposable
      2. People are a means to an end
      3. We can be void of concern for other human beings’ feelings

God HAD to show him a lesson with HUGE and SEVERE consequences for taking such a position of total disregard for his fellow man and vowing the vow that he did.

When he arrived home victorious, there was a victory dance and song as was customary in that time in Israel (Song of Deborah in Judges 5…also the victory chant for David that angered Saul in 1st Samuel 18:7).

This victory parade was led by his daughter…his only child…as she exited the door to the home (Judges 11:34).

Jephthah lost it emotionally and sobbed and wailed (Judges 11:35).

Here’s the amazing part that shows how godly of a dad he really was…his daughter IMMEDIATELY consented to the vow…no matter what it was (Judges 11:36).

  1. She knew how important vows were that were made to God…
    1. Maybe he taught her that…and HAD to have been consistent…
      1. Lot expressed a sense of urgency yet no one took him seriously because he wasn’t consistent…he was desperate in the final hours…Jephthah was desperate too, but it wasn’t out of character for him, for he was likely consistent in his making and keeping of vows.
  2. His dedication and devotion to God had to have been VISIBLE…
    1. That’s maybe how his daughter was able to SEE his consistency…are our lives consistent enough that our children can see and learn from us?

Jephthah fell into temptation and sinned and it brought forth the death of his only child.

James 1:14-16…lust leads us to sin and that sin brings forth death.

Romans 6:23…the price we pay for the sin in our lives is some kind of death (emotional, psychological, or even physical).

May we be like Jephthah in all points except in the giving in to our weakness of either the lust of the eyes, flesh, or the pride of life.

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