And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, 31 then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” –Judges 11:30-31
The judge Jephthah (Judges 11) made a vow that if God gave him victory over the Ammonites, the first person to come out of his doors to meet him, he would offer as a burnt offering to the Lord (v. 29-31). Upon returning home from victory his daughter, (his only child) greeted him (v.32-34) . When informed of his vow, his daughter requested two months to bewail her virginity (v. 35-38). When she returned Jephthah carried out his vow.
A burnt offering was an offering of total consecration and surrender. It symbolized this with burning since that which is burned cannot be unburned. That which is given to God could not be taken back. It wasn’t that Jephthah literally offered up his daughter as this sacrifice. It was that she was permanently given to the service of the Lord – “shall surely be the LORD’s” (v. 31). This was painful for both Jephthah and his daughter. For him since this was his only child that he was offering to the Lord. For her because evidently it meant she would not marry but remain a virgin. It can be painful to give to the LORD the people you love most. But both Jephthah and his daughter followed through on the vow of total dedication to the LORD. This demonstrated their faith and integrity before God. Is there someone or something that you need to give to God? Have you given yourself to the LORD in full surrender?