“Be Mindful Of The Vows You Make!”(Mk.6:20-29).
Jephthah sacrificed his daughter, an only child because of an uncalled for useless vow. “And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: ‘If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’S, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.'” After he had won the victory and returned home, behold, his daughter came out dancing to the victory song. Alas! Because of the vow he made, he had to sacrifice her(Jdgs.11:30-39).
Fast forward to the time of Herod the tetrarch. It was Herod’s birthday. He gave a banquet “for the high officials and military commanders and leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias (Salome) came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.”
With a combination of intoxication, lust and pride, Herod decided to massage his ego. He told the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you. And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
This was the opportune moment for Herodias. Salome went to her mother to ask what was best to request from Herod. No sooner had she asked her, the mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” And that’s what Salome asked Herod. Even though the king was “greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.” And that is how John was beheaded and the head was presented to the girl in a platter and she gave it to her mother.
What a gift!
It is a sad tale, but quite recurrent around us on daily basis. Through intrigues, blackmail, slander, backstabbing, frame-ups, scheming, jealousy and hatred, the Herodiases requests the heads of the Johns the Baptist of today. And the weakling indecisive Herods of today, in a bid to show off after the influence of alcohol and seductive dances of the Salomes, make oaths that lead to the deaths of innocent victims!
Dear friend, the LORD says, “Vengeance is mine!” Leave your hate and hurt to the LORD and he will fight for you. Do not seek for revenge. Do not allow yourself to be carried away by the pleasures of the moment and make vows with disastrous consequences!
The case of Jephthah and Herod are lessons that teach us to think well before making any vows or oaths.
Prayer: Holy Spirit help me to reflect deeply before making a vow or oath to the LORD or to fellow man. Amen!
Have a blessed day! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.