If you speak words in haste, trouble will not be far behind. Consider the story of Jephthah in Judges 11:30-40. It is a solemn reminder not to uttered vows in haste.
“Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 29:20 (NKJV)
The elders of Gilead asked Jephthah to lead them in a war against the Ammonites who had made war with Israel. This brave leader of robbers had but one child, a daughter who was ever by his side. Unfortunately, he made a rash vow that if God delivered Ammon into his hands he would sacrifice unto Him whatever came out of the door of his house to meet him on his victorious return.
When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed— Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.” Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 (NIV)
God took Jephthah at his word, but the foolish man was stunned when he saw his precious daughter had crossed the threshold to greet him upon his return.
“When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her, he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it.’ So she said to him, ‘My father, if you have given your word to the Lord, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon.’” Judges 11:34-36 (NKJV)
There is some debate over the fate of Jephthah’s daughter. Some believe she was called to live as a virgin, never marrying or giving birth. Others believe she was indeed offered up as a sacrificial burnt offering. Either way, the precious but unnamed daughter was given a burden she did not ask for or deserve. Our words have an effect on others and Jephthah learned this lesson the hard way!
Rashness is characterized (dictionary.com) as acting too hastily or without due consideration. Moses acted in haste when he took the Lord’s instruction (Numbers 20:7-9) too far by striking a rock twice while admonishing the Israelites. He lost the blessing of entering into the Promised Land. How sad for Moses, considering he was used by God to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage. Our actions have an effect on our lives and the lives of others.
“And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” Numbers 20:1-13 (NKJV)
Another story of rashness and haste is that of Adonijah, the brother of Absalom and the King David’s son. When King David was very old and near death, “Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king”; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.” (1 Kings 1:5 NKJV) Adonijah then sacrificed sheep and invited the men of Judah, the King’s servants, and all of his brothers (except for Solomon) to a celebratory feast.
The prophet Nathan heard about this display and spoke to Bathsheba who went before King David. “Then she said to him, “My lord, you swore by the Lord your God to your maidservant, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.’ So now, look! Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it.’” 1 Kings 1:17-18 (NKJV)
King David commanded that Solomon ride his personal mule to Gihon. “There, let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” 1 Kings 1: 34-35 (NKJV) When Adonijah heard about this twist in power, he was afraid of Solomon and took hold of the horns of the altar. His actions of haste were not entirely well thought out.
This devotion was written with a single purpose. When speaking or making decisions, do not speak or act in haste. God is in control and His timing is perfect. Put a guard upon your lips and be slow to speak.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19 (NIV)
“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.” Proverbs 17:27 (NIV)
God wants to guide us through our day and this includes our words and actions. He sees the motives in our heart. The Bible is clear about the condition of our heart. Trust Him to put His words in your mouth and guide you in every way so you are true ambassadors of Christ Jesus.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)