Judges 11-12; 1 Corinthians 11
We will stumble many times on this earth, regardless of how much we know about God and His commandments. No matter how centered we are in Christ, we will never be as perfect as He is. However, despite our downfalls and stumbling, He is there to make us great in Him again. Today we'll read about offering our worship and how He does that for one of the judges of Israel.
It is quite clear from our reading that Jephthah had a rocky past. He had a mother who was a prostitute, a handful of half brothers who chased him off so he couldn't have any of his father's inheritance, and yet he was called a "great warrior". Despite Jephthah's upbringing and past, God used him to secure Israel over the Ammonites.
One great downfall of Jephthah was that he made vows he didn't have to make, which resulted in him suffering great loss. Jephthah did not need to make a vow to the Lord, asking Him to lead him into victory over the Ammonites if he did something for the Lord. God never asked him to do that. As a result, Jephthah sacrificed his daughter, the first thing that walked out of his house. Do you ever feel so insecure in trusting God that you consider swearing to Him or solidifying it through your actions? "If you do this for me God, then I will do this for You." The problem is, that isn't how God works. He cares about our heart's motives, not our grand gestures of bartering. In fact, Jephthah had sinned in sacrificing his daughter, as it was very clear to the Israelites that this was unacceptable to the Lord as other nations did it in worshiping their gods.
There is equality in worship. Though these words from Paul could raise much debate, the one thing that is clear here is that he was trying to portray equality in worship. When we come before God, ready to express our awe and our thanksgiving to Him, we don't need to be someone fake. We don't need to pretend we are "good enough" to come to Him and feel inadequate because the person next to us is raising their hands. In fact, worship is something that is very intimate between you and God, as He knows your heart and it's motives more than the person next to you ever can. It doesn't matter if you stumbled or if you fell that very morning - God is there, and for that He deserves our worship without worrying about whether or not we are worthy or equal with the person next to us.
The same goes with the Lord's Supper. It is something that makes us one community in Christ, and for that we can come to the table no matter what our past looks like. There is seriousness, however, in the way you approach the Lord's table. Be sincere in your thanks. Don't do it for looks. And check your heart's motives and the relationships in your life. Come before Him without feeling like you need to ever compare your falls with the person next to you.
We all have a past and times we have fallen or will fall. However, we are all still equals in God's eyes. He will use you, if you are willing, no matter what your past says about you, and no matter how badly you will screw up in the future. Come to Him in worship and thanksgiving without looking to your left and right in comparing your worthiness to your neighbor. It is all between you and God and no one else. No One knows your heart and its motives more than He does.