Sun, Dec 29th - 8:33AM
The Life of Jephthah
All praises, thanks,
worship, blessings, dominion, power, majesty, honor, glory and holy fear to our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Son of God, Mediator, High Priest, Advocate, Redeemer,
Deliverer, Omniscient, Omnipotent Omnipresent Potentate, Possessor of heaven,
earth and all men, the High and Lofty One, King of kings, Lord of lords,
Eternal Father… and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty
God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Brothers and sisters,
Jephthah in and through his love and trust in God won the battle his family
waged against his integrity, against his heart against his mind, and against
his faith. His war was also not just the battle for his temporal inheritance,
but also for his eternal spiritual inheritance given not by the hands of men
but by God the Eternal Father Himself.
In understanding the
story of Jephthah on its own, holy people, we can rightly reason or extrapolate
it to grasp the meaning of its power and how it relates to us as well from our
God given vantage point from the risen side of the cross. You see all
Christians are “those people”. Along with suffering all the hurtful vagaries of
this present life, we are all hated in this world. Yes, dearly beloveds this
present world too always will and always does throw their garbage at God’s
people, and seeks to wrap them in garments of shame. Luk
21:17 - And ye shall be
hated of all men for my name's sake.
-John 15:18 If
the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
3:12 - Yea, and all
that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Hate: to be hated, pursue with hatred, detest, to be persecuted.
We are going to suffer
things in this world, dearly beloveds, some of us even at the hands of our own
families. Certainly, God wants us to love our own families and all men,
however, He does not in any manner guarantee that our own families or all men
will love us in return.
Holy people, contrary to
the myths of those wearing rose colored glasses, God reminds us that some of our
stories too can and will be ugly, unsettling, troubling, even brutal in the
world and in our own families: Our peace can never be nor will ever be in
anything or anyone outside of God Himself: Jhn
14:27 - Peace I leave
with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Whatever the world gives,
saints (G40 hagios), the world can and will also take away. However, we have surer and true eternal unchanging
promises from our God who never lies. Psa
94:14 - For the LORD
will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
16:33 - These things I
have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall
have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Luke 12: 51Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay;
but rather division: 52For from henceforth there shall
be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the
father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother;
the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against
her mother in law.
Brethren, there is a war
going on against you me and all of us. This war of the world against us is not
just against our bodies or material things, but against our integrity, our
minds our hearts and our faith even our eternal inheritance. This war is not
new, but has been going on since God created our first parents. Yet, we hate no
one and love even our enemies. We know the hidden enemy the devil working
through the wicked deeds of people against us, would try, (although in vain),
to use these things to trouble us, seek to make us fear, try to make us doubt
the eternal truth, power, love and trustworthiness of God to care for us.
Again, brothers and sisters, we don’t have to be scared or afraid in any manner
8:15 - For ye have not
received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit
of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
1:7 - For God hath not given us
the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
God does not send these
things upon us, but He will allow them to test, try and prove our faith. None
of our trials weaken us but we are strengthened in them through faith in God
and trust in His power.
Brothers and sisters, we
know that God is with, even in us at all times, and He will never let us fall,
never let anyone or anything pluck us from His mighty hand for He is
unbeatable, unconquerable, invincible and all powerful. In our obedience out of love for Him, we bring Him
the glory and honor of which He alone is worthy.
4:13 - I can do all things through Christ
which strengtheneth me.
God will never fail His
8:37 - Nay, in all these things we are more
than conquerors through him that loved us.
We can trust Jesus to
keep us from falling in the midst of the battle:
unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you
faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25To
the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power,
both now and ever. Amen.
God ever reminds us,
brethren, that we do not fight our battles alone nor in our own strength, for
that is impossible instead:Eph
6:10 - Finally, my brethren, be strong in the
Lord, and in the power of his might.
Mon, Dec 23rd - 12:23PM
The Story of Jephthah
His family totally
ignores Jephthah’s first question. They do not apologize or even give a nod
that they ever did him any wrong. In fact, they reframe his second question to
be only about them coming to him because they were in distress, brothers and
sisters-note their reply:
Jdg 11: 8And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah,
Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight
against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of
This second request by
his family they carefully tempered with a reward. One would ask why would
anybody want to be connected with such a family in view if their past abuse?
Why would one accept a family who would only accept us solely on the basis of
defending them in battle in which we might lose our lives? This would be a
win/win situation for the tribe. If Jephthah helped them win their battle, but
got killed they would have defeated their foes, got rid of Jephthah and would
still keep their power. On the other hand, if Jephthah defeated their foes and
lived, they would still survive even if Jephthah became their head. In some ways
this is quite an unsettling story. This is an ugly, sad, troubling, unsettling
picture of the family presented by God in the Bible, but certainly not the only
Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight
against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver
them before me, shall I be your head? 10And
the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we
do not so according to thy words.
In their oath they made
in Mizpeh, dearly beloveds, they were not picky as to who would be their head
all that mattered was that any guy, even one they considered a so-called
bastard willing to lead them into battle would be their head. So, we see that they
lowered their pious standards substantially for who could be in their tribe, or
its head, all they cared about was saving their lives. The tribe had a long
history of cherry picking the Law, and deliberate rebellion against it to serve
idols and their own doings more often than not.
As mentioned earlier,
holy people, this is a brutal, ugly, troubling and unsettling story. Yet God
has given it to us and he is leading us to where we need to go in it. Certainly,
the wise in heart will find healing, understanding, and wisdom in it.
Jephthah knows his family
well, therefore he questions if they will keep their promise to make him their
head if he leads them into battle. Some, again, might question why Jephthah would go back with
his family under any circumstances. Some might think Jephthah is still getting
a raw deal here.
Jdg 11: 11Then Jephthah went with the
elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and
Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.
Brothers and sisters, Jephthah
went to his real father, God, who had embraced him even before he was rejected
and disowned by his natural family. His family/tribe had tried to write the
narrative of his life, his value as a person and his destiny to be an outcast.
Dearly beloveds, people can
call us names, people can dismiss us as worthless, people can reject us even
our own families, but the only narrative that counts is the one God has written
about us his people. Jephthah spoke to his real father all the promises that
had been made, because he knew God always keeps His promises, and it is
impossible for God to lie.
Yes, indeed, Jephthah’s
people had thrown their garbage at him, but they did not have the power to make
him agree with it or pick any of it up. Instead Jephthah believed God, and held
onto His promises. Jephthah had done nothing wrong in the sight of God and
never picked up the mantle of shame his family tried to put on him. Through
faith, love, and trust in God, the mantle Jephthah always wore was that of a
son of God of the nation of Israel. In the name of His God he would stand for
His nation. Holy people, let the wise in heart lay an absolute hold onto the
promises of God against all who oppose: Deu 4:31 (For the
LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither
destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen,
unto the glory of God by us.
Thu, Dec 19th - 3:54PM
The Life of Jephthah
Jdg 11:4And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob: 6And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.
Brothers and sisters, this first request to Jephthah was an insult. This tribe is ornery, tricky and shameless, besides being pretty cold hearted. They ask Jephthah for everything and offer him nothing in return, not even an apology.
Jdg 11: 7And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?
Holy people, what just happened?? There is no sturm und drang, no name calling, no outrage, no long list detailing all the acts of personal abuse suffered during the long period of life in his family, no railing cries of injustice in Jephthah’s reply. How could Jephthah be so cool, calm, and collected? Where was his outrage, where was his anger?
He had been cast off as a boy, but now, as a man, a warrior, a skilled fighter he faced and spoke the truth plain and simple for he knew his family all too well. After what his family had done to him how could they possibly even remotely think he would be interested in helping them in their time of distress? The ministry of God’s wisdom and truth here is that it is very important to face the truth about the people closest to us in life, even if that truth is very ugly.
We simply do not have the power to change the people in our lives, but we do have the power to face the truth about them, the good, the bad and the ugly. Firstly, this takes away any magical thinking that we need them to be healed or okay in the first place, and secondly it releases us, if wise to do so, to engage them realistically for who they are not who we want them to be.
Saints (G40 hagios) this is a brutal story, brethren, there are no make-up hugs, kisses and we are so sorry or apologies from this family or tribe. Some writers claim the family or tribe apologized but even if they had, which they had not, the underlying reasons for it would be deceitful, insulting, and dishonest.
Sat, Dec 14th - 4:05PM
The Life of Jephthah
Brothers and sisters, if
there was a vote for the boy least likely to succeed it would be Jephthah. The
very one totally rejected by his family is now the very one they are compelled
to ask for help. After mistreating him since he was a baby, and taking away his
rightful inheritance, they come to him out of nowhere asking Jephthah to
basically risk getting killed or maimed-to risk his life to save them, without
ever acknowledging the wrong they have done to him- what gall, what nerve!
Be sure, brethren, again,
some might jump in here with the supposedly cure -all for Jephthah to just
forgive them and move on, but it does not happen here, nor is even mentioned. We
must take heed and caution against mis-applying forgiveness regarding offenses
against children and adult survivors of abuse in childhood or anyone. Some have
counseled that it is inappropriate in some cases to counsel forgiveness too
soon, if at all.
Think about this, holy
people, our family has mistreated us from the time we were a baby, and later
thrown us out of our home, stole our inheritance, and never cared whether we lived or died, never spoke
another word to us, never inquired or ever helped us, then shows up years later
to basically ask us to go to war and fight for them, and maybe get killed or
wounded/maimed in the process, then offers nothing in return not even an apology
for abusing us, but just asking us to risk our lives to save them, how would
you feel, what would you do?
Some like to compare/contrast
this story to the story of Joseph and others, and there is room for that in a
different study. However, in this study it is important to address the life of
Jephthah on its own merits.
While the vow Jephthah made
later in this story is prominent, the vow his tribe made earlier, and
conveniently forgets when asking Jephthah for help is of no less importance. Judges
the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the
children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpah. 18And
the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he
that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over
all the inhabitants of Gilead.
In their agreement,
brethren, the whole of Gilead had vowed in the sight of God to make the man
that would lead them into battle against the children of Ammon their head. Saints
(G40 hagios), they were not just having a conversation or making a mere
agreement only between themselves, that they had the option to keep or not as
they saw fit. They made a vow in the sight of God and were obligated to keep it
the same as all vows made in Israel. This shows the level of their greed and
lust for power that they wanted to keep at all cost even at the life of
Jephthah losing his life. It is clear that Jephthah in his reply to their
request knew of this agreement his tribe had made amongst themselves in Mizpah.
Num 30:2 - If
a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond;
he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out
of his mouth.
Deu 23:21 - When
thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for
the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
Did they think they could
make a fool of Jephthah on top of all the wrong they had done him? Did they think
they could cheat him yet again?
Next Jephthah speaks.
Tue, Dec 10th - 6:30PM
The Life of Jephthah
Well, well, holy people,
it appears that the door that Jephthah’s family had closed on him, is now the
same door that they had to re- open to come back through to ask Jephthah for
help. There is a lesson here that we should consider very carefully before closing
doors on relationships.
Before Jephthah meets
with his kinfolk, brothers and sisters, we have to dig further back in the
Bible to learn a bit about his family who seems to have thought of themselves
as so pure that they could not tolerate the son of harlot a strange woman in
their midst. They seem to have conveniently forgotten their own origins: Gen 41:45 And
Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath
the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all
the land of Egypt.
Gen 46:20 And
unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath
the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.
The fact, brethren, is
that although the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim originated through a pagan
mother it had no effect to disqualify them from their inheritance and place in Israel.
It is abundantly clear that God accepted them and gave them inheritance in Israel.
Furthermore, their legitimacy is established in that they are known by biblical
record as the sons of Joseph.
God is always in control
of who is in or out concerning belonging to Israel, not men. The tribe of Gilead
among others had a very long history of rebellion, openly worshipping idols in God’s
face, and at times forgetting about God entirely to serve the pagan no-gods.
They only repented when
punished by God who sent their enemies to trouble and conquer them, even
enslave them at times. The biblical record shows their repentance didn’t last
long before they were again sinning against and openly rebelling against the
Lord. This bespeaks of the impotence of the Law to make men righteous. On the
other hand, it reveals the magnificence of God’s Law at fully performing His
intents and purposes of the Law at exposing and punishing sin.
Okay, brothers and sisters
so now after cruelly mistreating Jephthah since he was a babe, his tribe now turns
to him for help.
Jdg 11: 4And it came to pass in process of time, that the
children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5And
it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders
of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob: 6And
they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the
children of Ammon.
Oh wait, dearly beloveds,
can you believe their cold heartless callousness? They do not apologize to
Jephthah, they do not ask for forgiveness, and they have conveniently forgotten
Thu, Dec 5th - 2:12PM
The Life of Jephthah
Dearly beloveds, when people
suffer calamities and or physical illness, disabilities, deformities etc. they
often remark or wonder why God did it or why did God make them this or that way?
God is absolutely neither the cause nor the source of such things.
We have to look at Adam
our first human father who knowingly sinned and rebelled against God in the
garden. He didn’t care what would happen to us his progeny as a result of his
sin. Through Adam, we all inherited his sin nature. He is the first Adam that
brought death and decay to us and even nature itself was corrupted. Blame the
first Adam for death, decay, that extra finger or toe, that odd bump or
malformations of catastrophic proportions, and calamity that sin brings and why
sin is so rampant in the earth bringing misery to everyone in some way or another.
But Praise be to our Lord
and Saviour the Last life- giving Adam we have redemption through faith in and
on Him, and a new world coming where everyone and everything including nature
itself shall be perfect for all eternity.
Holy people, raise your
hand if you are among those who love a story of family dysfunction and abuse
ending in the abuser(s) repenting, the abused forgiving and all of them restored
to one big happy loving family? (I raised mine). The story of Jephthah will not
satisfy this scenario on too many levels as we shall see. Family is important,
however God never promised nor guaranteed that all families can be restored, in
neither the old or new covenant: Mat 10:36 - And
a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
What God promises is that
everyone who believes on His Son Jesus Christ will be forgiven of all their
sins, saved and become a part of the eternal family of God. Sadly, some of our
natural families will not be a part of this. Our best strivings are to focus on
the family in focusing them and all men on God so that they might be saved.
Brothers and sisters, let
us keep hammering away that there was no justification for Jephthah being
disinherited on the bases of who his mother was as we noted earlier he not only
had the circumcision of the sons of Israel
under the Abrahamic promise of the new covenant, but also God Himself forbade
the punishment of children for the sins of the father.
We have to add that
Jephthah had the bloodline for inheritance in Israel; Num 26:29 - Of
the sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites: and Machir begat
Gilead: of Gilead come the family of the Gileadites. In other words,
everybody coming out of or born of Gilead is the family or Gileadites; hence
Jephthah is clearly known as Jephthah the Gileadite. This was a huge family: Num 26:34 - These
are the families of Manasseh, and those that were numbered of them,
fifty and two thousand and seven hundred.
Brothers and sisters,
sometimes when people are abused as children they can grow up with a strong
sense of simmering anger/rage about the injustice they suffered, that can lead
them to be very touchy over the slightest real or imaginary offence, so that
people feel as though they have to walk on egg shells around them. Some who have
been abused might lay up in their hearts that they will hurt or even kill the
next person who ever lays a hand on them again.
Whosoever feels or thinks
this way are commanded by God to reject vengeance, and must absolutely keep their
hands to themselves for only God has that right. There is absolutely nothing in
scripture that forbids any abused person whether child or adult from exposing their
abusers, or seeking the help of the authorities that God has ordained to deal
with such issues, although there might be a time frame on how long an abused
person can bring forth charges against his or her abuser(s).
Again, saints (hagios G40),
some might say to just forgive and move on in order to be healed. There is
nothing wrong with forgiving and also if the situation warrants it, to take
steps to stop the abuser (and enablers if any), from going on to abuse others,
or to be held accountable for what they have done. Forgiving is a good thing,
although not appropriate to every situation. It is a mistake to think that
healing can only come through the door way of forgiving.
Okay, so what is the
abuser repents? If the abuser really repents, it will be shown in that they no
longer abuse. In some cases, if they truly repent, they will self- report to
the authorities if warranted and get help so that they are no longer a danger
to abusing others. Abused persons have
no duty to heal and/or protect their abusers from the consequences or harm they
have caused. Reconciliation is not
automatic, and in some cases is unwarranted and unwise. This means, brethren,
we will have to take a hard look to understand what happens and what it means
when Jephthah’s family comes to him for help.
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