Jephthah

The book of Judges is an interesting account. I’ve heard a few stories from it – the ones receiving the most radio play tend to be those of Samson and Gideon, even Deborah. This morning, however, I was introduced to a guy that blew me away: Jephthah. Now, I have no clue how to pronounce his name (sorry, buddy), but his story is quite amazing.
It says in Judges 11 that Jephthah was a “valiant warrior”…but he was also the son of a prostitute. I guess when his dad’s wife wasn’t giving him children, daddio snuck off and did some things he probably shouldn’t have. I’m assuming that not long after, Gilead’s (Jephthah’s dad) wife started getting pregnant. The chronicle tells that when these sons grew up, they and their mother rejected Jephthah and threw him out of the house.
What did he do?
It sucked being illegitimate in those days.
But “illegitimacy” does not mean God has rejected you or anyone else (praise God, because I’d be in an interesting circumstance). Anyway, in this rejection, Jep ran away, but the guy had a destiny. It says, that “worthless” men started to follow him. Kind of reminds me of Jesus a little bit, how He attracted the sinners and the nobodies. But these guys obviously were drawn to Jep and followed him into battle eventually.
Israel faced a few tumultuous seasons and finally, because of Jep’s skill, I take it, his brothers went out to find him and bring him back. They begged him to come and lead the people through the battle. First of all, weird. I found a lot of similarity to what mine may have been with Jep’s response to his brothers: uh…didn’t you hate me? Wasn’t it you that kinda kicked me out of my own house? Why are you coming to me now that you’re in trouble?
But they kept pleading, saying they’d make him the head of all Gilead. And Jep kinda said, alright. But God as our witness, you better honor your word. I can imagine that Jep was still a little hurt over the situation, as most anyone would be. And yet he took a chance and gave a place for the Lord to move.
In the next verses, I see Jephthah come up against some things that are very similar to what’s coming against the nation of Israel today…which I might write about later. But look at this. God totally takes this kid whose been kicked to the curb, surrounds him with nobodies, and then promotes him to lead his people. It shows me that we cannot let unforgiveness rule our hearts. He used his time of abandonment to draw closer to God, away from his homeland that started following other gods. Even in the hard, hard circumstances, God was preparing him to face a battle and lead his people out of it. Yes, life might be hard, but God can take a slumdog and make him a king…if his heart is right.
Wow…Jephtah, you’re pretty amazing.
I’ll continue the story later 🙂

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