Jephthah the Reject

Judges 11:1-11

1Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.

4 Sometime later, when the Ammonites were fighting against Israel, 5 the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 “Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.” 7 Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?”

8 The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be head over all of us who live in Gilead.” 9 Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the Lord gives them to me—will I really be your head?” 10 The elders of Gilead replied, “The Lord is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.

Physically Unattractive

Have you been ridiculed by your biological siblings because of physical appearance (hair, skin, nose, eyes, ears, lips, teeth, legs or hands)? “To love each other” is unwarranted expectation among siblings. Yet, the first siblings, Abel and Cain, did not explore it. Sibling rivalry is recorded in the Bible.

If siblings, born of the same parents, struggle with animosity among them, are you surprised when half-brothers don’t like each other? The Lord Jesus encourages us to love one another not because we are biologically related but as proof that we are His disciples. He said in John 13:35, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

We can love other disciples, biological siblings including enemies when the Holy Spirit bears fruit of love in us even if they reject us. Rejection from biological siblings has been observed even among God-chosen people.

Judge Jephthah was rejected by his brothers, actually, half-brothers.

1Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.

Prejudiced and discrimination have become more serious problem in our society. Do you consider prejudice or discrimination sinful? They are opposed to the Lord’s command for us to love one another, right?

So, who can rescue us from the attack of discrimination and prejudice? Christ has rescued us from the penalty of sin, He can easily rescue us from any spiritual battle, if we just allow Him to perform His lordship over us.

When the Israelites were invaded, they admitted that they have no power to defeat their enemies, and they invited Jephthah to lead and lord over them.

1. Invite

4Sometime later, when the Ammonites were fighting against Israel, 5the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6“Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.”  7Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?”

Asking Jephthah as their commander illustrates how to win our battle against sin if we invite or allow Christ to lord over us and trust Him to rescue us. Jephthah was rejected by his brothers but they invited him to be their leader.

Gilead was named after Jephthah’s father, and the elders of Gilead may have observed that Jephthah and his group were fearless. They were not scared of anything because nobody cared for them anyway. They’ve got no reputation to protect. Their group may have been scary.

Did the elders of Gilead think of Jephthah’s group as very appropriate to fight their enemies because they have nothing worry about? If Jephthah and his followers defeat their enemies, great! If they die, nobody cares. Jephthah was like a sacrificial pawn, so to speak. They were just rejects of the society.

Looking for Bread

Have you ever encountered people who would seek your help but when they cannot get anything from you, they reject you? Christ had experienced it.

In John 6:25-26, 25When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 

The same people who followed the Lord rejected Him. Such attitude is also observed even within Christian circles. Many come to the Lord when they are desperately in need. But when things are not problematic around them, they can easily present many reasons of not wanting to come to Him.

Some of the elders of Gilead who invited Jephthah to be their leader may have been his half- brothers who rejected him. In desperation, they implored him to be their head when they mentioned the name of the Lord as their witness.

2. Implore

8 The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be head over all of us who live in Gilead.” 9 Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the Lord gives them to me—will I really be your head?” 10 The elders of Gilead replied, “The Lord is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.

The storyline in the Book of Judges illustrates our human tendency to live according to our personal choice. Freedom of choice is popular within Christian community. Sadly, human nature is sinful, and it follows that human choice is sinful. This is why we need Christ to rescue us from our sinful choices.

In the case of Jephthah, did God inspire the elders of Gilead to seek him whom they have rejected? God raised Jephthah to rescue the Israelites from their enemies. This rejected savior of the Israelites was a picture of Christ.

Rejected Stone

It says in 1 Peter 2:4-8, 4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

Those who don’t believe in Christ will be like the enemies whom Jephthah defeated. Like the Israelites who trusted Jephthah as their head and leader who were saved from the oppression of their enemies, believers in Christ have been saved from the punishment of sin, pressure of sin, and practice of sin.

God allowed the Israelites to be oppressed for them to seek His help. When they decided to trust Jephthah and implored him to be their head, it displayed a desperate need to be rescued.

Likewise, God allows believers in Christ to struggle from oppression, discrimination, and prejudice of any kind. Christ cares for us and He wants to rescue us from anxieties caused by oppression, discrimination or prejudice. It says in 1 Peter 5:7, Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

What is it that you are so anxious about?

What are the things that made your blood boil or made you angry, lately?

Have you tried all your best to solve it?

To implore and ask the Lord for mercy and grace is much easier and less stressful than doing your best to save your own self.

Let Christ be your Savior. He can easily rescue you in all your struggles.

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

 

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