Lord-in-Charge

Judges 11:28-33

28 The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him. 29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites.

30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” 32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

Promotion

If you’re business owner, how do you select the one you wish to promote? What are your criteria for promotion? Would you use performance, competence, seniority, experience and educational attainment for evaluation of candidates?

Would you promote anyone who is recently employed when there are other employees with longer tenure and more advance educational attainment?

It says in Daniel 2:47-48, 47The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” 48Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.

Daniel was young and newly employed in the king’s service but he was promoted to a high position. Daniel’s story was not an isolated case. Joseph son of Jacob was became the second highest position next to Pharaoh. David was assigned as commander of King Saul’s army. Those were just few instances when God favors someone to be promoted to a particular position.

Inasmuch as we expect favor from God, we are not exempted from envy and hatred of the world. What should be our attitude when others cannot appreciate the goodness and kindness we do? We can learn from Apostles Paul.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:12-13, 12We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13when we are slandered, we answer kindly.

It is easy to be bothered or confused by others’ hostility but when God’s grace is at work in our life we can bless others and we can endure persecutions.

But, we need to be sure that Christ serves as the Lord-in-Charge of our life first and foremost. How can Christ be the Lord-in-Charge of our life? We seek His empowerment in all aspects of our life, in practical and spiritual tasks.

Jephthah was not a significant person. He was rejected by his own half-brothers. He was nothing before he became hero. The Lord raised a reject to solve Israel’s problems against the Ammonites. The Lord gave him courage to advance to the territory of their enemies and attacked them.

1. Advance

28 The king of Ammon paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him. 29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 

At first, Jephthah sent messenger to have diplomatic dialogue with the Ammonites but their king did not entertain any friendly alliance with Israel. The king of Ammon wanted no fair discussion. He wanted Israel to submit to him.

What did it imply when the Spirit of the Lord came to Jephthah?

Previously, Jephthah’s half-brothers rejected him. They were hostile to him. It says in Judges 11:3, 3Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.

Scoundrels were rejects of the society. They’ve nothing good to contribute to the community. They’re troublemakers. They joined Jephthah because they were hoping to have someone to lead them in their illegal activities.

But, when the Lord came to Jephthah, he decided to advance to the Ammonites territory. God empowered him to lead good-for-nothing gangsters to save Israel. God turned Jephthah from being useless to usefulness. The rejects  in the eyes of society had been frequently used by the Lord for His glory.

Four Lepers

In the time of Prophet Elisha, the Arameans besieged the city of Samaria. The Arameans camped outside the city, and waited so long until food had come scarce inside the city. The Israelites inside the city of Samaria were afraid to go out for fear that they might be captured or killed by the Arameans.

There were four lepers at the entrance of the city gate who decided to gamble their fate. They went to the camp of the Arameans to surrender. It says in

2 Kings 7:3-9, Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”

5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.

8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also. 9 Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”

The lepers were rejects in the society, and they stayed at the entrance of the city gate begging for food. Yet, God gave those rejects enough courage to discover the abundant food supply left behind by their enemies.

When Jephthah advanced to the territory of the Ammonites, the Lord gave him enough courage to lead a group of rejects and attacked the Ammonites.

2. Attack

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

Jephthah’s victory over the Ammonites was credited to the Lord. When it says that the Lord gave the Ammonites into the hands of Jephthah, it implies that Jephthah may not need to be an expert soldier to defeat the Ammonites. He did not need any advance military strategy planning and deliberation with his group.

By instinct, Jephthah and his band gangsters spontaneously attacked the Ammonites. Their trouble-making instinct of have no regard with human rights was used for the good of Israel. They devastated and destroyed the Ammonites. They didn’t spare anyone, important or ordinary. The Lord made them victorious.

Again, Jephthah and his gangsters were foolish in the eyes of the society but nonetheless, they were useful instruments for the Lord’s purposes.

It says in 1 Corinthians 1:27, 27God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Well, not everyone who God chooses to be useful for His glory are foolish, some individuals have extra-ordinary abilities. It says in 2 Timothy 2: 20-21,

20In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Formerly, because of sins we were rejects. We were good-for-nothing in the eyes God. But when we accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, we were cleansed by the blood of Christ shed on the cross.

As new creations, God wants to use us for His glorious purposes. We were freed from the slavery of sins. We become slaves of righteousness It teaches us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 

May Christ be Lord-in-Charge of our life and mightily uses us for the good of His kingdom just as He mightily used Jephthah and his band of rejects for the good of the kingdom of Israel!

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

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