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As time passed, Jephthah developed a reputation as being quite a leader. His military exploits caught the attention of the Israelites, especially the Gileadites.
Soon, the very people who had rejected Jephthah and treated him worse than scum, came crawling back to Jephthah and begged him to come help them defeat their Ammonite oppressors. Verses 6-7, “and they said to Jephthah, ‘Come and be our chief that we may fight against the sons of Ammon.’ Then Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, ‘Did you not hate me and drive me from my father’s house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?’"
Verses 9-10, “So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, ‘If you take me back to fight against the sons of Ammon and the LORD gives them up to me, will I become your head?’ And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, ‘The LORD is witness between us; surely we will do as you have said.’"
To make the story short, Jephthah sought the Lord’s assistance. Verse 29,32-33, “Now the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, so that he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon… So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD gave them into his hand. And he struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer to the entrance of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel.”
Jephthah went from being a “zero” in the eyes of his family and people to being a hero. He became their leader for six years.
The main lesson I want to draw from this story is this - We may come from very difficult and painful circumstances….circumstances that no one should have to go through it seems. We might be rejected by our families or others about us. We may be told, whether in words and/or actions, that we are worthless rejects.
But, God has a way of taking those whom people reject and making something of them. When others do not, God loves us and accepts us as His own. In God’s eyes, everyone has worth. We may feel like outcasts, but we can be assured that God loves us.
Jephthah’s life teaches us that we can rise above our circumstances. The most motivated people are those with confidence in God and in themselves. When we feel shattered, forsaken and lacking, we learn that the approval of others isn’t what keeps us going—we need first and foremost God’s approval to achieve true success in life. Jephthah finally gained the respect of his family…but first, he had to believe in God and in himself.
I am not saying that God will work-out every relationship in time. But, with God’s help, we can learn to heal the pain of the past. The past doesn’t have to weigh us down. With God, we can become winners in a big way…just like Jephthah.
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