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This 9th judge of Israel was a man of impeccable character and integrity. He stood out among his brethren because they had little or no character. And oh how people of character stand out in our society today, even in Congress and other leadership positions...because they are so rare. This is possibly because they often are seen as oddballs, radicals, and out of the ímainstreamí.
We need more statesmen of character. As we said last time, a statesman makes decisions based on whatís best for the next generation...a politician makes decisions based on whatís best for the next election.
Where are the people of principle, with core values which cannot be blown about by the winds of the polls and popular opinion?
Jephthah is a great example for us all...
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Jephthah had character in the face of difficulty, and courage in the face of danger.
1. Character in the face of difficulty.
v. 1-3 If anyone had an excuse to blame their failure on their past or their upbringing it was this guy. The illegitimate child of a prostitute. Really there is no such thing as an illegitimate child, just illegitimate parents. Abortion says, "this child is not wanted, so this child is not valuable." But the circumstances in which a child is conceived does not determine the value of the innocent child. This is why we as Christians reject abortion even in the extreme cases of rape or incest, because itís all about the child, not the parents. In the case of rape you donít kill the child, you kill the rapist, according to the Bible!
But because of the circumstances of his birth, Jephthah was branded from birth with a stigma, was excommunicated, ostracized, and exiled by his own half brothers.
v. 2 "Youíre not welcome here...we disown you...you arenít part of this family", and they threw him out.
v. 3 He departed to another place, got with the wrong crowd, and became what we might call a ígang leader.í Heís leading this band of criminals and desperados.
So heís the son of a harlot, ostracized from his family, a gang leader, and yet in the end heís named to Godís hall of faith! Only God can do such a thing.
And your past does not have to determine your future! You can be unshackled from your past, you can rise above your past, you can get past your past. You may have no control over the character of your ancestors, you can determine the destiny of your descendants.
Stop making excuses and blaming your circumstances for your lack of achievement. Stop assigning fault and start taking personal responsibility.
All Jephthah ever knew was failure, rejection, and poverty. But if he were in America today he would be viewed as a victim...oh, poor Jephthah! He would easily be diagnosed w/ some made up syndrome and be on disability drawing welfare! Now Iím not unsympathetic toward those w/ real needs, but you know what Iím saying is true about whatís wrong w/ the overall system today.
We do people a great disservice when we allow them to use their background as an excuse for failure.
Some of the most influential people in history were folks who refused to be
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