Summary: A statesman makes decisions based on what’s best for the next generation...a politician on what’s best for the next election. Jephthah-Character in the face of difficulty, and Courage in the face of danger. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerP

Jephthah for President

Judges 11

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 ’mainstream’.

We need more statesmen of character. As we said last time, a statesman makes decisions based on what’s best for the next generation...a politician makes decisions based on what’s 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...

Hebrews 11:32

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 it’s all about the child, not the parents. In the case of rape you don’t 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 "You’re not welcome here...we disown aren’t 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 ’gang leader.’ He’s leading this band of criminals and desperados.

So he’s the son of a harlot, ostracized from his family, a gang leader, and yet in the end he’s named to God’s 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 I’m not unsympathetic toward those w/ real needs, but you know what I’m saying is true about what’s 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 shackled by their past.

ill.--Helen Keller, the deaf/blind girl who learned to communicate, was taught by Anne Sullivan. How did she teach her? Especially when at age 5 Anne had an illness that left her nearly blind. A few years later her mother died, and 2 years later she was abandoned by her father. She was sent to an orphanage. In those days they didn’t have programs for her, so they fed her and let her sit and rot. But she longed to go to school and learn like the other children.

Her persistence caught the attention of a visiting man, a state inspector. His heart was gripped, and he paid personally to send her to the Perkins Institute for the Blind, in Boston. She learned to read using Braille, and she graduated at the top of her class. A few months later she had a surgery which restored some of her sight, and a couple years later she became the caretaker for little 6 year old Helen Keller. She used to be Helen for all practical purposes, and now she’s her teacher!

Up to that time Helen’s family had let her live like an animal, walking around the family table just grabbing food off their plates and shoving it in her mouth. There was no discipline, no control, and no efforts to teach or train her. But Anne Sullivan gave her time, her love, and her heart to train and nurture Helen to the point she could not only communicate but get a college education, and eventually travel worldwide speaking w/ Mrs. Sullivan, raising millions of dollars for the American Association for the Blind.

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