Summary: AS FOLLOWERS OF THE FORGIVER WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT OUR ROLE IN GOD’S DELIVERANCE STORY IS NOT ABOUT ADVANCING OUR OWN AGENDA.
Jephthah: Forcing the Hand of Deliverance
Hidden Agendas -- An idiomatic phrase used to refer to the subtext which discreetly drives a conversation, meeting or other activity.
„X Marketing and advertising uses them all the time.
„X We assume Politians use them.
„X Ordinary people often have.
„X Business menand businesses are assumed to have them.
„X Christians are not exempt form them.
T.S. Today’s story from the book of judges is not just about Israel being delivered form the threat posed by the ammonites. The story of Jephthah is the story of a man committed to his agenda.
Today we will be reminded that. . .
AS FOLLOWERS OF THE FORGIVER WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT OUR ROLE IN GOD’S DELIVERANCE STORY IS NOT ABOUT ADVANCING OUR OWN AGENDA.
I. The Story
A. A Rejected Scorned Leader 11:1-3
11:1 Jephthah 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 group of adventurers gathered around him and followed him.
„X Jephthah has faced an upbringing of Rejection and Ridicule. It is highly likely that he is plagued with questions of self doubt and self worth. Like others plagues that way he seeks significance and meaning. He gathers a set fo Adventures around him, but scripture calls them no adventures. He gathers others of low status (empty vain men) in Hebrew.
„X When we feel saddled with poor self-esteem we often will latch onto relationships that give us a sense of worth even if they are no wise relationships.
„X He fled to Tob.
B. Desperation Leads to Selection 11:4ff
4 Some time later, when the Ammonites made war on 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."
„X Jephthah escaped from his brethren after his father’s death (Judges 11:3), and perfected himself in the art of war, making forays with "the vain fellows" who joined him. Here the elders of Gilead found him, when, reduced to dire straits by the children of Ammon, they desired him to take command of their army (Jsg 11:5;).
C. Serving for the wrong reason
„X Jephthah will serve only after the question is answered "What’s in it for Me?"
„X God’s deliverance story is about our joining him in the story he is wrting. It is not about our chance to get more. Serving in the kingdom isn’t about what we get out of it.
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?"
„X Jephthah appears to enjoy his moment of redemption and seeks to ensure his destiny.
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 our head over all 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.
„X Jephthah wants to ensure that he rules as judge so he goes to a place of significance in Israel’s history and repeats the covenant before God there.
„X Mizpah was the place where Jacob and Laban pledged truth and faithfulness to each other. They erected a cairn of stones and sealed their covenant with these words. "The Lord be a witness between you and me.
„X Jephthah sought to ensure he would get what he wanted out of his service.
Ill: John Maxwell tells the story of a wealthy man who came into his office to let him know that he would be withholding his tithe until the music changed. John listened to him and thanked him for being so upfront. Before he left John asked if he could pray, Not refusing the man bowed his head as Pastor Maxwell prayed, Lord forgive my brother for his willingness to steal form you to get his own way.
D. Meeting the Challenge
12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king with the question: "What do you have against us that you have attacked our country?"