Summary: Have you ever had a person in your life who made you wander if he was a good influence or a bad influence? There are things that have to be weighed out to make a right judgment. Some things may not be as they seem to the casual observer. God knows.
JEPHTHAH- "whom God sets free"
No time to be idle or enveloped in a pity party.
Heb. 11:32 ¶ 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:
Central Reading Text-------Judges 11:1,29-35
Jephthah was the son of a prostitute. His dad, Gilead messed up one time and his son is paying the consequences.
To the family, Jephthah is an embarrassment. They bullied on him until he left town.
It would seem that he was dysfunctional; a loser; a second class person.
The devil wants you to feel like an outcast. That way he believes that you will never develop into what you could be for God.
The devil meant it for evil, but God had another plan.
Ge 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
II. Requested (vs. 4,5)
There came a time (some say it was about 40 years later), that the Ammonites made war with Israel. Immediately, they thought about Jephthah, and went to seek him to lead their army.
That speaks volumes. While the Gileadites were twiddling their thumbs, Jephthah was occupying himself.
Ec 9:10a Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;
Without a doubt, in his solitude, he learned and practiced with his sword, his spear, and his sling. His skill was known throughout the land.
He refused to be idle and lazy during a "down time" in his life.
Other "vain" men gathered unto him in Tob. These were men who had suffered similiar fate. They were empty, needing an example and a leader.
From the following verses, we see that he also had a good handle on the Scriptures. When the Ammonites tell him why Israel needed to get off the land, he commenced to explain to them, with accuracy, how Abraham had came by and obtained the land years ago.
That speaks of his study and meditation of the Word of God and the promises of God.
Once again, it is evident that Jephthah had spent some time in the Holy Scriptures of his day.
He was prepared for the task. All of a sudden, this man who had been at the bottom of the totem pole, is now being begged to be the military leader of Israel.
Now, what are you doing in your time of "displacement". God has plans for your future. It may seem futile, but you better be using your time preparing.
Jephthah spoke with the Ammonites to see if they would back down (vs.27,28). When they refused to retreat, God came by and gave Jephthah of His Spirit.
There are a select few of Old Testament people who had the Spirit of the Lord come upon them. This was a very special blessing and help.
III. Reasonable but Rash Vow
The making of a vow indicates commitment.
Shortly after having the Spirit of the Lord coming down upon him, he determined to show his devotion to God by making a vow (vs. 30,31). It seemed reasonable enough at the time, and he was serious about giving anything up to God.
Note: As great as it is to be filled with the Spirit; this does not make a person infallible. In fact, sometimes we feel overconfident and speak or act too quickly.
Sure enough, the Lord led Israel to a great victory.
Jephthah comes home and expects a lamb or calf to come walking out the entrance of his homestead. Instead, his only daughter comes out in a jubilee celebration.
Okay. What happens now?
God hates human sacrifice. It is an abomination.
God is serious about vows.
Dt. 23:21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
The Bible does not exactly tell us what the outcome was. It does say that he did with her according to his vow. It also says that she never knew a man. Why would that need to be said if she were offered as a human sacrifice on an altar?
When Abraham took Isaac to the mount to sacrifice him, God intervened and stopped him and provided a substitute (a lamb).
Then, we see that the daughter of Jephthah asked for two months to bewail her virginity. It could be that she would become a living sacrifice, living and serving in the temple all of her days. This would mean that she was giving up on the possibility of being the mother of the Messiah. Every young jewish girl dreamed and hoped of this possibility.