Summary: God can raise great people up from the toughest of circumstances.
Introduction: A man is known for five things in his lifetime. He’s known for his character. That’s who he is. He’s known for his conduct – that’s what he does. He’s known for his conversation – that’s what he says. He is known by his creed – that’s what he believes. He’s known by his contribution – that’s what he gives.
The great need of the hour is great men of God. Men known for their character, conduct, conversation, creed, and contribution. Men who love Jesus, wives and children, the Bible and souls! Men, never underestimate what God wants to do through your life.
Perhaps you have a deep seated desire to be the person God would have you be. However, it doesn’t seem like that’s possible. This morning, let’s discover a man in the Bible whom God used mightily in His service, despite many disadvantages. This man named Jephthah went from the Hall of Shame to God’s Hall of Fame. From Judges 11, we are going to focus on (1) Jephthah’s Humble Beginning (2) Whole Hearted Belief and (3) Heroic Battle
1. JEPTHA’S HUMBLE BEGINNING
Jephthah didn’t grow up in a perfect family. In fact, he grew up in a dysfunctional home. A home that lacked leadership. A home that lacked harmony, peace, and joy. If you grew up in a home where you parents loved each other, loved you and brought you up to follow Jesus, you are in the minority. Most people come from broken homes. But let me tell you, it’s not too late.
Men don’t underestimate your importance in the family. Research shows if a child is the first person in a household to become a Christian, there is a 3.5 percent probability that everyone else in the household will become Christians. If the mother is the first to accept Christ, the percent goes up and 17. But if the father is first, there is a 93 percent probability that everyone else in the household will follow. When father goes first spiritually, good things happen at home. If you find yourself in a home that’s not great, will you be the kind of person that begins to make it great? With God’s help, that’s what Jepthah did. Notice…
A. His Birth
“…the son of a harlot…”
Here’s a man whose father’s name was Gilead .. but all we know about his mother was that she was a prostitute. This was not the ideal beginning to Jephtha’s life. How do you think he answered other kids when they asked him what his mom did for a living? Still, it didn’t hold him back from becoming the man God called him to be.
Do you know what bothers me today? We are raising up a generation of people who want to blame all their problems on others. If a young man begins to drink, he blames his dad the alcoholic. If the young girl sleeps around, she blames it on her mother who had affairs. Rare is it to find a person who will honestly say, “I am the way I am because I’m a sinner.”
*Booker T. Washington said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in his life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
B. His Brothers
“Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jepthah out, and said to him, “You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another’s women.” 11.2
. Because of Jephtha’s illegitimate birth, they barred him from the families blessing. It’s a sad thing when families don’t get along like they should. It’s a sad thing when siblings turn against one another and estrange themselves from each over. Life is simply too short to go around carrying grudges against people. But these brothers of Jephthah lived with their noses turned down at Jephthah.
C. His Band
“Then Jephthah fled form his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him.” 3
His family rejected him, but God still had a plan for his life. Some of you who come from tough families – maybe you were born out of wedlock, maybe your mom or dad left you, walked out. The old saying says, “…there are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents.” You were not a mistake or accident in the sight of God. In fact, the Bible says, “Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor…”
God sees you in a totally different way than others see you. Many of us have labeled ourselves based on what other say about us. How about saying what God says, “I’m a mighty man of valor.” Others saw something special in Jepthah. They saw special leadership ability in him. Men began following him on raids to take down the enemy. They probably weren’t the classiest group of guys you’d ever seen – but God was with them leading on to great victories!