Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The Story of Jepthah demonstrates that God calls unlikely heroes.

Not the Guy I Would’ve Picked

Text: Judges 10-11


Audie Murphy was an eighteen year old kid, weighing 112 pounds and the son of dirt poor Texas sharecroppers, an unlikely hero to say the least. Yet he became the most decorated soldier of WW II.

Proposition: The pages of Scripture are filled with stories of unlikely heroes.

Men and women who you could look at and say, "Not the one I would’ve picked" Yet God looked at them and said--that one--that’s the one I’ve chosen to do my work, to fill with my spirit and send into battle with the enemy.

We read about two of them this morning: Peter a fisherman with a foul mouth, no education and a pretty poor track record with Jesus, who God nevertheless chose to preach the inaugural sermon for the Church of Jesus Christ and lead 3,000 to the Lord on His first day in full time ministry,we also read about Jepthah, and Jepthah, well I can think of lots of reasons not to pick Jepthah to lead the people of Israel. In fact I’ve come up with a list which I’d be willing to share with you. The first reason I wouldn’t have picked Jepthah is that he had an...

1. Improper Pedigree

v. 1 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute.

I would never have picked the child of a prostitute to lead God’s people. I mean there’s our image to think about. Not only that if the offspring of prostitutes start to be chosen to lead Israel it might lend respectability to the oldest proffesion, the stigma against not only doing that kind of work but soliciting it mught be lost and then what would happen?

Secondly I wouldn’t have picked him becuase He had...

2. Insufficient Preparation

v. 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."

Gilead was shuned by his father’s proper family. He didn’t have the opportunity to move in the social circles that might have helped to prepare him to be the leader of the people.

He apparently didn’t have any genuine military experience either. Rather than a formal military command he instead led a group of raiders. If you needed an operation to steal chickens Jepthah would have been your guy, but to lead a military campaign--and to lead a nation, he simply had insufficient preparation.

Which brings us to the next reason I wouldn’t have picked this Guy. That is because of his

3. Inappropriate Pursuits

v. 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.

Jepthah and his men were basically land based pirates, traveling around stealing, bullying people--that sort of thing, like Robin Hood and his merry men except without the "give to the poor" part.

This is not the sort of person that you hire to be a janitor, let alone lead a nation. He couldn’t have even gotten a security clearance, the investigators would’ve taken one look at his checkered past and immediately put the nix on him.

And there’s one more reason Jepthah wouldn’t have been my choice. His...

4. Incomplete Persuasion

vv. 30-31 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’S, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."

Jepthah couldn’t just trust in God, he had to make a deal with God. Jepthah had already been empowered by the spirit to do battle, but he wants one more good luck charm and he makes a vow that ends up costing the life of his daughter.

This is not a giant of faith, folks. If I was picking a leader for God’s people I would make flawless faith the number one priority. But God chose Jepthah, knowing that he didn’t fully trust Him.


In spite of all these flaws with Jepthah, God looked at him and said that’s the guy I pick, and in verse 29 it says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jepthah, and let me tell you something when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon a person to equip them for battle, it tends to overcome their personal inadaquacies.

You might consider yourself an unlikely candidate to be a hero for the Lord’s army too. You may feel that you have an...

Improper Pedigree- You’re not from a "ministry family" Maybe you don’t even come from a Christian family at all, maybe you’re even a new Christian..surely the Lord couldn’t or wouldn’t want to use you, not when there are so many more obvious choices, but God chooses people like the Prophet Amos who said "I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, 15But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ’Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

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Michael Alley

commented on Sep 22, 2015

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