Summary: Jepthath’s lack of faith in God was not an answer to his problem.
Title: Overcoming a Lack of Faith
Text: Judges 11:34-40
CIT: Jepthath’s lack of faith in God was not an answer to his problem.
Thesis: Our Faith in God will give the answer to our problems.
Major Objective: Consecrational
Specific Objective: That they will trust God with their problems.
Sermon Question: How?
Overcoming a Lack of Faith
Have you ever thought about where you would be without faith? As Christians we think, how can this be possible? We were bought by the blood of Christ. We have the Holy Spirit of God to guide us. Yet, what happens then when we do not listen to Godâ€™s leadership, when have a lack of faith? Todayâ€™s scripture is the story of Jephthah. A man who came up from the bottom, to a place of great leadership, only to loose the thing he loved because of a lack of faith.
Problem â€“ When we act out of haste, more problems will follow.
Jephthah was one of the men who were called to rule Israel written about in the book of Judges. In the scripture nowhere is he called a Judge, but we do know him as a leader and a mighty man of valor. Jephthah was born in Gilead, which is located west of the River Jordan. From Jephthahâ€™s beginning as an illegitimate child, the son of a harlot, he was to have problems. Because of his illegitimacy, Jephthah could not inherit the possessions of the family like the legitimate children. He was cast out from what was his family to join together a band of worthless men. Under Jephthahâ€™s leadership, the survival of the men was contingent as their income as a raiding party.
When war broke out with the Ammonites, there was need for every man that could fight. The elders of Gilead sent for Jephthah and his men to help in this battle with their enemy. They needed a leader and Jephthah was the man who was chosen. The elders decided that they would make Jephthah leader, in the condition that they win the battle. In an almost reluctant way, Jephthah agrees to fight this battle. His plea before the elders is, â€œwill you really take me back, AND let me be your leader?â€ The elders agree and make a bond before the Lordâ€¦."The LORD is our witness; we will certainly do as you say." Josh 11:10 NIV
Jephthah, was once an out cast and now made the ruler. Amazing. This victory over the Ammonites was absolutely necessary if he wanted to hold on to this great power. It meant everything, not only to Jephthah, but to his people as well. This was their home. A home and a land that was given to them by God. After unsuccessful negotiations, Jephthah took his men to war, they were proven successful in battle and were ready now for a decisive blow to the Ammonites. Jephthah knew this was to be the most important of strikes. He could not let himself and his men fail. He, then in this time of faithlessness, made this vow to God. â€¦"If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31) whatever 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." Judg 11:30b-31
The battle was a success, the war was over. Jephthah and the men of Israel conquered twenty cities. This was a great victory. Now Jephthah is coming home to enjoy this great celebration. Who now comes out of the house to see him? His daughter! She is overcome with joy. Can you imagine her glowing face? Daddy! As she come dancing down the road with timbrels in her hands. She had longed to be with him all this time while he was away and now, he is here.
The hero and father is returning from a victorious battle and yet there is something not right. Jephthah knows now what he had done. He tears his clothes in grief. The vow. In Jephthahâ€™s lack of faith, he made the vow. Now the one thing that he loves is to be another of the victims of war. The very vow that he made to insure a victory would cause the death of his daughter.
Have you ever had to face a situation like Jephthah? Why did Jephthah make this vow? Did he not remember that he was promised victory? Did he not remember that the Lord was a witness to the agreement with the elders? Did he not remember how God had delivered the other enemies to him? It is so easy for us to act irresponsibly when we lack the necessary faith. When feel like we can not go on. When feel like all is lost. When feel like we will not be able to persevere. We must however over come that lack of faith. We must know that as part of the body of Christ we are able to continue in faith, overcoming any lack thereof.