Summary: Jephthah had a truly tragic beginning to his life. Hated, despised, driven out. Despite all odds he kept his walk with God, trained for future victory, and was raised by God to be Judge over all Israel. We aren't at the mercy of circumstances!
PRISONER OF THE WINDS?
Judges 11:1-33; 12:7
1. David, Henry and Alan, 3 little boys, were visiting their grandparents. David went over to his grandfather and asked, "Can you make a sound like a frog?
2. His grandfather, being in a kind of ill mood replies, "No David, I don't really want to make the sound of a frog right now." Next Henry went over to his grandfather and asked, "Papa, will you please make a sound like a frog?"
3. Once again, his grandfather said, "No Henry, not now. I don't really want to do that. I'm in a grumpy mood. Maybe later."
4. Lastly Alan went over to him and said, "Papa, oh please, please, please will you make a sound like a frog?"
5. "Why do all of you boys want me to make a sound like a frog?" their grandfather asked.
6. David replied, with a hopeful look on his face, "Well Grandpa, Mommy told us that when YOU croak, we get to go to Disney World!"
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. 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."
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?" 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."
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. 29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. 32 Then
Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands.
C. THESIS/ TITLE
1. We're going to look at a man who God worked great things in and how, in the end, he became God's leader for His people by overcoming. “Overcomer” – “one who faces a great contest but turns defeat into victory through hidden inner strength.”
2. Title: "Prisoner of the Winds?"
I. JEPHTHAH’S TRAGIC MISFORTUNE
A. HIS BIRTH
1. He was a child of shame. His mother was a prostitute. In that time, prostitution and illegitimacy were on par with a crime.
2. It was not his fault. He had no part in the sin of his father, yet he became treated as if he had done wrong.
3. How many know it’s possible to feel bad about something even if you haven’t done anything?
4. ILLUS. Pastor William Russ told about giving a sermon one Sunday. He heard two teenage girls in the back giggling and disturbing people. He interrupted his sermon and announced sternly, "There are two of you here who have not heard a word I've said." That quieted them down.
5. When the service was over, he went to greet people at the front door. 3 different adults apologized for going to sleep in church, promising it would never happen again.
B. HOW HIS FAMILY TREATED HIM
1. His own brothers despised him. They expelled him from the family -- either from a motive of selfishness or a false feeling of guilt.
2. To them, Jephthah was just a reminder of their father’s infidelity.
3. They denied him any of his father's inheritance: not one dollar, not 1 acre of land.
C. HE BECAME A REFUGEE
1. He was driven from their territory.
2. He fled and lived in the Land of Tob, near Ammon, a land of:
a. Enemies of Israel
b. A warlike people
c. Immoral, Idolatrous, and Lawless people.
3. It was a terrible place to try to serve the Lord.
D. “I DON’T WANT THIS, GOD!”
1. Five-year-old Johnny was being urged by his mother to take some medicine. "It's good for you, Johnny. And God wants you to take it."
2. "I don't think He does, Mommy. I'll ask Him." The youngster buried his head under the blankets on his bed, and soon a hoarse voice spoke; "No! Definitely not!"
3. But sometimes God does want us to go through difficulty for a higher purpose, and so we can become overcomers.