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Summary: Driven from his home as an "illegitimate" child, Jephthah fought against the odds and elements to rediscover and reinvent himself. His tenacity led him to eventually become the hero and CEO of the nation that originally kicked him out. What to do when th

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I. LIFE IS JUST NOT ALWAYS FAIR

A. True In The World, In Church, In Families, In Workplace

B. Times When You Feel You’re Unfairly Treated

1. There may be times when you feel underappreciated, favoritism

2. There may be times when you feel excluded, left out

II. DEUTERONOMY 23 – LAWS OF SEPARATION

A. Deuteronomy 23:2 - One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord.

B. God, How Unfair Is This?

1. “One of illegitimate birth” – different word used in KJV

2. Hebrew word = “Mam-zeer” – means “corrupt, foul”

3. Used of persons born out of wedlock

a. illegitimate children; born in incest, adultery, cult prostitute

b. anyone born from connection opposed to the divine order

4. “Not even in the tenth generation” = complete separation - 500 years

5. Unfair:

a. it wasn’t that person’s fault – it was parent’s fault

b. so many people, so many years, so many generations

C. What To Do When Stuff Happens That’s Not Your Fault?

1. If it was your fault – sense of control – I got myself into this mess

2. Problem is when it’s not your fault – truly is the responsibility of others

a. you can’t change other people

b. you can’t change the past

c. sense of powerlessness & helplessness

3. Non-legitimate, unspiritual, inconsiderate, or even illegal actions of others

a. financial impacts, emotional impacts, spiritual impacts

b. not legitimate, not right, should have happened, but happens

III. JUDGES 11 TELLS OF ONE MAN WHO WAS BORN ILLEGITIMATE – JEPHTHAH

A. Read vs. 1-2 - Son of a harlot; Driven out from his home, “to divorce”

B. What Jephthah Could Have Done When Everything Was So Unfair

1. Could have squandered the rest of his years

a. doesn’t matter anyway - I’m cursed for 500 + years

b. might as well give up – get stuck

2. Isolating himself – never to trust again

3. Being a bully – bullies are some of the most insecure people

4. Begrudging everyone & everything – destroying himself

C. What He Did Instead

1. “He fled from his brothers”

a. get away from those feel unsafe around

b. not running from problems but finding safe place to sort it out

2. “Dwelt in land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went raiding with him.”

a. Tob = east of the Jordan – meant “good”

- note: good land didn’t guarantee him good outcome

- he was in a bad place & had to turn that around

- good land was not just the land, but his response

b. others displaced, emptied – lots of displaced, dislocated people

c. went raiding with him - not robbing or plundering - negative

d. but positive - made incursions upon those countries which Israel was entitled to but had not yet taken possession

3. Jephthah didn’t just sit on his rear end and give-up

a. he was resourceful & able – response-able

b. didn’t sit around blaming others, “what if” but took responsibility

c. back never against a wall – always a way, an opening

- “Jephthah” means “opening” or “opportunity”

- Jephthah looked for opportunity – “if they’re not going to possess this land, I will”


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