Summary: Who by faith…Jephthah. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Reading: Hebrews chapter 11 verses 32-34.
• Hebrews chapter 11 is God’s hall of fame;
• It is a list of people who are honoured because of the faith.
• As you read the chapter what surprises you is who is left out and who is included!
• In verse 32 we are introduced to a man called Jephthah.
• Most Bible readers would probably say; “Who?”
• Jephthah he was the 9th judge, leader of Israel.
• He controlled the destiny of that nation for six years.
• Jephthah is the story of a man;
• Who went from being a zero, in the eyes of many, to becoming a hero.
• It is a ‘Cinderella’ type story.
• Somebody despised and rejected;
• Who will eventually be elevated to a position of honour and authority.
• Only this story doesn’t end, “…and the lived happily ever after”,
• As we will see, Jephthah’s story actually finishes on a tragic note.
• I want to split his story up under three headings:
• The first heading will give us the background, the times into which he was born.
(1). A Nation in decay (Judges 10: 1-18)
• Sadly we are used to reading headlines in our newspapers like:
• FAMILY FEUD LEAVES 69 BROTHERS DEAD!
• POWERFUL GOVERNMENT LEADER CAUGHT IN "LOVE NEST."
• GANG RAPE LEADS TO VICTIM'S DEATH AND DISMEMBERMENT.
• GIRLS AT PARTY KIDNAPPED AND FORCED TO MARRY STRANGERS.
• WOMAN JUDGE SAYS TRAVELERS NO LONGER SAFE ON HIGHWAYS.
• Sensational headlines like these are usually found on the front page of the tabloids,
• But these headlines actually describe the times, the events in the Book of Judges.
• What a contrast they are to the closing chapters of the Book of Joshua,
• Where you see a nation resting from war;
• And enjoying the riches God had given them in the Promised Land.
• But in the Book of Judges the picture dramatically changes for the nation of Israel;
• Instead of peace they are constantly invaded,
• Instead of freedom they are at times enslaved,
• Instead of a land of milk and honey they experience poverty;
• Instead of being a united country they were experiencing civil war.
Question: What happened, what brought about this dramatic change?
Life ought to teach us, that deterioration is never sudden:
• No garden is suddenly overgrown with weeds,
• No building suddenly crumbles,
• No church suddenly splits,
• No tree suddenly falls,
• No marriage suddenly breaks down,
• No person suddenly becomes base,
The nation of Israel quickly decayed over a period of time:
• The old generation died off;
• And a new generation of Israelites were born and took over;
• This new generation did not know their former leader Joshua (he was history);
• And even worse they did not know Joshua’s God.
• Very soon apathy towards spiritual things began to take over.
• Instead of obeying the Lord, the people moved into apostasy.
• Instead of law and order ruling the nation,
• The land was soon filled with anarchy!
• One of the key verses from the book of Judges is chapter 21 verse 25:
• “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.”
• Message: “… People did whatever they felt like doing.”
• KJB: “… every man did that which was right in his own eyes”.
• There are two sides to a sheet of flypaper,
• And it makes a big difference to the fly which side he chooses.
• Sadly the nation made the wrong choices;
• And decay and failure marked the nation.
(2). A leader in demand (Judges 11: 1-33)
• England’s most famous outlaw, has to be the legendary hero of the 12th-century;
• The courteous, swashbuckling outlaw Robin Hood.
• Who, in modern versions of the legend,
• Is famous for his robbing the rich to feed the poor & fighting against injustice & tyranny.
• He operates with his "seven score"
• (140 strong) group of fellow outlawed yeomen;
• Named the Merry Men for their famed jollity
• Who were based in hideouts in Sherwood Forest and Barnsdale Forest.
• The chief nemesis of the Merry Men is the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham;
• Who is overtaxing the people into poverty,
• And in some tales the villain is Prince John,
• Based on Prince John of England.
• Robin is the hero who comes always at the right time;
• To rescue those individuals or villages in distress.
Jephthah has been described as an Eastern Robin Hood:
• Because of no fault of his own he too was rejected;
• Verse 3 tells us that like Robin Hood he had his gang of merry men.