Missed It By A Mile
Jephthah is one of the men listed in the Book of Hebrews as an example of faith. Yet, in all my years as a Christian, I have never heard the first mention of him by any preacher. A closer look at the life of Jephthah may explain why preachers avoid talking about this man.
Jephthah did have an easy life. He was born of a prostitute’s relationship with Gilead. He lived as an illegitimate son. His own brothers (Read brethren here) drove him out of the house (Read church here) forcing Jephthah to flee. They refused him an inheritance (Read rightful heritage here). Jephthah settled in the “land of Tob”; translated as a good land; comparable to wording for the Promised Land in Hebrew.
He was a man “despised and rejected of men.” His own family (Read church here) rejected him. His own clan, (Read ministers here) his own people, (Read body of believers here) rejected him. He was set aside as an outcast. Although viewed by others as imperfect and tarnished, God eventually used Jephthah to save them all.
Jephthah, like Joseph, was the rejected son, but became the salvation of the people. Like Christ, our Lord who was taken outside the gates of the city to be crucified, so Jephthah was driven from the gate of the city.
The story of Jephthah teaches a key truth. The Book of Hebrews lists Jephthah as an example of saving faith. God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound and shame the wise (Read ministers on pedestals here). God uses the rejected to save those who have rejected them. God is Omnipotent; He can do anything. He can turn things around, giving our lives meaning and purpose; even when you believe that nothing you do will bring glory to God. Though others discard us, deride us and disregard us, God always has the final say in our lives.
When the Ammonites were surrounding his clan and threatening to destroy them, who did they call? Yes, you got it! Jephthah was summoned to return home and save them. He was a mighty warrior! Jephthah had lived outside the gates, among the castaways and mercenaries (Read the path that Jesus walked here), but God was with him even though he had been wrongfully rejected by the religious crowd.
This same story is so common with many of God’s sons and daughters today. Jephthah teaches us to be strong in Christ; not in the accepted religious cliques and social life of the day. Christian, as we follow along the path that Jesus walked, never forget that God is all we need; never expecting to be accepted by those who have rejected us.
Jephthah was not seeking authority, position or leadership. In God’s time he was used to accomplish a task that no one else could, or even wanted to undertake. Throughout the Scriptures and the history of this world, God is looking for men and women who have no illusions of grandeur; simple Christians to be used of God for confounding those who think themselves to be wise, powerful and in control. Is it any wonder why we do not hear preaching about Jephthah?