27th March 2023
Read - Judges 11:1-3, Hebrews 11:32-38
Message Alan Burke
As we come once more to Hebrews we will this week be focusing on Jephthah, a man of faith yet the account of Jephthah the man of faith can only be described as a tragedy. One that teaches us much, it teaches us where the people of God were morally and spiritually, as well as the situation that find themselves in and most of all just how amazing the grace of God is towards us because Jephthah is mentioned among those who had faith. He had the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1).
By this stage in Israel’s history which started the generation after Joshua God’s people did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and turned to false god (Jdg 2:10–13), ’everyman did what was right in his own eyes’ (Jud 21:25). As we are introduced to Jephthah, he was was a man who was rejected by his own family because of his Da not being able to keep his hands to himself. He was rejected by his brothers, seeking to keep him from an inheritance. Jephthah suffered because of the sins of his father. Here we see that the effects of sin don’t only impact us but can also impact the generations that follow. For those of us who are parents we need to be reminded often that our own selfishness can have a detrimental impact on those whom we seek to nurture. Sometimes our own behaviour needs to be challenged, sometimes we need to wise the bap, sometimes we need reminded of the promises that we have made and there are lots of times it is easier to blame someone else than take a hard look in the mirror.
So we have Jephthah who was rejected because of his fathers infidelity, he fled, he became and outcast that is what v3 makes clear. With nowhere to go he ends up in Tob, that’s modern day Syria, sets himself up with a group of adventurers who followed him. Like Robin Hood and his merry men in Sherwood forrest. But this wasn’t robing from the rich to give to the poor. While the NIV says that these were a group of adventurers the KJV and ESV give a better indication of what the Hebrew word means that speaks of these men who had gathered round Jephthah.The KJV uses the word ‘vain’ the ESV the word ‘worthless’. These men that are with Jephthah, who are gathered round him, his band of brothers, are outcasts, vile, worthless fellas.
This band of men mark Jephthah out as a leader, but his people had rejected him because of who he is by his birth and although he’s a leader of this band of brothers ultimately today you’d label Jephthah as the leader of a paramilitary group or an organised crime gang or mercenary group living outside the law. In effect Jephthah was an outcast, he was a nobody, he was hardly a candidate for success and to be included at this stage in the examples of the hero’s of the faith in Hebrews 11 but this is the man that God used. This is the man that God choose, who used for his purposes. Time and time again we are confronted with how God uses unlikely people for his purposes, our Saviour even called a an unlikely bunch of disciples to come follow him, using them for his purposes.
We each one who by faith are his people are called to live for his glory (1 Cor 10:31), and God uses us in-spite of ourselves for his glory. Whatever we do each day there should be no division between ‘ordinary’ and ‘spiritual’ activity, it doesn’t matter if we are mowing the lawn, doing the dishes or evangelising, sharing the good news of the gospel, it is the Christian’s responsibility in life, in all that the believer does, to do it all to the glory of God. It applies to every believer and under every circumstance, it is our obligation and privilege, no area of life is to be excluded. God uses us both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil 2:13)
Q4 What is God?
God is a Spirit, (John 4:24) infinite, (Job 11:7–9) eternal, (Ps. 90:2) and unchangeable, (James 1:17) in his being, (Exod. 3:14)wisdom, (Ps. 147:5) power, (Rev. 4:8) holiness, (Rev. 15:4) justice, goodness, and truth. (Exod. 34:6–7)