Have you ever met someone who's trying to wedge themselves into a testimony? In other words, they really don't deserve it, but they want to be known as maybe the leader, the wise one to go get counsel from. And they do what they can do to draw people to themselves.
Jephthah did nothing but escape rude folk, and his leadership abilities were such that those who were failures, who themselves were outcasts, they came to him. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Genesis.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Jephthah the Hammer is the title of Pastor Rick's message. He'll be teaching in Judges chapter 11 today. God cannot always work with pleasant folk. He needs someone that's willing to stand up to things that others don't want righteous people to stand up to. An indomitable spirit. In other words, you will not dominate me. You will not dominate my spirit with your sin or your blasphemy or whatever. In the end, I will be worshipping the Lord. And so his judgeship was a great service to the nation, saved countless lives of the promised land people we know as the Jews. He did not accommodate error, and he did not accommodate emotionalism. And if you do this in your own life, if you refuse to accommodate emotionalism and error, you will be labeled by someone or some group, but you will be wrong. And if you're one of those people that is easily excited and lets that excitement run away with your behavior and you're good with that, you won't like a man like Jephthah.
He's going to be rain on your parade. My own life, there are a lot of things I just flat out don't like that people have come up with. Holidays is one of them. I don't like them. I don't mind if others like them.
I don't judge them. But I'm not going to let anybody force me to skip along to something that I don't have to skip to. And I made many an enemy over the year. This is why I like this guy, I think.
I can't tell you how many times I've been in an environment where someone has popped up, awesome dude, awesome, let's do this, let's do this, and they're all way over the top. I don't want to do that. Now they don't like you because you're not playing along. It doesn't have to be something that is sinful. It's just something that steals your freedom. I don't want to be a person that lays a trip on people as we used to say colloquially. I don't want to lay my burden on someone else. I don't want to be that guy. But I also don't want to be the guy someone else lays something on, well, we have a customer around here. And if you don't do this, what? If I don't do it, what?
I don't love you, I don't love them. Birthday parties, don't even bother. Hey, we got a birthday party, want you out? And I'm going. And I've learned to like being this way. Here's an example.
I'll get back on text in a minute. There was a time when there was a baby coming that they would have a baby shower. It kind of is an appropriate name for anything with a little baby. But anyway, and all the ladies would go and be at the ladies with the baby shower and the men would have like free time.
They could go hunt, they could eat earthworms, they could do anything they wanted to do. I've noticed within the last few years somebody's trying to put an end to this. They now have a cubby hole for all the men to gather in. And they open the little window and they put in chips and soda and they close it back. Now if you like that, that's fine. But if I don't like it, don't you try to come against me. Now this is all fine with these incidental things.
They're probably people that they're tuning in, they just, they turned this off a long time ago when I mentioned birthdays and that's it, I don't want to hear anything. And that's my point. That is the very point.
We have no right to lay on other people our standards, regardless of how much of a thrill we get out of it. And this man typifies this. His case is worse in that he was wronged before birth. Before he was even born, things went wrong for him. Again, Judges chapter 11 verse 1, Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot, and Gilead begot Jephthah. As part of his life tragedy, he was the son of a father who was unfaithful. How do you, as a man, be taught to be a man by a dad who's unfaithful?
By a dad who did not take the time, in spite of his mistake, to take steps to make it right? Because, look at verse 2 of Judges 11, Gilead's wife bore sons. And when his wife's sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, You shall have no inheritance in our father's house, for you are the son of another woman.
We don't read about their names. They're not listed in Hebrews 11, but Jephthah is. So before birth he had an unfaithful father, but it gets worse for him. Not only did he have a father that trampled upon his marriage vows, but he had an unclean mother as well. Jephthah was a child of shame for something that he was not to blame for.
That didn't stop people from stoning him. Not with rocks, but in their heart, with their words. What a miserable childhood it must have been. He was a fragment of a home that never was.
Now if you've been born and raised in a fine home, you can appreciate this. When I think of my childhood, what stands out to me the most is my parents' love, more than anything. Everything else is speckled, good, bad, but that parental love was always right. My father, you know, he had a scowl when he was upset, and he had a scowl when he wasn't, and he wasn't upset. He was a loving man. And I appreciate my dad and my mom more and more as time goes by. I try not to think about it too much in the pulpit.
I don't want to break down. This man, Jephthah, did not have that. It was cheated, didn't get it. How would you like to have a mother who was a professional outcast? How would you like the whole village to know that that's your mom, and you are her son, and you don't have a father? And then when he got old, they stole his inheritance from him. That's critical. It's a tough way to live.
And yet, he did not allow his unsavory upbringing, or lack thereof, to spoil the rest of his life. Quite the contrary. How many people snarl and snap at other people at the church? I'm not going back to that church.
They told me that they'd, I'm not going to church ever again. Bitter, sour folk. They need to grow up. Life is much bigger than that. Life is much bigger than any moment in our time where our feelings are hurt. Unless, unless you want to be petty and stay there. Now, I'm not preaching not knowingly to anyone here, but if I am, then receive it from the Lord. But there certainly are people that each one of us know that are petty, and they will not let some past experience slide.
And not only are they the worse off for it, but anybody else who happens to be stuck with them. And so, harsh adversity came to this man from before birth, and it came to him as an adult. Came to him from four corners of his life. First, it was his family. That's a critical place.
We've touched on that. It came from his tribesmen, the people in his neighborhood. Who could not escape from them and their judgmental eye. He received adversity from aliens and compatriots alike. No matter where he was, he found himself, it seemed somebody was against him.
He had great lessons in this. An outcast who escaped and survived. Now, we read verses 1 and 2, which talked about his birth, his siblings, but look at verse 3. Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob. And worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him. Now, if you're not careful, you would think that he has turned into some sort of a bandit.
That is far from the case. The worthless men that banded to him are really men who were bankrupt or unemployed, and subsequently they too were outcast. And so here's Jephthah, broke, his inheritance, gone, no name in an environment where this was critical, and yet God was using him. God was using these unjust hardships that were hardening him up. God was using those hardships for God's purposes. It reminds us of Romans 8.28. We all know this verse. It says, and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, those who are called according to his purpose.
Jephthah loved the Lord. Comes out in his brief chapter in a bit about him. Comes out in his words, comes out in his life.
We're very clear about this. And this is why the dropout from society made their way to him. To be a soul like that.
Have you ever met someone who's trying to wedge themself into a testimony? In other words, they really don't deserve it, but they want to be known as maybe the leader, the wise one to go get counsel from. And they do what they can do to draw people to themselves. Jephthah did nothing but escape rude folk, and his leadership abilities were such that those who were failures, who themselves were outcasts, they came to him. They were not rogues. They were men who failed. They were men who had nothing but discovered someone in Jephthah, and they became someone. This raiding, these raiding bands of men, this was common in those days. Other villages would put together raiding parties, and they would come, and they would steal from the weaker villages.
Jephthah had figured out it was better to strike first. It's better to take it to them, rather than they bringing it to us. And not like these people who are in really an imaginary world, you know, no more nuclear proliferation. Just wake up.
Once man has discovered it, he's going to have it. And you're going around acting like you can put him back in the barn. It's ridiculous. We say this about, you know, all the shootings. What do they happen in gun-free zones?
Well, let's make some guns free to people who can carry them into those zones, and we won't have these tragedies anymore. Now, I'm trying to bring out the illogic of people and the logic of Jephthah. And so, unlike reckless Abimelech before him, who brought around himself—we're told this in Judges 9—he brought lewd men, base men to himself. But that was not the case with this man. And so, it soon became well known that you weren't to trifle with Jephthah.
You weren't to go pick a fight with him. I want to read again from Hebrews chapter 11. This is again about the heroes of faith, but Jephthah's name is in this number, and these lines apply to him. It says in Hebrews 11, verses 32 to 34, and I'm taking excerpts from those verses. It says, "'For the time would fail me to tell of Jephthah. Through faith subdued kingdoms, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
All of those fit him, but the outstanding one for me is out of weakness made strong.'" There's room at the cross not only for every sinner to receive salvation, but to receive the Holy Spirit. And when we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive dunamis, we receive power. Jesus said, "'Tarry in Jerusalem till I come, and you shall receive power and you shall be witnesses.'" And we lose sight of this, but Jesus doesn't. You may walk around, and I don't feel the Spirit. Jesus was not saying that.
He's right there. How many days had to go by for this man to be miserable? And yet all the time God was forging in him what he needed to save the people who were being bullied because of their apostasy. Then there was the tribe that cast him out. Here is Jephthah, who if he had not been cast out incidentally, he would not have had the chance to make men out of men who were failures. Verses 4 and 8, or 4 through 8 in Judges chapter 11, "'It came to pass after a time that the people of Ammon made war against Israel.'" Incidentally, modern-day Ammon is Jordan, east of the Jordan River, the nation, the kingdom of Jordan, continues, "'And so it was when the people of Ammon made war against Israel that the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob.'" Well, why did they have to do that? Simply because of the family members?
No. They were part of getting him out of their village. Continues, "'Then they said to Jephthah, Come and be our commander, that we may fight against the people of Ammon.' So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, Did you not hate me and expel me from my father's house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?" He's calling it like it is.
He's holding them accountable. "'You people hated me. You couldn't wait to be rid of me, my own father's house. You know what that means, because you are all beneficiaries of this culture.
Not me, though. I'm an outcast, and now you come to me. Why do you come to me?'" Verse 8, "'And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, That is why we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.'" You see those bands in verse 3, wordless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him. He was building up a testimony. Word was getting around that Jephthah and his men was one posse you did not want to have coming behind you, coming up behind you. These men recognized that God was making this man into a judge. That's why they're saying, we want you to be our commander, from castaway to commander.
You might not have liked him, but you were going to respect him. I think the church should be that way. If Christians were that way in the workplace, if people despised us because of the salt, the righteousness upon us, they would respect us.
We'd see more converts, we'd have less problems in our communities. You want to change the way people behave, change the way they think about God. But the church has so often spoiled her testimony by doing everything, not everything, but so often. The church just ignores the simple things of scripture and does it their way.
And one of the big ones is casting pearl before swine. The world does not understand the church. When we preach our message to her without the Holy Spirit, she just sees hypocrisy. She sees someone preaching an ideal message that they wish was so, but when they look at the preachers of the message, they say this is a fraud. In the end, the woman who rides the beast in the book of Revelation is discovered to actually be a fraud and she is trampled by the beast. They hate her so. But when the church, again, is clear about who she is and what is the church? It's the bride of Christ. We're supposed to preach Christ.
All the other stuff comes with that. The righteousness, the commandments, the morals, all those things are a part and an indivisible part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the church oftentimes extracts from parts of the gospel and puts it up front before Christ and then you have judges, we don't see it too much now, they've abandoned it rightfully so, but trying to say, you have to have the word of God in the courts. It was a lost fight from the very beginning. God has never called us to that and there was a better way to fight the fight.
I know I've said this before, but it needs to be said again. Had they simply said, it's just Hebrew literature, they would have won. That would have been it because everybody else's literature is in there. But no, they had to show how righteous they were and I'm not disputing that they're honest and decent and clean folks and love the Lord and will be in heaven. But on this item, on this line item, they were wrong. And the result is, we had a righteous judge no longer on the bench, just where we need him. We have to learn to fight. These things, spiritual warfare does not come natural to carnal people, which we are by nature. And so the chiefs, they come to him.
And of course he says, all right, I'll be the commander. Before I get to verse 11, I want to come to the next group of opposition. We're talking now the four corners that were against him. His family, we've discussed them, we've discussed the tribal elders, and now we come to the Ammonites themselves. They were Israel's chief tormentor in Jephthah's day. We read about it again, verse 4, it came to pass after a time that the people of Ammon made war against Israel.
Okay, we've got that established. This was going to be a bloodbath in the end, but who was going to prevail? It meant everything to one's survival. And God answered the face of lies that came through these adversaries, through this man Jephthah, who a lot of people were uncomfortable with, and when we find a Jephthah in the church, many Christians aren't prepared for that. They're used to pushovers, they're used to people agreeing with no matter what, regardless of what silly emotional thing they come up with, they're used to people agreeing with them, making a treaty with them, tolerating them, but what they cannot stand is someone saying, no, can't take that. And they often leave, or they stay and they become an Absalom at the gate or some variation of a troublemaker within God's house, and they do this as though they're justified because their feelings were hurt. This is a message that if you get in your church, know that other churches, not all of them, but a great many of them, are not preaching this. They cannot say it to their congregations. Why? Because their congregations are so incredibly guilty, there'd be an uprising.
Who wants that Monday morning? What pastor wants to wake up to a congregational split or uprising? I think congregational splits are despicable. It should never have happened for this reason. If you didn't like that place, you should have been long gone. What you should not have done is hung around to amass a following. And when you split and you take people, you're saying, I stayed when I didn't like it until I had enough to move. And even if that's not the case, that's how it looks.
Yet, you can't change these things, but that doesn't mean you can let these things change you. And so God's answer to the lies of Amnon, which we'll get to in a moment, was the hammer. That's how God was going to deal with these people. You see, the Ammonites, they settled down in a corner of the Promised Land that was not theirs. This is where Gilead, you know, Manasseh, Gad, half the tribe of Manasseh, Gad, and Reuben, they stayed on the east side of the Jordan. Well, these, from Ammon, had claimed a section of that land for themselves. They had a grudge towards Israel. Their grudge was this, that land was never theirs, and they didn't like that Israel got it, and not them. But this is 300 years ago.
That's when it all happened, when Moses was still leading the nation of Israel. And so they're nursing the grudge. Any of you nursing a grudge? Making it comfortable? Making sure it has everything it needs to stay healthy and strong?
You're going to nurse this thing to hell? It's a vindictive spirit. It is a lying spirit.
It is something all of us must be on guard against, and the best way to do that is start off by believing what God said and embracing it. Vengeance is His. If someone's dealt wrong with you, he'll deal with that. Most of the time, it's not our place to deal with this. And even in the administration of justice, it's the administration of justice, it's not revenge.
It's not a satisfaction of some urge inside to prevail. And so here's a concise overview of what was taking place in Judges chapter 11 and verses 16 through 22, when the Ammonites came and said, this is our land. You stole it from us. Jephthah, who is now the judge and the commander of the people, he schools them in the Old Testament. You can read that, verses 16 through 22. And then he responds to them with, to the victor go the spoils. If you won a victory through your gods, you would claim that as your God's will. Well, we won this through our God, and it is our God's will that this land be ours. To the victor go the spoils.
That's how the game is played. You've been listening to Cross-Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Pastor Rick is teaching from God's word each time you tune in.
As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, this teaching is available free of charge at our website. Just visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross-Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can do so at crossreferenceradio.com or search for Cross-Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app store. That's all for today. Join Pastor Rick next time for more character studies, right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-27 07:28:13 / 2022-12-27 07:37:37 / 9