Whatever you want, I'm good with it. That is leadership. That is fathership. He raised his daughter to trust his leadership no matter what with her own future. And when it comes push to shove, this is what he says, Judges 11 verse 35, I have given my word to Yahweh and I cannot go back on it. Is that not powerful? I told the Lord I was going to do this.
I can't wiggle out of this. 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, and today he'll be teaching in Judges chapter 11. 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 righteous, 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, alright, 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. They should never have happened for this reason. If you didn't like that place, you should have been long gone, but 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. 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. And then he schools them. He says, better kings than you had a chance to protest this, and they knew better, and they did not. They stayed out of it.
What's your problem? And then he says, and that's in verse 25, where he's talking about Balak, who employed Balaam to curse God's people, but he could not do it. And then he says to them, you've had 300 years, 300 years to bring this up, and now you bring it up?
Your protest is worthless. And that's in verses 26 and 27. And then finally, after he stands up to them with this biblical background, which comes out in those verses, he has to slaughter them on the battlefield, because they won't back down. This is a land grab. They're trying to assert power. They're trying to gain more power.
And it's insatiable. They wanted to bully the people of God. God raised up Jephthah, who would not be bullied by anyone, and God's people prevailed. The enemy was forcibly evicted from the place they occupied among God's people in God's land. We see it to this day in the whole world. This is a grudge against Israel.
Instead of saying, hey, you know what? Maybe all these Old Testament prophecies, maybe there's something to it. And that's why their judgment will be sure, and it will be just. And so intolerant? Jephthah? Yep.
Dogmatic? Absolutely. Harsh and unforgiving when it came to dealing with lies? Absolutely. Error must be dealt with.
That is the man Jephthah. Error must be dealt with. How about personally? What about when I know there's something I do that's wrong? Am I willing to admit to myself, to me, that this is not right? If I cannot do that, I am trouble to others.
And myself, too. But I'm trouble to others. If I don't know that it's wrong, or it's a gray zone, it's a difficult thing, I'm not speaking about that. I'm talking about when we know that something we are thinking or feeling or doing is wrong, and we refuse to admit it to ourselves, we are the one in error, and God, at some point, is going to deal with it. He is not going to tolerate it in his people. And if you're not one of his people, you've got bigger problems that are one day going to fall upon you, and that without remedy. And so then, finally, there is, there are his compatriots, the tribe of Ephraim. Jephthah, God used to teach this arrogant bunch not to threaten him, and not to create civil war. Judges, chapter 12, verses 1 through 3, this is after he dealt with Ammon. And he's victorious now. Then the men of Ephraim gathered together, crossed over Zaphon, and said to Jephthah, why did you cross over to fight against the people of Ammon, and did not call us to go with you?
We will burn your house down on you with fire. Big mistake. Dude, do you know who you're talking to? This is why I love this guy. These Ephraimites had pulled the same thing with Gideon. Gideon was a little bit different character. Gideon used soft words, kind words, and he fought back. He beat back civil war.
God is saying to Jephthah, I've already dealt with this once with them, now I'm going to deal with it this way. Jephthah was not like Gideon. Diplomacy was not his forte. He was cut and dry.
No, yes. And if he could answer no, yes, if it was that clear, those were his answers. Anything outside of that, you were looking for a fistfight, and you were going to lose. This man was trained by God to be the man that he was. He did not soften the facts when he dealt with wrong people. He did not pretend that the evil they were doing was somehow salvageable. That there were some things in, well, you're not so bad. He would not look on the bright side, well, for a bright side, when there was no bright side.
This is darkness. That's what it is. And it's those who are emotionally driven or corrupt that don't like that. Now, maybe I'm talking to you. Maybe you're one of those high octane, over-the-counter emotional.
Look, it's fine to be emotional at certain times, but not when it comes to truth and error. It's never acceptable. You will cause problems for others. How come you didn't come to my birthday party? I didn't want to. Why can't that be the end? Now I know it's not that easy.
There are variables in that. I mean, if it's your wife, you're going to have problems. If you don't go to your wife's party, you're dumb.
I'm sorry, there's no hope for you. But a lot of people aren't your wife. And they need to get over it. But they won't.
They're going to nurse that grudge. Well, where else can you be, or we, we people of Christ, where else can we be corrected like this? Then the pulpit.
What an excellent idea. Because if people were to walk up to you and confront you one-on-one, there would be always this, you know, that would be bad. But when God is bringing it out from his word, there's no escape.
All the fire exits are sealed. And now you have conviction. And so I need to get back to this concerning Ephraim, this tribe that now came against this man of God. When they threatened to burn his house down, I would love to have seen the look on Jephthah's face. He's probably taken off his coat. All right.
Well, if he was a gunslinger, that would be the point where the music would play and the pistol would show and it wouldn't be long before the undertaker had more business than he could handle. Verse 2 of chapter 12, it says, And Jephthah said to them, My people and I were in a great struggle. Stop right there.
I mean, that's life, right? We were doing something. That's Nehemiah's word. I'm doing a great work. I cannot come, stop and come down and hold your hand.
Sorry. And he goes on with the work. He says, My people and I were in a great struggle with the people of Ammon. And then he says, And when I called you, you did not deliver me out of their hands. I gave you notice.
I called you to help. And now you're going to stand in front of me all hot and bothered because your feelings are bothered. You don't like the reality that you confronted with when you created it. And you want me to pretend that these things aren't so.
You want me to somehow say to you, I'm sorry, boss, but I'm not saying any of that. I'm going to tell you like it is. You know, we don't read about Mrs. Jephthah. We know he had a daughter.
And I need to pause here and confront that right away. I do not believe Jephthah offered his daughter up as a burnt offering, but I do believe he offered his daughter up to a chaste life. And we don't have time to get, that's a whole sermon by itself to deal with all of the, what the text says and what really happened. And it's kind of foolish to think that such a man of God who's called a man of faith would have committed a crime beyond sin.
But the story makes it clear the holiday that was created because of that and so forth. And so knocking that out of the way, here Jephthah standing before them not pretending that their wrongs do not exist, not giving an inch to them. You're reminded of the apostle Paul not yielding for one hour. And again, if you do this and you are right, you will be wronged by people who are supposed to be right. We understand when people outside of the church don't like the way we do what we do, but when the people in the church question righteous methods, that is always disappointing. I'm not saying people shouldn't question things, not at all.
It's not a dictatorship. But when it is righteous, that's the end of the discussion. You would think, you would think Ephraim would have said, praise God, he raised up a judge in Jephthah who dealt with this. But no, they want some of the spoils. They want power. They do not want this man to be a judge.
They want to be a judge. Ephraim, you know, they were a descendant of the son of Joseph. They felt that they saved the nation, never mind Manasseh, his brother, and after a while the northern kingdoms would even be referred to as Ephraim, the clout that they craved. And yet they picked a bad day and the wrong guy tried to force some sort of street respect from him. And so Ephraim fought with their feelings and did not like the reality that existed and that was inescapable. And if you, again, if you think with your feelings you're not going to like this man, but if you're thinking by faith, you cannot escape the merits and the value of such a character or character traits in your own heart as a male or female. It's not a promotion of being harsh.
Again, he was not harsh. Now some folks, by nature, they are, in Christ, the Spirit has given them a diplomatic spirit. I have someone in my family that is just, I mean, they could turn back a tidal wave with diplomacy. Now, there has to be more parts of the, other parts of the oceans you want to go to and the waves would go away in shame. But other of us, we don't have that.
We start shooting at the waves. It's like not a rock, scissors, knife. You got to know when to use the right thing to deal with whatever's in front of you. And for this moment, Jephthah was the man and in those times in life, you have people that are out of bounds and they need to be brought back in bounds.
Jephthah, that is the man. And so when they threatened to burn his house down, they did not understand. They just signed their own death warrant.
This was going to be huge. Now here's something, why I say listen to the emotionalism inside of this tribe of Ephraim. They had no stomach for fighting Ammon themselves. They knew they were squatting in that portion of the land. They knew they were threatening war.
They knew that it was going to be an insatiable appetite but they were afraid. They did not want to go out onto the battlefield. And the fact that Ephraim, that Jephthah goes out and deals with them decisively with their false claims, they don't like that.
Now you would think they'd say now wait a minute, we weren't tough enough to go against Ammon. Jephthah was. Maybe it's not a good idea to pick with him.
Maybe we should go find the tribe of Asher or the tribe of, you know, Naphtali and pick on them. But Jephthah's the guy to leave alone. But they can't because their feelings are doing their thinking at this point.
And now, you know, to save face they're going to have to go through with this whole thing and it's going to cost many lives. They made the mistake of thinking that they could push this man around and they had no right to do it. And so finally he was a man of action. He was a man of God's word and his own word under God's word. That's integrity. When he said something he did it. We know this because of course when he said, Lord if you give me this victory, and he's the one that publishes this, if you give me this victory, whatever comes out my house first to greet me, I will offer as a burnt offering to you. And it was his daughter.
Now as stated, he did not sacrifice his daughter as a blood sacrifice, but he sacrificed her. It's a heavy thing in this life. It was a heavy thing for him. She, in evidence of his upbringing, says, Dad, whatever you want, whatever you want, I'm good with it. That is leadership. That is fathership.
He raised his daughter to trust his leadership no matter what with her own future. And when, when it comes push to shove, this is what he says, Judges 11 verse 35, I have given my word to Yahweh and I cannot go back on it. Is that not powerful?
I told the Lord I was going to do this. That's that. I can't wiggle out of this.
I can't say do over. These are his big words. They are robust. They are masculine. There's nothing flabby or cheap about those words.
They are high priced, upper level words. I've given my word to Jehovah God. I cannot go back on it. Man, I want some of that. I want as much of that like collecting manna on, on Friday.
I want to collect as much of it as I can for the Sabbath to come. And then in Judges 11 verse 27, I'm going to be reading from the old King James Version, dealing with his adversaries again. He says, but thou doeth me wrong to war against me. You're messing with the wrong guy. And, and you're wrong.
I'm right. It's not like, well, you know, I'm just, you know, you know, in the other song Bad Leroy Brown, he was meanest guy in the whole town, but he was still a creepy guy. Jephthah's not a creepy guy, but he is mean as a junkyard dog.
And so when he says you do wrong to war against me, it's an understatement. You know, when someone says something negative to Jephthah, everybody in back said, ooh, you're going to regret those words. When I get to heaven, I have no questions for Jephthah.
I would just like to look him in the eyes and shake his hand. It's a model of a man in the midst of adversity from every corner of life. Judges chapter 11 verse 29, listen to what it says. Then the spirit of Jehovah came upon Jephthah and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed through Mizpah of Gilead. And from Mizpah of Gilead, he advanced to the people of Ammon. There's no backing down. Once he was on the war path, he's going to see it through. And the Holy Spirit captured this. It says, follow Jephthah.
Again, he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and Mizpah of Gilead. He could have backed down. He could have thought about, you know what, maybe this is a bad idea. Maybe we need some more men.
Send another note to Ephraim. We could sure use his battalions. I don't need no battalions. Battalions?
I don't got no stinking battalions. Okay. Anyway, so here's the close to the whole thing. There was more to Jephthah than other people's rules. I like that about him. He put those who needed to be put in their places. I like that about him. When it was his authority. They came to him. He's a counter puncher.
Not an understatement. It's a critical part of what we're talking about. When Jephthah pulled his sword, it's because someone else pulled theirs first. One is free to side against him, but only so far before the hammer drops. That's respect. That's to understand that he's not an inflexible man, but he is an intolerant man after you reach the point of no return. If he was labeled harsh, it is because he refused to cooperate with wrong ideas. When you come across a Jephthah in life, it is best to not try to conform him. Let him be made in his maker's image.
And so finally, you do yourself wrong to war against this type of servant. 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.
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