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A Surprising Saint - Judges 11:1-11

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2020 12:00 am

A Surprising Saint - Judges 11:1-11

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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January 27, 2020 12:00 am

Jephthah's story teaches us the remarkable lesson that no matter what stains the pages of your past, God is not finished writing.

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Born noblewoman was born abandoned by her taken into the home of a father who really didn't insist that he be treated equally back his father's absence is rather obvious. That's evidently embarrassed by the constant reminder of the sin.

So Jeff is left to fend for himself and he eventually ends up leading a gang of guys out there in the land of toe when nobody wanted to live. This is the beginning of the story of a surprising their life just seems so bad and so out of control. One of the powerful lessons that were going to learn today. Your unwisdom for the heart is at our past doesn't need to define us when we encounter the grace of God working to examine the story of a man that you would have never expected to amount to much. But God used him in a powerful way.

Stephen Davey is taking us to an Old Testament example of a man who seems the least likely candidate for an honor.

He'll receive your statement. You know I think if were honest will have to admit that we all know one or two what we could call surprising saints. Think of John Newton, the author of amazing grace is rather limited mission that when he got to heaven he would no doubt be surprised to see some people there that he did not expect to see we have the natural tendency to write someone off because of their past, or what we might know of their history were often rough and surprised by the grace of God which is an indication that we think way too highly of ourselves, because the grace of God in saving us and using us is no less surprising. Amen.

That's what grace is grace is undeserved. It is unmerited and can I add the word. It is surprising favor from God. The truth is, God has stooped to redeem all of us every one of us.

We were all dog from the same pit of depravity and defiance and and disobedience. And that's where he found where all surprising saints, the grace of God in that manner isn't just the New Testament principal or truth it's demonstrated I've attempted to try to do that in the lives of several people that I brought to the forefront. What I want to do in this last message is go back to an Old Testament passage. All of these have been from the Old Testament. Perhaps future will do a series from the new Testaments to take your Bibles and turn back to the book of Judges and let me introduce to you one of the most colorful, fascinating judges to date, of the kind of guy that if you saw him on the campus of a Bible college, and you probably move across the street. His biography begins the chapter 11, brief as it is verse one.

Now Jeff the Gilly of night was a valiant warrior but he was the son of a harlot, and Julia was the father of Jeff and Gillian's wife bore him sons and when his wife's sons grew up. They drove Jeff out and said to him, you shall not have an inheritance in our father's house, for you are the son of another woman. So Jeff fled from his brothers and lived in the land of 12 and worthless fellows gathered themselves about Jephthah and they went out with them.

That word translated worthless is translated by others as adventurers submit to Hollywood for me. What really translated it means empty reckless you could translated Bible. These are the shady characters from the back alleys of Israel and they find in Jeff that the kind of leader they're looking for. The only people that seem to want to have anything to do with him or other misfits and vagrants of his generation and they live in the land of hope that name can mean wilderness.

It can be translated three less. In other words, this is a gang of of nobodies living in nowhere still living hand to mouth. I can you imagine with knowing this much this biography going anywhere, but just further down born noblewoman. He wished he never been born, abandoned by her taken into the home of a father who really didn't care enough to insist that he be treated equally. In fact, his father's absence is rather obvious.

Perhaps evidently embarrassed by the constant reminder of his sin, and so Jeff is left to fend for himself and he eventually ends up leading a gang of guys out there in the land of toe when nobody wanted to live. This is the beginning of the story of a surprising St. the coming courageous leader of Israel because her from the famous Scottish preacher Dr. Alexander Whyte knew something of Jeff, this pain and past I have the books written by this tremendous church leader Pastor author who served Christ, ultimately becoming the president of the Bible college in the 1800s. Alexander Whyte had been born out of wedlock and he carried his lifelong stigma.

He didn't let it lead, but he did contend with mockery. Growing up, especially in his generation, the whispers of the townspeople when they saw him. When Alexander was born, his mother gave him his father's surname. Try to get them on the right to a right start but she reared him in abject poverty. At the same time something it happened in her life. She was a follower of Christ as he grew she raised him in what he calls deep spiritual piety for the vocabulary of later. Things in time he became apprenticed to a shoemaker and through hard work, he entered the University of Aberdeen and eventually Edinboro and then entered the ministry, a committed follower of Christ is preaching. As you can imagine was deeply marked with sensitivity for those around. He identified with, especially those who had a pass over the course of his ministry. He preached many sermons on biographies and those sermons were eventually published.

I hold out of curiosity. My copy of Alexander Whyte's concise biographies. They aren't concise. No Puritan's concise, that book is nearly 800 pages long.

I turned to see if he had a chapter on Jeff and did he ever have a check. I thought it would be interesting to read you some of what he wrote. I found it moving. He writes Jephthah was the most ill used man in all the Old Testament as a first start, and he continues to be the most completely misunderstood, misrepresented and ill used man down to this buffeted about from his birth by his brothers, trampled upon by all men, but most of all, by the men of his father's house called all manner of odious and exasperating names. When a prophet would come the dying he would be sent away to the fields to be out of sight iron resentment had entered his soul while yet he lay in his mother's womb, and both his father and his brothers and the elders of Israel helped deepen his affliction, but then the Lord rose up for Jephthah and said it is enough and he poured oil and wine into his lifelong will's while written by a man understood it. Perhaps you can identify in some way with Jeff the in the endurance of a painful maybe the consequences of parental sin. Maybe the doubts or questions which he no doubt would have had this treeless wilderness.

God has written you off your unusable unwanted while I want to reassure you that the stories about the change could turn a corner here, but I want Jeff that you become an encouragement to you. Perhaps in the encouragement would be along these lines, that no matter what stains the pages of your past God's grace is not finished writing is not finished right he has more to add to your biography God is a way. Being able to reach down and brace into the deepest pit units. It is as if God as you study the biographies of the Bible and those in in the family of God. It's as if God mixes the ink for his pen of grace from the darkest moments of your past dark ink, but he keeps right Corrie 10 boom after surviving a concentration camp during World War II. This Jewish believer would often testify.

There is no pit so deep that God is not knows far as I Israel is concerned.

Jeff was beyond redemption. But God has other ideas in mind, let me show you one other phrase where the story begins to turn the provide some additional insight and is early days of rejection.

When the elders of Israel looked down over seven decide by God's leading opposite the Jeff is a mandoline them in the battle. Notice what Jephthah responds by saying the Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead. Note this. Did you not hate me and drive me from my father's house and and you come to me now when you are in trouble.

Imagine, by the way what that implies. The elders had not wanted him around either wasn't just a family squabble this. This became part of the clan and perhaps even even larger in its dimension. So here the elders who didn't want him around either with us or others worked out, but you sort of imagine the making. This formal trip to the home of of Gilead and their collars are starched and pressed their hearts are buttoned up tightly as well and knocked on the door and invited into the parlor. Jephthah can hear the low murmur of voices he could make out enough to know exactly what they're saying is a talk to his father Gilead. Your illegitimate son an embarrassment to the community, your reputation stay at its best. He isn't here he needs to pack up and leave the elders so with his brothers sneering in the background and his own father, cowardly perhaps halfheartedly apologizing. His mother evidently know where around to say goodbye.

Jeff is effectively rejected by his people and his family and he's exiled in the land of any gathers around him other men with similar pasts, but with this one thing in common. None of them had a future. None of the way Alexander Whyte points out, the Jephthah become something of an illustration of Jesus Christ biography born the mid suspicions of an immoral mother conceived out of wedlock. Growing up to eventually be rejected by the elders of Israel, and the man who seemed to gather around him sinners and tax collectors. People with the past people everyone had written off as people with no that hinder the grace of God enter the grace of God the grace of God is given to those who deserve it for Nandu is undeserved favor. And Paul writes it is the last finished out upon us. People like Jeff people like us who without him would have no future. Now the next stage in his biography is the expression of God's grace because the elders come to seek him out. You can read here where I go to verse five. It happened when the sons of Ammon fought against Israel that the elders of Gilead went to get Jeff the from the land of Tahoe and they said to Jeff to come and be our chief that we may fight against the sons of Ammon that the people need a fighter. They need somebody scrappy. They need somebody that doesn't lay that after the first round they need somebody to jump back up on his his feet. They need somebody with a little experience leading misfits like he has, who is now prepared to leave the armies of Israel, and in any always get the idea that the elders probably looked around to find somebody else and they couldn't find anybody who there's that there's that gutsy guy out there that treeless wilderness one tough guy. Let's go get him. Can you believe the irony continue just imagine the elders going out there showing up. II hear them stuttering and coughing and well, you know, come on Pete we we like it well. We decided that we like it or a BR. Our chief justices what you come to me know when you're in trouble over seven it's a valid question, but now that your backs are against the wall. What about an apology. What we got you all wrong. In fact, they ignore his comment verse eight in the elders of Gilead to the Jephthah. For this reason we have now returned to you that you may go now with us to fight with the sons of Ammon to become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. It's as if they know they said were were prepared to announce he was president and supreme Cmdr. of the Allied forces without even voting your arm and Jeff hello let's let by God's people… What you say that this point you can expect Jeff to say something that he might've rehearsed his heart many times but he never thought this would happen, but if it did I would imagine him responding with you. Why should I care about you and the people who rejected me. Not my problem.

In fact, I hope the sons of Ammon like you guys off the face of the earth.

You hated me you kicked me out of my home and country. It's time you took your own medicine, stories like these in stead the most amazing thing happened.

Verse 11 and Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead and the people made him head and chief over them. You might read these verses by the way you think that all that mattered to Jeff that was that promotion that would be revenge enough know he actually goes back and he will lead them to war.

He will risk his life for people that really cared about that.

There are lessons at this point that would take us longer than we have. Let me give you two first Jephthah teaches us that it's possible to choose to move past your past, it's possible by the grace of God to move past. Whatever happened to you in the past, how will the key and Jeff his own biography is found in verse 11. Look, I didn't quite read the last line. Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead and the people made him head and chief over them.

The notice and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord at his that that tells us literally that he's having this ongoing conversation with his covenant keeping Lord. Very tender expression.

By the way, here's a surprise Jeff though will use the personal name of God more often than any other person in the book of Judges, something happened to this guy out there in that land of nowhere that garden last 3 Less Pl. evidently Jeff that had been found as it is demonstrated through him by the grace of God's amazing often and I do hope that you have as part of your discipline reading biographies. Periodically I try to keep one or two going at any given time's amazing God uses to reach people in evangelist named DL Moody, who never has 1/5 grade Shepherd by the name of Philip Keller, a doctor to lepers like Philip Yancey and ex-con like Chuck Colson, the son of an alcoholic like Josh McDowell, a college dropout like Chuck Swindoll when he only said this way. Another way not only does Jephthah teaches that it's possible to move past your past. Secondly, Jephthah shows us that it's possible to help those who refused to help you. I think his buddies until thought he was crazy to go help them. Where you crazy. Why would you help your half-brothers. Why would you help your father. Why would you help those elders and that nation forget them, they had it coming Jeff that effectively chooses to show grace to those who had withheld grace from him. I can't think of anything harder to do.

Can you and that Hannity doing he hadn't evidently an ongoing conversation with God, who had not deserted him and had been for him apparent in the companion out there, and that land without trees. Everyone had abandoned him, but he knew God had not.

So here you have this incredible demonstration of humility and grace where he does in a way model as Alexander White says our own Lord and helping those who refused to help giving his life to those who rejected his life. I wonder what the conversation was like with him out there until after the elders left.

I kind of envision him saying something like God you'll never believe what happened to me. You'll never believe who just came to see me, you'll never believe the job I was just offered and I'm then delete them, but I'm in have to tell you all the words and have this ongoing conversation if it's ever going to work becomes a surprising same. A lot of people know about the writing ministry of Josh McDowell evidence that demands a verdict and wonderfully use used over the years, but few know his testimony. I found it tucked in one of his smaller paperbacks call the resurrection factor.

It's interesting that he was raised in a home with an alcoholic father and a very abusive father. He grew up literally defending his mother. Sometimes when he wasn't there. Come home to the farm and she wouldn't be in the house. You have to go look for her and he would find her.

He writes in the barn lying in the maneuver behind Cal's beaten so badly she could not get up and help her up.

He wrote it when he would have friends over from school, which was rare. He takes his drunken father out of the barn and time any drive his father's car around and parked behind the silo that he and his mother would tell his friends that his father had had a appointment to go to. He writes in his book quote if there was anyone that I hated.

It was my father. He went on to enter a university and there he tells his testimony. He heard the gospel as a freshman and didn't respond. Wasn't interested.

He heard it again and again and finally as a sophomoric the grace of God opened his eyes and believe the gospel and trusted Christ said this quote God immediately begin doing something in my life. The spirit of God began producing surprising fruit. It was the fruit of grace. He writes it took me about a year and 1/2 before I could even look my father and only later, I was able to tell them I love them later in his college years, he had an accident in and had to spend time home at home on the farm recuperating in his college studies were put on hold while he was at home. His father one day came into his room sober, which was unusual but in his sober state of mind came over and he said the Josh I don't understand how you can tell somebody like me that you love me and he had an opportunity for the first time to share the gospel with his father got it already been at work in his father's life.

He said yes I hated you something is happened in my life and it came in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of him. I can love you he wrote after an hour or so.

My father had entered my room. He actually knelt there beside my bed and believe the gospel and trusted crimes. This is talk about the surprising race of God.

It rescued us. It still redeems others today that may surprise us. You so as recipients of the grace of God and by the way, let let's not ever get over the surprise of that in our online let's demonstrate the gospel of grace to our world around us.

Frankly, there's no telling where those rising Saints are going to come from God is finished right. I hope you've been encouraged by this reminder from God's word that you are a surprising recipient of the grace of God you're listening to wisdom for the heart with our Bible teacher Stephen Devi.

Today's lesson is called a surprising St. it comes from the series that Stevens entitled forgotten lives remembering truths.

It's actually the last lesson in that series.

So if you've missed any of the others. You can go back to our website wisdom.

Online.tomorrow we begin a series from Romans chapter 1, entitled the gospel truth.

Join us here on wisdom


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