April 3, 2016. Judges 10-12
A Raw Deal
Today we read about a man, named Jephthah, who could easily complain that he got a raw deal in life, from the very beginning. He was born into a dysfunctional family. His very birth was the result a mother who was a harlot. As a result of his shady birth, which obviously was no fault of his own, he is run out of town by his other brothers. But when the town runs into trouble, from God’s enemies, the people of Ammon, he ends up being used by the people to help them out. Next, in what we could call one of the more horrifying events in the life of anyone, as a result of a very poor spiritual decision in the form of vow, he loses his only child. He makes a strange vow whereby he must offer up his daughter as a burnt offering after the Lord, provides a great victory over the people of Ammon. Finally, the proverbial “icing on the cake” of this “raw deal life” is when he is confronted by the people of Ephraim threatening to burn down his house because he did not ask them to join him in the battle against the Ammonites.
Anyone who would have a list similar to Jephthah, might begin to believe that they too had gotten a raw deal in life. But there is one event that offsets this entire list.
“Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah…” Judges 11:29
Before we arrived at our reading about Jephthah, we are told about how the children of Israel had forsaken the Lord and served other gods. And while initially the Lord declared, “Therefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress" (Judges 10:13-14), it is not very long before we are then told, “And His (the LORD’s) soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.” (Judges 10:16) The result is that the LORD now uses Jephthah to save His children from the Ammonites.
Two times we are reminded of how the Lord views the misery we may have in our lives. Misery that we may have brought about ourselves, or misery that is thrust upon us.
“His soul can no longer endure the misery…”
Sometimes the Lord will send someone to deliver you from this misery. Someone who He is guiding with His Spirit into your life for the sole purpose of using this person deliver you from your misery. Can you see him or her? And do you thank the Lord?
Sometimes, the Lord’s Spirit will come upon you in the midst of your misery to use you to experience the joy of delivering others from their misery. Do you see them? Have they come to you, like they came to Jephthah? Will you be used by the Lord to help?