Highlights In Today's Reading:
Two judges rose up after the wicked Abimelech. Do you know their names? The Israelites sinned again but repented (10:10). Don't miss Jephthah. He had quite a history. Read about his vow and victory and note what happened to his only child. Read how God could be so proud of Jephthah.
Jephthah was forced to leave his home in Israel because he was an illegitimate child: Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah. And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman. Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob (his mother's country) (11:1-3).
Tob was a small Syrian state (II Samuel 10:6,8). It was a land of idols; yet Jephthah had lived long enough in the promised land to acquire a deep and lasting faith in Israel's God. In exile, Jephthah remained faithful to God while surrounded by idolators for about eighteen years.
It looked as though all of the people of God were against him because he had been excommunicated from Israel. But this man of faith had gained a reputation for vindicating the cause of Jehovah as well as being a valiant warrior. Therefore, all Israel turned to him in the day of their distress. He was the only man in all Israel who was qualified to respond to the Ammonites' threat to attack the Israelites and the people made him head (judge) and captain over them (11:11).
He did not allow self-pity or bitterness to rob him of the honor of remaining faithful to God. Of all the thousands in Israel, Jephthah, who had been rejected, was chosen to lead the armed forces and be judge of Israel. His name is included among the great heroes of faith along with Samuel and David (Heb. 11:32).
All who are used of God will experience many testings. This is the way of God in preparing us for the work He has called us to do. By the grace of God, accept with gratitude all the sorrows that come into your life — through friend or enemy, failures or humiliations — as the way of God in developing your faith and usefulness, and of drawing you closer to Himself.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you (I Pet. 5:10).
Thought for Today:
By remaining faithful to God and His Word, we will have a good testimony and be in a position to help others when the Lord calls us to serve.
By Jephthah's only child as she wholly submitted to her father's will even as Jesus wholly submitted to His Father's will (Judg. 11:34-40). On the night He was betrayed, Jesus prayed: Not as I will, but as Thou wilt (Matt. 26:39).
10:8 vexed =afflicted; 10:14 cry =call; 11:2 strange =foreign; 11:3 vain =renegade; 11:23 dispossessed =driven out; 11:34 timbrels =tambourines; 11:35 opened thy mouth =spoke; 11:37 bewail =mourn that I will remain a virgin.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by the Family who loves Jesus • Staff: Clarence Rathbone • Government Officials: Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr (UT) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) • Country: Ethiopia (60 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: Amharic and Tigrinya • Unsettled after overthrow of communist regime • 41% Eastern Orthodox; 35% Muslim; 10% Protestant; 10% animist; .7% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for sending the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-8).
Optional Reading: John 17
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:44