Bible Pathways - Mar. 26, 2008
Highlights In Today's Reading:
Two judges rose up after the wicked Abimelech. Do you know their names? Israel 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. Do you see why God could be so proud of Jephthah (Hebrews 11:32)?
Who would have looked for a captain of the Lord's army in the land of Syria where idolatry was almost universal? Who would have thought that the illegitimate son of a man named Gilead would one day become the only person among all the thousands of Israelites who was qualified to fill the position of Judge in Israel?
Jephthah, because of the illegitimacy of his birth, was disinherited by his father's house — the elders of Gilead (Judges 11:5,7) — and forced to leave the land of promise. Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah (11:1).
When he was driven from his home in Gilead, Jephthah went to his mother's country in the land of Tob (11:3), 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.
Because he had been excommunicated from Israel, Jephthah could have said: "Why should I try to do anything for the glory of God?" But this man of faith had gained a reputation for vindicating the cause of Jehovah as well as a warrior in battle that all Israel turned to in the day of their distress. He was the only man who was qualified to respond to the Ammonites' threat to attack the Israelites and the people made him head (judge) and captain (of Israel's army) over them (Judges 11:11).
Jephthah illustrates that only God knows our hearts and His estimation of men is often different than ours, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (I Samuel 16:7).
Israel's attitude toward Jephthah may have been contemptible, but the day came when Israel discovered how much they needed him.
But in Jephthah's situation, as with Joseph, Moses, and David, the long delay previous to his great public work was needed in order to develop a character and the skills suitable for the greatness of his work. Difficulties prepare us for what God knows we will face in future ministry.
God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (I Corinthians 1:27-29).
Thought for Today:
The situations in which we live should not dictate our relationship with Jesus. Jesus prayed for us: I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil (John 17:15,20).
By Jephthah's only child as she wholly submitted to her father's will even as Jesus wholly submitted to His Father's will (Judges 11:34-40). On the night He was betrayed, Jesus prayed: Not as I will, but as Thou wilt (Matthew 26:39).
11:3 vain men =b> worthless renegades; 11:37 fellows =b> virgin female companions; 11:40 lament =b> commemorate.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Mr. Roman Schlabach • Staff: Ken Sharp • Government Officials: Sec. Elaine Chao (Dept. of Labor), Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr (UT), and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) • Country: Iceland (272,000) at the northern end of the Atlantic • Major language: Icelandic • Religious freedom • 94% Protestant; 6% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Pray in faith and the Lord will answer (Mark 11:24).
Optional Reading: John 17
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:22