– Inyang Okutinyang
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Jephthah and the gang of men under him actually became very successful in their raiding expeditions. From Hebrew tradition it is believed they raided enemy territories just like David did while he lived as a fugitive fleeing from King Saul. Jephthah and his gang were quite a remarkable success, so much that his family and the people of Gilead, his home city as well as the nation of Israel took notice of him.
In due course the nation of Ammon was relentlessly harassing Israel, seeking to recover lost territory that Israel took from them as Israel made its way from Egypt to Canaan land.
Israel felt they did not have the means or force even with their military to defeat Ammon. In successfully seeking to challenge Ammon, they saw in Jephthah a leader who could lead them to war with victory assured.
Did you notice that there is no record that Jephthah complained and blamed God for allowing him to be born into the kind of circumstances or family he found himself? In fact, Jephthah demonstrated an attitude of worship and trust in the Lord, for he says, “If I go and fight and the Lord delivers the Ammonites into my hand shall I be your head?” (Judges 11:9).
This story reveals a great deal about God’s wisdom and ways. Jephthah who was rejected by his family and had to flee for his life is now being sought and begged to come defend them and rule over them. God is a Master at taking the most unlikely prospects and making champions and winners of them. He raises servants to sit with princes. Regardless of what life may have dealt you or what circumstances you find yourself in, God’s goodness and grace is more than enough to deliver, restore and make it up to you. The story of Joseph is another example. The Bible is replete with stories like this.
32 So Jephthah advanced toward the people of Ammon to fight against them, and the Lord delivered them into his hands.
33 And he defeated them from Aroer as far as Minnith — twenty cities — and to Abel Keramim, with a very great slaughter. Thus the people of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
Jephthah with the Spirit of God on him along with his gang of riffraff and some of the nation’s fighters soundly defeated the Ammonites and instead of losing territory to Ammon they gained twenty more cities! Yet this is the same Jephthah that was considered by those who knew him as a reject, an outcast and a good-for-nothing son of a harlot.
Never let your circumstances no matter how negative and dire steal your God ordained destiny!
Regardless of the circumstances of his birth Jephthah was ordained of God to be a judge and ruler of Israel and he fulfilled that. He is honourably listed as a hero of faith by the Spirit of God in Hebrews. (Hebrews 11:32). You too belong in this company, for you have the same God and better still, a better covenant than what Jephthah had!