Key Word:- CONSIDER
Title:- Just Look at Jepthah
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Guys are particularly prone to this. Let me now set for you a true scene. As a hurting outcast, your ‘stinky’ family now recognize your gifts, talents and abilities and have begged you to lay your life on the line and to deliver them from destruction. They purchase your love with the desperation of their circumstance. You have accepted the offer and have in turn, hazarded both your life and the lives of your followers in gaining what you have longed for all your life, R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
You have just returned from battle. You are tired and weary and to top it all, a vow you made before the conquest concerning your offspring and what you will do if you gain victory, means that on this great day of achieving your goals and winning the war, you have in fact, lost your lovely daughter. She shall not marry; she shall not bear you grandchildren. What should have turned out to be the happiest day of your life, is the most miserable. Now, at this most inappropriate moment (isn’t it always like that?) here they come, the Ephraimites, looking for trouble.
The Ephraimites were powerful and political, but they weren’t at the battle. With caustic, arrogant and unbelievable insensitivity they approach you, drag up the past and your shaky credentials and then have the audacity to say, “Why didn’t you call us to be your allies in the battle! Who do you think you are! We’re going to burn your house down about your head for this!” (Judges 12:1) Now tell me, what would you do guys? I think I know what you would do? You’d smash their faces in! Just look at Jepthah! He did exactly the same and over 42,000 Ephraimites were slain!
It is of note that the judge Gideon, when confronted by the same spirit, in the same problem people, massaged their egos and averted a great slaughter. Judges 8:1,2 reads, ‘Now the men of Ephraim said to him (Gideon), “Why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?” And they reprimanded him sharply. So he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? God has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.
The answer of Gideon does not sit well with most men. We would rather just look at Jepthah’s response and say, “serves you right! Idiots” However, forgetting the unbelievably stupid Ephraimites, who had now taken the dog by the ears, let’s just look a little longer at Jepthah, who in response to these very harsh words, now begins to snarl viciously, reveal his teeth and then bite their lips off! All 42,000 of them in fact. It’s really nasty.
The cause of this unnecessary slaughter is quite simply, a combination of some angry words and a harsh response. It’s as simple as that! Though on a different scale, the frightening truth is that we often re-enact this same scene, in our marriages, families, work places and churches. Indeed, in my own life, without justifying the stupidity and malevolence of others, I look back and often wish I had chosen a softer response to some harsh words. If you have been around a while, you no doubt have the same wishes.
Friends, today, let us give God the past and pray for the redemption of those misplaced words and let us just look a little longer at Jepthah and make sure we do not continue to make the same mistake.
By the way. If there are any energized Ephraimites out there, may I say this to you today?....... “Shut up and grow up !”
Listen:- He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32
Pray: - Lord, give me the wisdom and help me seize the opportunity to breathe deeply and at least count to ten before opening my mouth. Make me mightier than Jepthah and a ruler over my own spirit. In Jesus name I pray, amen.