First things first, we’ll be reading Judges chapter 16-19 for next friday’s book review. I looked ahead and I’m pretty excited about it seeing that I’ve never read it and don’t think I’ve ever heard of the story there before. :)
I’m going to need a little bit more time for my review but of course do not want you to miss the chance to get your name on Mr.Linky if you are ready right away. So link away, and I’ll be posting this evening when my very busy day is done.
I’m back with my review. It’s been a good but busy day and I’m wiped and ready for a nice long sleep. :) But first I have to say a little bit (or a lot) about Judges…
We have to remember we are continuing the story from when the Israelites begged for mercy of God because of being oppressed by the people of Ammon. God had enough of Israel’s continued disobedience and was ready to turn them over to the enemy for good. But He had mercy and Israel wanted to have someone lead them to victory against Ammon, and this guy Jephthah was who they chose and God used.
Jephthah was what our society today would be labled a ‘victim of circumstance’. He must not have been brought up in a loving home, that’s for sure. It would be hard to raise a son from such a circumstance,to know that your hubby cheated on you and now has a son by another woman. Hard, really hard. Jephthah is a lot like the kids on the street today, and a lot of them have just as weird names too. There are a lot of guys out there who come from disfunctional families, banding together with worthless men and doing their own sort of trouble making. Many of them have lots of potential like Jephthan who was considered a man of valor, but are channeled in the wrong direction. It’s hard to get angry with guys like this when you hear how they grew up. Makes you wonder how much of a chance they had in the first place.
Though I can feel sorry for how he grew up and ended up it seems to me for Israel to be taking a step backward to go to this type of guy for help. Certainly by now they have learned that God doesn’t need a ‘mighty man of valor’ to bring them deliverance, and definitely not one that enjoys getting into trouble. This is yet another lesson to me showing that just because the Lord may be using me and working through me does not mean that I am in His will. I may be just a fool in the middle of my folly being used to bring about God’s will. Big difference folks.
Long story made short is that the Israelites win with Jephthah leading them because God chose to put His spirit on a man that was completley unworthy of it.
Also, quite a different attitude showed up in Jephthah than that of Gideon in the previous chapters. When Gideon was chosen to lead the people in battle he aslo was led to victory by the Lord, but humbly declined any gain it could possibly bring him or his family. Gideon wanted to do what was right because that’s what God said to do. But when Jephthah was asked to lead he immedeately asked what was in it for him. He wanted power and social standing, maybe a little payback for all the grief his upbringing caused him. I believe he wanted to do what was right for the wrong reason. Jephthah obviously knew the history of his people. He knew what the Lord had done for them. In all of his faults he still was willing to recongnize and put faith in the God of his people. I love the challenge he sends to the people of Ammon in 11:24. Shannon’s paraphrasing says, ‘You can have whatever your worthless god gives you and we can have whatever the Lord our God gives us!’. In essence he was saying that ‘we have each decided where to place our faith, now we’ll see who is right and who is completely wrong’.
About jephthah’s vow to sacrifice the first thing he sees when he gets home after victory… the only thing I can think of is to be very careful of what you vow to the Lord, and his daughter must have been a very submissive young woman to go through with it.
Mostly in Judges I am learning that yes, there are many judges who ruled over God’s people, but God is the judge. He judges over us and uses people and circumstances in His own way to bring about His will. He has used many different men, and one woman, some more thought of than others but none perfect. Sin never goes unnoticed or not dealt with. Consequences come whether it’s right away, 7 years, or 40 years later and it affects the next generation even more than it affects the present. But the fact is that we can be assured that if we are one of God’s children that are not where we’re supposed to be He will do something to chasten us and bring us back to a right place with Him.
I have to say the kids got a kick out of the Ephraimites not being able to pronounce ‘Shibboleth’ in 12:6. I felt like Larry the cucumber when I read that part aloud to them. :)