Judges 11:1-10 (NIV) Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a group of adventurers gathered around him and followed him. 4 Some time later, when the Ammonites made war on Israel, 5 the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 “Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.” 7 Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?” 8 The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be our head over all who live in Gilead.” 9 Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the LORD gives them to me– will I really be your head?” 10 The elders of Gilead replied, “The LORD is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.” (Read more)
Jephtha was one of the leaders of Israel. But unlike others he was one of those unlikely leaders. He was a might warrior (verse one) but he had an unpleasant past, having been rejected by his half-brothers because his mother was a prostitute (verse 2). Driven out of his home he became a leader of a gang (verse). It is under these circumstances that his fortunes turned around. Gilead was in need of a leader to command them in the war against the Ammonites, and it seems no one was available. Running out of options they went to Jeptha. And as they say the rest is history.
Life is sometimes not fair. Many times it can be harsh. We do not usually find people who give grace to us. Often times we feel mistreated, misjudged, misused, abandoned and rejected. Grace is the last thing we expect to find in this cruel world. If you feel like that, you are not alone. Although Jephtha was a great warrior, he had a painful past. He never received grace from those closest to him. This affected his life and relationships.
In his entire life Jephtha learned things:
- I never trust people (v.7).
- I must earn what I get (v.9).
- I can’t trust God either. God cannot help me unless I do something for Him (v.30,31).
Sometimes, even when we become Christians, we don’t allow God’s grace to workout in our lives; in our relationships at home, church or places of work. We do not easily offer grace to others because we have not appreciated God’s grace in our lives. When we don’t accept or give grace our lives become stressful. We become too difficult to live with. We make life too difficult for those around us. We live frustrated lives: with ourselves, with other people, and even with God. It is a horrible life.
Our past might hinder us from accepting and giving grace. Some of us suffered from:
- Rejection by those so close to us
- Unreasonable expectations from our parents or other people.
You can live a grace-filled life because God loves and accepts you unconditionally. You only need to accept His grace.
When you accept God’s grace offer grace to others. Let it be reflected in your relationships, work and ministry.