Jephthah, Bible Scholar and Judge
Judges chapter 11 tells the story of a judge, named Jephthah. After Joshua’s generation had died, there weren’t any leaders that could take over for Joshua and Caleb. God selected certain individuals, judges, to lead the People of Israel into the fulfillment of His promises and purpose.
Jephthah was one of those judges and in chapter 11, he is confronted by the elders of a town that had kicked him out several years earlier. They needed help because of a neighboring nation’s threat of attack (v4-6).
The same people who kicked Jephthah out now needed him to defend them (v1-3).
But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead: “But you hate me. You kicked me out of my family home. So why are you coming to me now? Because you are in trouble. Right?” (v7)
They said, “yup!” They had no choice and they leaned on Jephthah’s mercy to help them out of a battle they knew they could not win (v8-9).
Why did they choose Jephthah?
The Bible doesn’t say immediately why, but we do learn that Jephthah had a few qualities that made him the peoples choice.
First, he was a critical thinker. He was someone who put his mind to good use and could solve problems and create solutions.
Second, he had a lot to gain. He was rejected and evicted, but now, he had the opportunity to get what was his and then some.
Third, he was a leader. Somewhere in his life he learned how to win the hearts of people. He was a leader that could cast vision and march into battle knowing he would win (v10-11).
Lastly, he had experience with the Word of God and Spirit of God. Jephthah knew the Torah well, he could re-count large portions of Scripture and could understand how to use it. He had a strong faith in the God of Israel and that could only come through a life changing experience with Him. (v14-27 & v29-31)
Jephthah had a life that reflected his exposure to God.
Although it wasn’t on the level of a Moses or a Joshua, it was enough that God would choose a very flawed person, to proclaim His Word to an opposing nation.
Are you in God’s Word? Are you filled with His Spirit? In the book of Judges, they only had a small portion of the Scriptures that we have today. Today, the Word of God — the Bible — is filled page after page of regular people, experiencing an amazing God in their everyday lives.
In that same Bible, God has made a promise that who ever would call upon the name of His Son Jesus Christ, take Jesus as ruler over their everyday life and believe that God raised Jesus from the dead — that person would be saved and given the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Jephthah rarely had the Spirit of God upon his life and he possessed critical thinking skills, overcame his past, and was a victorious leader — and that was from rarely having the Spirit of God.
The Father promised that He would send His Holy Spirit to live in you full-time, if you turn to Him through His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. Imagine what your life would be if you lived by the life of the Holy Spirit living in you!