Jephthah: God Calls the Outcasts

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, Judges 11:1, Genesis 6:1-5
Date: 06/17/2000 
The first of a two part series on one of the early judges of Israel named Jephthah. He was an outcast, yet God called and used him in a mighty way. God regularly uses the outcasts and can use anyone for His glory.
When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.
If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

The names had a meaning. And they named people and places often with sentences or statements. And there’s usually some prophetic significance of these names. Jephthah means he will open. As is true with most of the judges that we find in the Bible, Jephthah is a type of Christ and you’ll find that out as we go on. He lived in the land of Tob. Tob means good. And he was a Gileadite. You’ve heard about the balm in Gilead. There was this balm that they had in Gilead. It was an aromatic resin that came from the balsam tree. They used it for medicinal preparations. Gilead was one of the great or great-great grandsons of Joseph through Manasseh. Now Samson was from the tribe of Dan and Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. Jephthah was from the tribe of Manasseh. He lived across the Jordan River in that much disputed territory that’s still disputed today and it’s disputed in this story, up there in the Heights of Gilead, on the western shore, western slopes of the Jordan River. Now turn with me in your Bible to the book of Judges 11 and we’ll begin reading. We won’t even get all the way through chapter 11 today. “Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour.” OK, let’s stop right there. You can tell this is going to take a while.

Here he is a mighty man, a mighty man of valor; one of the first things that we find out. Valiant. Now valiant means that he was courageous, he was strong, he was a person of a striking appearance, he was renown. But then it goes on and tells us, “but he was the son of a harlot.” He was something of an outcast, you might say. “He was the son of a harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.” Now the word “harlot” is not a real good translation here. I’ve looked into that a little bit and it’s a similar word. It’s azoah(?) and it’s the word for innkeeper. You remember Rahab? What’s she called? Rahab the what? The harlot. She was also a what by occupation? An innkeeper. She operated an inn where the spies stayed when they went in the wall. Another way this is sometimes translated is she was a strange woman. You read down there in the next verse and it talks about because he was, “the son of a strange woman.” That doesn’t mean that she was bizarre. She was an alien or a non-Israelite. She was not from the 12 tribes. So the father had a son with a woman who he met at an inn, may have operated an inn, who had a different racial background. And so the sons were threatened by this.

Now before I get to his being cast out, and the message titled today is Jephthah Part 1, God Calls the Outcasts. And He calls them to victory. God Calls the Outcasts. I want to deal with something that keeps coming up. You know probably, those of you who help me with the Bible Answer Live program can attest to this, I don’t think a month goes by when during our live radio program, people call in Bible questions, we don’t get this question. And it occurred to me, “I don’t know if I’ve ever dealt with it in the church.” And so I thought, “Well, I’d like to share this with you.” If you turn in your Bibles to Genesis 6. Don’t lose your place there in Judges 11. You’ll find where it says in Genesis 6 that, “there were giants in the earth in those days,” Genesis 6:4, “after the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore them children, they were mighty men,” like Jephthah, “who were of old, men of renown.” These valiant mighty men that were the result of the sons of God co-habiting, having intimate relations, with the daughters of men. Now I looked in my commentary again this morning and there are several Bible commentaries. You know what they say about this, Genesis 6:1-5? They say that aliens, some commentaries, aliens had intimate relations with humans.

They are the sons of God. And because they crossed the supernatural sphere, they weren’t supposed to do this, they had these supernatural children that were mighty men. Some versions say fallen angels had intimate relations with human beings and the offspring were mighty men. Now how many of you have heard this before? This bizarre theology is wrong. Everything else in the Bible tells us that God does not operate that way. We do not wrestle with flesh and blood let alone be intimate with the spiritual realms. The Bible says that these are spirits in heavenly places. And so this nonsense, I’m just ashamed that there are so many Christian people that embrace the idea that angels that are spirits had physical relationships and Jesus says, “They don’t marry, neither are they given in marriage.” There’s never really any definite gender even attached to them. What does this mean? Who are the sons of God that saw the daughters of men? Let me just tell you what it means and then I’ll give you some proof for that. Back in the days of Adam and Eve the children of Cain were called the sons of men. They were carnal, enos. They were mortal. They did not accept the Lord. They left the Lord. They turned their back on God. He went and he built a city. Well of course he killed Abel.

Abel didn’t get married and have any children. But the next child of Adam and Eve, Seth, the Bible says gave them a man in his own image. That means he also believed in the God of Adam and Eve. The descendents of Seth were called sons of God because they still embraced the Lord. Now let me prove this to you. I John 3:1-2 I’ll just read these to you. You can jot the scripture down. “Behold what manner of love the Father’s bestowed on us, that we should be called sons of God.” That’s not aliens or fallen angels. You can read John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become,” what? “sons of God.” Isaiah 65:5(?), “Even to them I’ll give in my house within my walls a place in the name better than sons and daughters.” We are the sons and daughters of God. It’s the believers. Romans 8:14, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Now if it’s clear to you who the sons of God are say amen. They were the descendents of Seth. And as long as they did not intermarry with the, and be unequally yoked with the unbelieving children of Cain they remained a distinct pure faith. But Cain had some really knockout daughters. When the sons of God saw the daughters of men, Cain, that they were fair they started to take wives of them. Notice what it says.

Not only were the children mighty men, renown, but it says, “then wickedness began to multiply in the earth, and the thoughts of men’s hearts were only evil continually.” And God says, “120 years and I’m destroying the world.” “My spirit will not always strive with man.” When they began to commingle it seemed like the sons of God began to adopt the faith of the daughters of men. Does the Bible forbid interracial marriage? You don’t think I’m going to talk about these things do you? No. Matter of fact, when Aaron and Miriam began to strive with Moses because he married an Ethiopian woman the Lord punished Aaron and Miriam. He said nothing against Moses. The Bible does not tell us that we are not to marry across racial or even cultural lines. There are things to consider when you pick a mate. Compatibility and education and there are things you want to consider, amen? But we’re told that we are not to marry out of the faith. The big emphasis in the Bible is that we do not marry someone from another faith. Now, do you know there are certain advantages to marrying people that may not be from your same family tree? It’s called genetic vitality. No, I’m serious. This is an absolute fact. You will find in the Bible and you’ll find today in modern genetics, it’s well understood.

I read an article on it yesterday that one of the problems they have when they’re breeding racehorses is they breed too much within the family of winners and they get weaker. But when they just bring some mustang out from Arizona and they breed him with a winner they get genetic vitality. And you’ll have an even better horse. You know in Hollywood when they train the dogs to work in the movies they have some dogs that are especially intelligent. They’re almost never purebreds. Because they find there’s all kinds of certain problems that they have within certain breeds when they continue to breed within them. Our German Shepherd died from a disease that’s exclusive to German Shepherds. It happens a lot because of interbreeding, called hip distocia. He finally got where he couldn’t walk and it happens a lot. Do you know there are certain races; there are certain diseases that only Jews get? There are certain diseases that only Blacks get. Are you aware of this? There’s problems when you just stay too much. Do you know that in North America we have, per capita, some of the tallest people in the world? There is more genetic vitality in North America than any other country in the world because we are basically a melting pot from all over the world.

Now why am I taking so much time to talk about that? That’s why it says the descendants of Cain and Seth were mighty men. It doesn’t say they were faithful, does it? It doesn’t say they were godly. It says they were mighty. They were big, they were strong, they were courageous. They were like Nimrod, mighty hunter. Wicked man, but he had tremendous physical prowess and physique and a strong intellect. And it doesn’t mean he was godly. You notice about Jephthah, his mom and dad were not both Israelites and Canaanites. It was as a result, again, of marrying outside of the family tree. You know there’s a lot of genetic vitality in Jesus’ family tree. Who was it that Boaz married? A Moabitess. And Solomon married Bathsheba and she was not an Israelitess. There’s some speculation she may have been Ethiopian. There’s lots of different examples in the family tree of Jesus. OK. So when we find out about Jephthah it says he was a mighty man of valor and then it says that his mother was not an Israelite. Now what happened as a result of that?

Go with me now, verse 2, “Gilead’s wife bore sons,” he had a regular wife who was from the tribe of Manasseh, “and they bore sons; and when his sons were grown up, they drove Jephthah out.” Their older brother, half-brother. “And they said to him, You’ll have no inheritance in our father’s house; for you are the son of another woman, of a strange woman.” And you notice it says, “And Jephthah fled from his brothers.” This was not a friendly family pow-wow. They drove him away and he fled. It was a violent split. He became an outcast. Why? Well, because he was, you might say, a half-breed. His mother came from a different race perhaps and so they said, “You have no right to share the inheritance with us.” And they evicted him. Well, he figured, you know, “If that’s the way the chips fall then I’ll make the best of things.” “And it came to pass after a time,” oh, I’m sorry. Verse 3, “Jephthah fled from his brothers, and he dwelt in the land of Tob.” That means good. That’s in the region of Gilead. “And worthless men banded together with Jephthah, and went out raiding with him.”

Now that word “worthless” there is not a real good translation. Some of you may have another word. Some of you may have the word “poor men” or “fugitives.” “Vain,” yeah, that’s where the King James Version I think says “vain men.” The word can be translated “people who are poor.” Let me give you an example of what happened. If you look in I Samuel 22:2, when King David was a fugitive and he was driven out of Israel because Saul was trying to kill him, it says, “And every body who was in distress, and every body who was in debt, and every one who was discontent, they gathered to David,” these were poor people, people who were political outcasts, “so he became a captain over them: and there were about four hundred men with him.” Jephthah was the first one who modeled this Robin Hood scenario. Everybody who was sort of an outcast and poor; and there may have been some who were a little vain and worthless. But you know what? He took them in, too. He took in everybody that was a fugitive and all these poor, vain, misfits. And he became a captain over them. And he put them to work. Just like David did. The Bible says that Jephthah was basically the first Robin Hood. And it says, “they went out raiding with him.” Well they weren’t raiding their own people. They went out raiding the enemies around the borders.

Sort of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. The Moabites and the Ammonites and the Edomites and the Amorites and all the ites and the Canaanites and the Jebuzites. They went out raiding. And Jephthah and his band and you notice Jephthah is characterized as a mighty man. He had naturally, natural leader characteristics. Now the people in Gilead were noticing that Jephthah was very successful and that people rallied around him. And then there came a problem. Now the first thing I want you to notice is; it’s maybe not the first thing, but I don’t want you to miss this. God likes to use and call the one that everybody else writes off. God calls the outcasts. Who was it that was cast out by the other 10 or 11 brothers? Joseph. Who was it that saved the day, if you will? They all had to come to him for food. Who was not invited to the Feast when Samuel came to Bethlehem because they thought, “Oh, he’s a misfit. Don’t invite; and you know he’s out there writing songs and shooting his sling. David will embarrass us. Don’t bring him to the Feast.” Right? Who was it that ended up being chosen by God? The one who was the outcast. Who was it that Jesus chose to first reveal Himself to when He rose from the dead? Rather than Peter, James, John or even His own mother; they all went to the tomb and they left. Christ waited quietly before He ascended to heaven and He revealed Himself to who? The woman that people said, “Don’t let her tough you. Don’t you know where she’s been? Don’t you know her reputation?”

Jesus waited and He chose the outcasts. Daniel, who was a captive, he was the one who interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. He was the one who read the handwriting on the wall. After all of the PhD’s from Babylon and Persia had come through and they had no answers, God calls the outcasts. Can you say amen? Peter, talk about exhibit A. Jesus performs a miracle and He fills His nets and He’s getting ready to launch His mission and pick His special cabinet and He picks this stinking fisherman who freely admits, “I am a sinful man, Lord, you depart from me.” Jesus said, “That’s why I’ve chosen you. I’ve chosen you because you’ve got a humble attitude and you know your weaknesses. From here on you’re going to catch men.” Job was written off by his friends. They said, “Fess up. You’re a sinner.” Later Job had to pray for them that God would forgive their sins. Because he was the one God had chosen. Matter of fact all of the apostles, notice what it says here. Acts 4:13, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and they perceived they were uneducated and untrained, unlearned men, they marveled; and they realized that they had been with Jesus.” God tells us in His word that He calls the outcasts. Now I’d like to read the scripture reading again that Tabitha shared with us. I Corinthians 1:26, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise, according to the flesh.” Notice he doesn’t say that Christians are fools. He said, “According to the world’s measurement of wisdom,” the flesh.

There may not be many PhD’s. “Not many mighty, not many noble,” there are some, not many, “are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things that are mighty; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.” Now this message for me is a message of good news because if God is in the pattern of calling and commissioning and empowering and saving outcasts then there’s hope for everybody here. Amen? Unless you are proud and self-sufficient with your station in life, but if you sometimes worry if you have any place because you’re a misfit the gospel is good news for you. God uses misfits. God is a loser-chooser. He is. The Lord loves the losers and He makes them winners. Amen? God is a loser-chooser. Look at the nation of Israel, when He called them. Did He call them because of their greatness?

No, what does He say in Deuteronomy? “The Lord did not,” verse 7, chapter 7:7, “The Lord did not set his love on you, or choose you, because you were more in number than other people; for you were the least of all peoples.” “I chose you because you were a nation of slaves to demonstrate, ‘If I can save a nation of misfits and make them the ones who protect and hold the oracles of truth I can save anybody.’” He made a bunch of slaves a nation of priests, to the world. God takes the lowly and He exalts them. Who did the promise child come through? Penninah or Hannah? Hannah. And then Hannah ended up having another whole ogle, litter, of children. And she says, “You have a way of making the barren bear fruit.” Let’s go on now with our story. Back to Jephthah’s story in Judges 11. He fled from his brothers, and he went out raiding. Verse 4, “Now it came to pass after a time, that the people of Ammon made war against Israel.” Want to stop. You know it’s interesting; three of the most prominent enemies of God’s people that you find cropping up in Bible times were the Ammonites, the Moabites and the Edomites. Now why should that be significant? They were not uncircumcised Philistines. Who were the Edomites? Descendants of Esau. They were monotheistic. They practiced the right of circumcision. They were sort of related to Israel. They weren’t just sort of, they were related to Israel. Who were the Moabites and the Ammonites? Descendants of Lot. Lot was a godly man.

He’s identified as a righteous man, believed in one God, at one time. When they started adopting the Canaanistic gods. Practiced circumcision. You know they always call the Philistines the uncircumcised. They couldn’t say that about the Moabites the Edomites and the Ammonites. But you know, the Israelites got most of their trouble from their neighbors that were their relatives. Who do you think is going to give Christianity, no, let me rephrase that. Who do you think is going to give the remnant church the most trouble in the last days? Is it going to be the blatantly paganistic religions of the world, or is it going to be the ones that are loosely related as Christians? We’re going to get most of our opposition from our cousins of other Protestant and Catholic persuasions. I’ll promise you that. Because Jesus said, “Those that kill you will think they’re serving God.” They’re going to read the same Bible you read and claim to be serving the same Jesus that you serve. And they’re going to be your worst enemies. Well, the Ammonites made war against Israel. “And it was so, that when the people of Ammon made war against Israel, that the elders of Gilead, they went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob.” You know what I think is interesting? How many times in the Bible you’ll find an example where, how many times in the Bible you’ll find an example where the outcast ends up being the counsel. Not only does it happen in the Bible, it happens to us. You know I’ve seen many times when a person takes a stand for the truth and they accept the Lord and their family casts them out, if you will. They ostracize them. They say, “You’ve become a fanatic now and you’re so religious, a zealot and you’ve gone too far. Why do you got to do all this?

You’re fanatical.” Have you known somebody who’s encountered those kinds of persecutions? They become a Christian and their family casts them out and derides them. When there’s a crisis in the family who do they come to? I can tell you lots of cases. I know this one sister; she took a stand for the truth and this girl went all the way. And her family says, “You’ve gone too far.” And she took a stand and she decided to love the Lord more than father, mother, sister, brother, husband, wife, cousin and uncle, relative. She really put God first. And it made things difficult. She wouldn’t go dancing with them anymore. She wouldn’t go drinking with them anymore. She wouldn’t watch what they watched. She kept the Sabbath at home and the rest of the family had the TV on. She’d go in another room. She wouldn’t cook that unclean food anymore. And they said, “You’re a kook. You’re a nut. You’ve gone too far. You’re a fanatic.” And they really persecuted her. Whenever she’d see them in town they’d make fun of her. But someone in the family got cancer and they called her up.

They said, “Will you pray for me?” They realized that she had a connection with God. Everybody else had cheap conversations, but she had a connection with God. Then they started saying, when they found out it was terminal, “What happens when you die? Would you mind opening that Bible and studying with me?” When the enemy came and there was a crisis that’s the people they come to. The one’s who are the outcasts, but they’ve got a relationship with God. You know if you stand for something you may be persecuted and you might be ostracized, but when the going gets tough, as they say, the tough get going.

They’re going to come after you and they’re going to start asking you for answers. And the same way that Paul was brought before the kings and the rulers, if you live your faith the world might persecute you, but you are going to end up being in a position of visibility sometime where you can speak for the Lord. Well they came to Jephthah. And you know what? He didn’t give them too hard of a time. “They said, Come, and be our commander,” verse 6, “and fight against the people of Ammon. And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house?” Here I’ve been evicted. “Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?” You know why? They knew he had a relationship with God. You read on in the story, it says the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah.

You’re also going to find out that even though Jephthah, his mother may have been a Canaanite. She may have been an innkeeper or even a harlot. He had a relationship with the Lord. He was a mighty man and one of the reasons he had courage is because he had a relationship with God. He also knew the scriptures. And I’ll illustrate that in just a moment. “And the elders of Gilead,” verse 8, “they said to Jephthah, That is why we’ve turned again to you, that you might go with us, and fight against the people of Ammon, and be our head,” be our captain, “over the inhabitants of Gilead. So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be,” or in other words, “shall I remain your head?” In other words, “Are you bringing me home to help you out of trouble and then you’re going to boot me out of the country again?” He was thinking ahead and he was sealing his security, which was a good policy. Jephthah was a good leader. “And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, the Lord be a witness between you and us, if we do not do according to your words.” In other words, “We promise, if you deliver us, if you fight with us we will not kick you out again.

We’ll make sure that you get an inheritance in your father’s house.” “And Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head.” They had a formal service where he made a vow and made him, “head, and commander over them: and Jephthah spoke all his words before the lord in Mizpeh.” Now the word Mizpeh means watchtower or lookout. It was a position of visibility, a high vantage point. And he maybe got up on this watchtower or this lookout and all the people were gathered below and he vowed to be their leader and they promised that they were going to keep him as their judge and their leader. He ended up being one of the Judges of Israel. Of course he was chosen principally by Gilead. And he spoke his vows in the presence of others in a position of visibility. Well after he was coronated, if you will, verse 13, “The king of the people of Ammon,” I’m sorry, in verse 12, “Now Jephthah sent messengers to the people of Ammon and said, Why do you, What do you have against me, that you come to fight against me in my land?”

They were actually staging a war. They were coming out and setting the battle and a raid and he thought, “I’m first going to try to use peace.” Now that’s a sign of a good leader. You don’t want to fight if you don’t have to fight. If you can negotiate and if you can work a peaceful arrangement that’s the way you ought to go. And he said to them, “Why do you come against me, that you fight against me in my land?” Notice he says, “This is our land.” The Ammonites were trying to expand their borders. “And the people,” I’m sorry, “the king of the people of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and to the Jordan: now therefore restore those lands peacefully.” Now the king of the Ammonites is trying to use a little bit of psychology and he’s trying to fool Jephthah. He’s thinking Jephthah doesn’t know history and Jephthah doesn’t know the word. Saying, “This was our land and you took it from us.” Jephthah says, “No, no, you’re not going to pull that one over on me.

We didn’t take it from you.” Now you know the first time I read this story I missed it. Some of you may have missed it. Who is Jephthah? Don’t look at your Bibles. Who is he fighting with now, the Ammonites or Amorites? I heard someone say it. It’s the Ammonites. Now he’s getting ready to go into a discourse talking about how Israel actually took the land from the Amorites. The Ammonites and Amorites sound about as similar as Elijah and Elisha, but they’re different. The Ammonites were the descendants of Lot. The Amorites, and I’ll probably mess it up before I’m done with the sermon today, the Amorites; they were a people from the East. You’ve heard of Hamurabi, the Code of Hamurabi, the lawgiver. He was a king of the Amorites. The Amorites were the people who had owned this territory that now the Ammonites are saying, “That was our land.” Jephthah is going, “No, we didn’t take it from you. We fought and got it fair and square in a battle hundreds of years ago. You’re not claiming it’s yours. I know my history.” And he relates it. Now I’m going to read a little bit.

Can you bear that? I’m going to read several verses. Please don’t go to sleep on me, OK? Shake yourself, wake yourself and stay with me because I’m going to cover some history here. “So he sent messengers,” verse 14, “to the king of the people of Ammon: he says, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the people of Ammon: for when Israel came up from Egypt, they walked through the wilderness as far as the Red sea, and they came to Kadesh; and Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom,” notice what he says here, “Moab, Ammon, Edom,” he names those three nations that were relatives. “Please let me pass through your land:” Are you aware that when Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt God told the Israelites, “You’re going to conquer seven pagan nations,” that were the Canaanites, but they were not supposed to fight against their relatives. They were not supposed to fight against Moab, Edom or Ammon. But they said, “We’ve got to go across your land to get to our land. So, please, don’t mind.

We’ll pass through. We’ll pay for anything that we take. We won’t cause any trouble. We just need to get through your land to get to our land.” But they didn’t want to let them through and this is what Jephthah’s talking about. “Israel,” verse 17, “sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, Please let me pass through your land: but the king of Edom would not heed. And in like manner they sent to the king of Moab: and he would not consent: so Israel remained in Kadesh.” And they’re having to take this long circumfrous route around these other parcels to get to the promise land. “And they went along through the wilderness, and bypassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and they came to the east side of the land of Moab, and they camped on the other side of Arnon, but they did not enter the border of Moab: for the Arnon was the border of Moab.” In other words, they agreed they’re not going to fight with, they’re not going to illegally trespass on the land of their cousins. “Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said, Please let us pass through your land into our land.” They weren’t’ going to fight them. They weren’t going to kill them. They were just in the way. All that Israel was intent on doing was displacing the ones that were in Abraham’s former land.

Side two…”pass through your land into our place. But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory: so Sihon gathered all of his people together, and camped in Jahaz, and they fought against Israel. And the Lord God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them: thus Israel gained possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited the country. They took possession of all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon to the Jabok,” those were the boundaries. You know where the Jabok was? That’s the river, it’s a creek in the desert, a very important one, where Jacob wrestled with the angel. “So now the Lord God of Israel,” notice whose name Jephthah is fighting in. In his own name or in God’s name? “So now the Lord God of Israel has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, why then should you possess it?” “We fought for it. We won it fair and square.” “Will you not possess whatever Chemosh your god gives you to possess?”

They worshipped one god, they called him a different name. “So whatever the Lord our God,” Jehovah, “takes possession of before us, we will possess.” “God has given us this land. We won it from the enemy. It was never yours.” “While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities along the banks of the Arnon, for three hundred years? Why didn’t you recover it then within that time? Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you have wronged me by fighting against me: may the Lord judge, may the Lord the judge render judgment this day between the children of Israel and the people of Ammon.” Now he appeals, he uses reason, he uses logic. The king of Ammon still will not listen. The devil doesn’t listen, does he? You think you might reason with the devil and say, “Look Satan, everything God’s prophesied has come true. He says you’re going to lose. Don’t you think you ought to lay down your weapons?” He’s not going to listen, is he? No. He’s come down with great wrath because he knows his time is short and he’s going to fight no matter what. And the Ammonites are now doing the same thing the Amorites did. Israel tried to use peace to get through their land. They wouldn’t see it.

You know I think that Christians ought to pursue peace with all men as far as possible. Amen? But sometimes there’s a time to fight. We’re talking about spiritual battles here. I’m not telling you to go out and get a bow and arrow. “However the king of the people of Ammon did not heed the words which Jephthah sent him.” Verse 29, “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead, and Manasseh, and he passed through Mizpeh.” Now what’s he doing when he passes through? He is gathering an army. You know something that’s interesting about the story of Jephthah? You read Gideon, how many soldiers did Gideon have when he fought? Finally, 300. And you read about Bareck(?) and you read about all these other judges and it numbers them. Samson was a one-man army, but at least we know the number. You never hear how many Jephthah had. It’s one of the interesting parts of the book of Judges where it tells us he went out and he won. Never says how big his army was. And there’s a lesson there for us I’ll get to in just a minute. “And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and he said, Lord, if you will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be, that whatever comes out of doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” You know one of the things we’re learning about Jephthah? Did Jephthah consider what was in his house his, or was it all God’s?

He says, “Lord, I’m not even going to tell you what I’m going to give you. I’m going to let you decide, it’s all yours. What do you want?” That’s an interesting attitude, isn’t it? I wonder how many of us would be willing to spin the little arrow and say, “Lord, whatever it points to of our possessions is yours. You decide.” We usually say, “Lord, it’s all yours, but let me pick.” He says, “Lord, you show what you want and I’ll give whatever it is.” Oh incidentally, keep in mind in Bible times and Jephthah was not a wealthy man. He had been evicted from his inheritance. Probably had some of the plunder from his raids. Any of you ever had goats or sheep, cattle? When they lived in a domestic little farm like that they take the animals in and out to graze. And I used to have goats and whenever I came home they ran out to meet me. And those of you who have domestic cows, I lived with my uncle, he had a domestic cow and whenever the humans came around they thought it was food time, they run out to meet you. Matter of fact, in the Batchelor family we’ve got a trained goldfish.

It’s true; I can make my goldfish come. Sits in a little bitty bowl, but I walk around the kitchen bar and he follows me all the way around. Gets right up against the glass and I can run around the other side and get there and it comes up. It kisses me through the glass. What he wants is food. Well, these domestic animals would come out to meet their owners when they came home. It was just a habit and that’s what he said, that’s what he meant when he said, “Whatever comes out to meet me.” He thought it would be a goat or a sheep or a cow or an ox or something like that. We’re going to get to the rest of this in our next message about what ended up happening and we’ll explain it in detail. You’ll be surprised at what you hear. “I’ll offer it as a burnt offering.” So he makes a vow to God. “And Jephthah advances towards the people of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them,” who did it? The Lord. He had the Spirit of the Lord. The people followed him. He was a mighty man. He tried peace. They would hear none of it. “And the Lord delivered them into his hands. And he defeated them from Aroer, as far as Minnith, twenty cities, to Abel, with a very great slaughter.” It was a tremendous victory. Notice, “Thus the people of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.”

Now that’s where I’m going to stop, but I want to talk about this. The people of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. During the history of the children of Israel they always had these enemy nations around them. Matter of fact, the Lord told them when they finally came into the promise land, He said, “I am not going to completely give you victory over all of these pagan nations. I am going to use them to prove you. And they will be my means of testing you.” Now they were there and in most cases they were a nuisance, but God intended Israel to have supremacy. He intended them to have the dominion. You know the Bible says that we, as long as we’re in this life; your body’s like a country and God wants to hold the capitol. He wants to have possession of headquarters. We’ve got the flesh that’s warring with the Spirit, but God wants to be on the throne. Now before a person’s saved the enemy is in dominion. They’re controlled by the lusts of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. After a person’s saved is all temptation gone? No.

Do they still have some of the same propensities and tendencies they had before they were saved? Yeah, you bet. What’s the difference? The difference is the Lord is now in dominion. The enemy is subdued. Were the Ammonites still in the country? Yes. Doesn’t say that they exterminated them. They did not annihilate them. You read the Bible; they keep cropping up later on in history for hundreds of years. They were still there, but they were subdued. You and I, as humans we’ve got temptation. And as long as you’re in that body and as long as we’re in this world and long as there’s a devil you’re going to have battles to fight. You’re going to have Edom and Moab and Ammon harassing you. But the difference is that when you’re consecrated to the Lord and He gives you the victory they are subdued. You have dominion. Let me give you some scriptures on that.

Turn in your Bibles to the book of Romans. Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you.” Just as surely as the Moabites, Edomites and Ammonites were not to have dominion over God’s people, sin should not be controlling you. Romans 6:12, “Therefore do not let sin reign,” reign means be in control, “in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” It is subdued. It’s not barking out the orders. And through Jephthah and through the people following Jephthah, who was technically an outcast, they gained the victory and the enemy was subdued. Now who does Jephthah represent? Jesus. I told you that at the beginning. Was Jesus an outcast? Did the enemies of Christ cast aspersions on Jesus about His origins and His birth? Did He seem to have some question marks around how He came about? You can read here in John 7:27. It’s when they were attacking Christ they said, “However we know not where this man is from.” “We don’t know,” you know, “how he came about.” Suddenly Mary was pregnant and they ran off to Egypt. It didn’t look good.

Was Jesus an outcast among His own family? Yeah, His brothers had said, “You’re beside yourself.” You know what that means? “You’re crazy.” He was something of an outcast. But did His own brothers finally rally and follow Him? In the end they did, yeah. James, who wrote the book of James, of course, was the brother of Jesus. And though He had been the outcast of the family and He had been the black sheep they finally came to Him for salvation. And He’s the one that gave them the ability to subdue the enemy. And Jesus is the one who gives us the ability and the victory over the enemy that bothers us. You know I heard a story, matter of fact, Joe Cruz wrote this in a book that deals with overcoming sin. About a man who went under hypnosis, a light state of a trance, and there was a glass of water on a table and they asked him if he could lift the glass. And he tried and even though he was a man who was very fit and athletic he strained and he tried and he could not lift this glass of water off the table that a three-year old could lift.

Why? Because when he was put under hypnosis they told him that glass is way too heavy for you to ever lift. And he believed it and he was unable to lift the glass. You know why some people never get the victory? Because they don’t believe. Now, how did Jephthah get the victory? How did he win? Turn with me to Hebrews 11. I think you know this scripture. Verse 32 and 33. Hebrews 11:32-33. I have every right to preach about Jephthah. He’s held up in the New Testament as an example of faith. “And what more shall I say? for time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and Barak, Samson, and Jephthah; also David, and Samuel.” Hey, he’s in good company. He’s sandwiched right between Samson and David. And what does it say? “Who through faith subdued kingdoms.” Jephthah subdued a kingdom. How did he do it? Through faith in God. He did what he could. He was a mighty man. He negotiated. He made arrangements with his own people. He tried to affect peace with the enemy. He did everything he could, but he went into battle trusting the Lord and through faith he subdued the enemy.

How do you and I get the victory? Same way, through faith. If you believe the devil’s lie who says you can’t lift the glass then you’ll never lift the glass. The devil has most of the world, and the tragic thing is he’s got most of the Christian world, believing what they can’t do. And Jesus said, “Look, God can save outcasts and He can make the weak mighty. And through faith all things are possible.” Amen? And you can do it. You know not only is it true that if you’re under the influence of hypnosis that you can’t lift something as simple as a glass, they have also found out through experiments that when a person is under hypnosis if they are told they can do things that are of supernatural strength they can, because they believe it. Now I’m not suggesting that we all go find a hypnotist, anything from that.

I think that we can go to Christ and believe His word and have confidence that through faith in Him all things are possible. And don’t be content to be subdued by the enemy. You know I remember reading in history how during World War II General Wainwright was captured by the Japanese and he was in a Manchurian prison for several years. And he was just a shadow of a man. He looked completely defeated and starving and emaciated. And the guards really gave him a hard time in the concentration camp because he had been a general. Well finally when the Japanese surrendered and an American colonel came to the prison of war camp and announced that the Japanese had surrendered and that they would be liberated General Wainwright walked back to his humble bunker where the Japanese guards began to torment them and he snapped around and he looked at them and he was transformed. And he said, “I’ll have none of that anymore.” He said, “I’m in charge here now and you take orders from me.” “And from that moment on,” the person who recorded that story said, “he was in charge of everything in the concentration camp.” What made the difference? He heard the word that he was victorious and he started acting like he was victorious.

You know sometimes we don’t have the victory because we don’t believe that we’ve got the victory. The Bible tells us that if we look to Christ and if we believe that He defeated the devil and if we’re following the one who defeated the devil, even though we might be misfits and we might be outcasts, we can share in that victory. Amen? Now if you believe that, friends, if we’re going to sing a song that’s a little different from our usual closing songs. It’s Faith is the Victory, 608. Reach for your hymnal. And it’s sort of a battle cry. I’m going to be making a general appeal. I won’t be having an altar call today because this is a message really for everybody. But I’d like for you to stand with me and I’d like for you to, through faith, believe the victory that Jesus took from the devil at the cross belongs to you if you believe it. And you can share in it. 608, Faith is the Victory.


Now if you’re anything like me you have been tormented by the Edomites, Moabites and Ammonites. We’ve got these aliens that are nearby like thorns in our side that sometimes subdue us. But the promise in God’s word is that you follow Jephthah, though you might be an outcast, God makes the losers winners. Amen? And if you follow Him you can become a winner, too. Maybe you’ve been struggling with some defeats. Through faith in Christ whatever your battles might be you can be victorious. Keep your eyes on Him and follow Him and you could know that you can become an inheritor in the promise land. Just like Jephthah was. He went into battle and he came back and that promise land was then his. Amen? And it belongs to you as well. Do you believe that, friends? Why don’t we sing the last verse together. Faith is the Victory.


Share a Prayer Request
Ask a Bible Question



Prayer Request:

Share a Prayer Request


Bible Question:

Ask a Bible Question