For many of us, our pasts have taken so much out of us that we need a brand new life. Yet, the Bible tells us out of weakness we can be made strong. The story of Jephthah, found in Judges, is our example on how being made strong happens out of weakness. Within his weakness, Jephthah had taken in some ability.
Jephthah, whose name in Hebrew means, "the opener", "the one to release", and "he who sets free", was the son of Gilead and a harlot. Gilead later married a woman who was not Jephthah's mother. Gilead went on to have other sons from this marriage. When these sons (Jephthah's half-brothers) grew up, the Bible tells us that they threw Jephthah out of the house. The way in which Jephthah was driven out was a violent, physical, and emotional act. It was done in such a way that he would never return because his life was at stake. As they threw him out they proclaimed that the "son of a harlot would have none of their father's inheritance!".
Jephthah fled to the land of Tob and banded himself with vain or "worthless" men. These worthless men were likened to a vessel that should be filled with liquid, but is empty. They were void of substance. Yet Jephthah connected with these vain and worthless men. But, even in his rejected state he was destined to be a leader.
You cannot stop God from causing a resurgence of the rejected! God does his best work with those who have been kicked to the curb. The thrusting out is what gets us airborne. Our resume' is being worked on in our moment of weakness--when we have been kicked to the curb. There is something that can come out of us coming from a weak, feeble place. God wants to deposit strength in us.
So why does Jephthah appear in the "Hall of Faith" found in Hebrews 11:32? Why is he a man of faith? Although Jephthah was rejected by his family, the elders of Gilead came to him for help in the time of attack, knowing he was a man of valor. Jephthah was a man of faith because it took faith to return to the place of rejection. Jephthah was rejected and resurrected so that he could return.
For many of us, faith has us standing in front of a door that has been slammed in our face. Faith is the only thing that can cause us to come back and not stay back. Faith governs our emotions to push past a door that was shut in our face. Faith says when the shut door opens, and I walk through it--things will be better than they were when I was thrust out. Stay in front of the shut door, because when the Lord opens it, things will be brand new.
Have you had an occasion to accept yourself , but instead rejected yourself?
As we get older, do we have ways of masking our rejection?
If we can overcome rejection, we have done something major! One of the recruiting tools of Satan is rejection. He preys on rejected people. So, one of the worst things we can do is suppress rejection. There are some things that we need to get out. Get it out! Do not sleep on it. If we do not talk about the rejection, we can easily begin to lead fantasy-laden lives as a means of coping with the rejection.
We must have faith in God. Only the word of God can reach back and take us to the moment of rejection, heal our hearts, and bring about deliverance. True faith is taking a risk that there may be more pain from the original source of pain, yet we move forward and take the risk. The Lord was all Jephthah had; he trusted the Lord for the people who rejected him. Jephthah was a man of faith because he chose to deal with the reality of the rejection he experienced from his family. He confronted his problems with faith in God. He did not negotiate. He did not "dummy down" to his family. He did not reject his family when they came to him for help. In his act of faith, God vindicated Jephthah. He experienced victory in battle and within his family. And ultimately, this mighty man of valor who overcame the pain of rejection, went on to become one of the judges of Israel, and later be known as a man of faith in Hebrews 11:32.
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