Bible in a Year – Day 81: Discarded
Have you ever felt discarded? You know, like people would rather you not be around – perhaps even wish that you were dead? Now, have you ever had the opposite experience? Have you ever felt like people were falling all over themselves to welcome you? You know, that feeling of wondering what favor someone wanted to ask of you, because they were being way too nice to you.
Now, imagine that those two feelings came from the same person or group of people. That’s exactly what happened to Jephthah. Here was a guy who, because of who his mother was, had been discarded by his brothers. He had been driven out of his home town and wound up living in a place called Tob. His brothers probably felt pretty proud of themselves for getting rid of him. That is, until they needed a mighty warrior (Jephthah happened to be a mighty warrior.)
And so, in need of another military hero, the elders of Gilead approach Jephthah with an incredible offer. Not only will he be able to return to his home town, but he can actually be the ruler…if he can just manage to defeat the Ammonites. And so, Jephthah accepts the offer, returns and defeats the Ammonites.
As I read, I can’t help but notice the similarities between Jephthah and a couple of other central figures in the Bible – Joseph and Jesus. Like Jephthah, Joseph was hated by his brothers and driven out of town. Jesus, while perhaps not hated by his brothers, was certainly misunderstood by them. Jephthah was the son of an important man and a prostitute. Jesus, in comparison, was the son of a man from the noble lineage of David and an unmarried girl – an illegitimate son in the eyes of those in his town. Also like Jephthah, Jesus managed to surround himself with a group of less-than-savory characters (at least in the eyes of the church).
But in the end, Joseph, Jephthah and Jesus were all called to execute God’s plan, partially because they were the only ones capable of doing it. For Joseph, it was his family heritage, his knowledge of Egyptian culture and his incredible wisdom that came together into the package that God needed to save the people of Israel. For Jesus, it was his perfection, his deity and his incredible wisdom that God needed to save the world.
For Jephthah, the fact that he was a mighty warrior – and obviously one who was aware of God’s history with his people – was enough for God to bring him back to his home town to do God’s work. I have to wonder how Jephthah would have turned out if he had been allowed to continue his life of privilege, rather moving to Tob. Would he have forgotten about God and, instead, turned to the foreign gods? Who knows, but one thing’s for certain, Jephthah embraced the call of God when and where it happened and rescued the people of Israel.
- Leaning In – The Positive Power of Opposition
- Holy Spirit – The Missing Piece of God
- Les Misérables and The Kingdom of God
- Bible in a Year – Day 364: Payback
- Bible in a Year – Day 359: A Personal Visit
- Bible in a Year – Day 357: True of False
- Bible in a Year – Day 353: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing
- Bible in a Year – Day 352: How About Jew?
- Bible in a Year – Day 347: One More Time!
- Bible in a Year – Day 344: Dreams, Dreams