The Outcast

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Judges 11:1-3 (NIV)
Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 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.” So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.

Judges 11:1-3 (MSG)
Jephthah the Gileadite was one tough warrior. He was the son of a whore, but Gilead was his father. Meanwhile Gilead’s legal wife had given him other sons, and when they grew up, his wife’s sons threw Jephthah out. They told him: “You’re not getting any of our family inheritance—you’re the son of another woman.” So Jephthah fled from his brothers and went to live in the land of Tob. Some riffraff joined him and went around with him.
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“Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a brave warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. Gilead’s wife bore him sons, and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, because you are the son of another woman.” Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob; and worthless and unprincipled men gathered around Jephthah, and went out [on raids] with him.” -AMPLIFIED

The next judge that we will find in the book of Judges is Jephthah. We find that Jephthah was a social outcast. For though his father was probably a “good” Jewish man, his mother was a prostitute. We will find that once Jephthah had grown to manhood the other sons of his father drove him away; so that he would have no part in their father’s inheritance.

Jephthah was an outcast by the standards of that day, but not in God’s book. GOD HAD A PLAN! And that plan included a mighty warrior that was an outcast. Although Jephthah’s origins were a bit sketchy; God looked behind what the natural eye saw and saw the possibilities in this rejected castaway.

Let’s backtrack and remember that in chapter 10 is was the people of Israel who had turned their back on God. They did what was evil in God’s sight and God allowed the Ammonites to fight against them and oppress them. This caused the people of Israel to be distressed and they once again called out to God to save them from their adversaries.

The closing words of chapter 10 give us an idea of the fear and uncertainty that the people were feeling. They felt lost and without a leader. They posed this question among themselves, “The people, the leaders of Gilead (Israel) said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the Ammonites? He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” -Judges 10:18 (AMP) Who will be our leader?

They still had not gotten their act together. For if they had they would have been posing that question to God and not to one another. They then had the audacity to approach Jephthah, whom they had driven out from their midst, to be their leader. Why would they do such a thing? Because he had proven himself in his own right to be a mighty warrior. They had rejected him. They had counted him as worthless, but we find that he did not go to the backside of the desert to sulk and feel sorry for himself. Instead, he had a group of other outcasts that surrounded him and he lead them; proving himself to be a mighty warrior. (It is thought that Jephthah’s gang of scoundrels probably protected villages of Israel from various attacks; possibly including the Ammonites.)

All of this is a reminder to us that God uses whoever He desires to use. There are no outcasts by His standards; everyone has possibilities and can be used by Him. The Apostle Paul reminds us of this fact in 1 Corinthians “Just look at your own calling, believers; not many [of you were considered] wise according to human standards, not many powerful or influential, not many of high and noble birth. But God has selected [for His purpose] the foolish things of the world to shame the wise [revealing their ignorance], and God has selected [for His purpose] the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong [revealing their frailty]. God has selected [for His purpose] the insignificant (base) things of the world, and the things that are despised and treated with contempt, [even] the things that are nothing, so that He might reduce to nothing the things that are, so that no one may [be able to] boast in the presence of God.” -1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (AMP)

Once again, in this instance, we see God taking a nobody and turning him into somebody. Jephthah was indeed a mighty man used in the hands of God. We will be looking more into his life over the coming days. Meanwhile, today think on how God has used you today in ways that you thought were never possible.

“God delights by using the unusable and in making what may appear ugly to men beautiful in His eyes.” -Precept Austin

My Prayer:
Lord, you did use ordinary people. Thankfully you do not look for the perfect, the best, or the strongest. Instead, you are looking for the ones who are willing to be obedient, the ones who will step out in faith and the ones who will be pliable. I want to be one of those people. I am so thankful that you do not focus on the outside; as people do, but you look at the heart. You see my possibilities; even when I do not. Thank you!

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