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Jephthah's Vow | Judges 10-12

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Welcome to Real Life. Our parentage affects us, for good and for ill.

His mother was a prostitute. Because of this, Jephthah’s brothers drove him out of his father’s home in Gilead. He settled in Tob. There, he grew into a mighty warrior with a following of angry young men.

When the Ammonites attacked, the men of Gilead needed a mighty warrior. They called on Jephthah. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he went out to meet the Ammonites in battle. But first, he made a bold and foolish vow:
If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the Lord whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.[1] Israel won. But, it was not due to Jephthah’s vow. God is sovereign. His will is not dependent on man’s promises. No, God had already raised up Jephthah to deliver Israel.

When Jephthah returned, his virgin daughter—his only child—came dancing out to meet him. At this point, he could have humbly admitted he made a r…

The Lord is With You, Mighty Warrior | Judges 6 and 7

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Welcome to Real Life. Have you ever been called to do something way over your head?

“But, Lord, how can I save Israel?” Gideon asked.
Again, the Israelites did evil, removing themselves from God and his protection. This time[1], the savage Midianites invaded. God’s people were so afraid that they hid in mountain clefts, caves, and strongholds. Finally, after seven years of misery, they cried out to the Lord. He sent help from an unlikely source.

Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress (to hide it from the Midianites) when the angel of the Lord appeared and said, “The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior.”

“Really? If God’s with us, why has he abandoned us into the hand of Midian?”

“I’m sending you, Gideon, to save Israel.”

“But, Lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is weakest in Manasseh and I am the least in my family.”

“I will be with you,” the Lord answered. We’ll do it together.

The Midianites and all their allies joined forces to attack Israel. They lay as thick as locusts over…