- Sermon Notes
Confidence Beyond Your Control
Judges 11:1-10, 29-40
Illus: Youth ministry Summer camp sign ups.
There was a fear I had that we would not get enough students to sign up…This was a great lesson that I take with me still.
That lesson is that my confidence must be in Christ alone and if my confidence resides there, it is confidence beyond my control.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
In Judges chapter 11 we see the story of Jephthah of Gilead. Jephthah’s story is a story both of victory and tragedy.
Read Judges 11:1-10/29-40
Verse one begins by saying Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot.
While Gilead was his father, he was not the son of Gilead’s wife and eventually his brothers drove him out of their home. Jephthah ended up going to the land of Tob.
Jephthah became a valiant warrior and later, the Ammonites came together to attack Gilead (his “home-town”).
The elders of Gilead call upon Jephthah to be their chief so that they might win the war, Jephthah agrees and later, instead of confidence for the battle, made a tragic vow unto the Lord.
- Knowing that the elders of Gilead needed him, he wavered in his confidence that the battle would be his.
- He went to the right place, but with the wrong prayer.
I. Greatness comes from God
- The beginning of verse 29 makes it clear that the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah.
- The Spirit of the Lord upon him was all he needed for the battle, however; he made a tragic vow unto to the Lord.
- One important observation out of the Old Testament is that the Spirit of God came upon those that God would transform into great men or women.
- God was indeed bringing this transformation upon Jephthah, however, due to a great need within him for the acceptance of his family, he felt as though he needed to make a vow or a “deal” with God.
A. Trust in God to transform
- If we go back to verse one, we see an important key to what made Jephthah a valiant warrior.
- He was the son of a harlot so his brothers drove him out so he would have no share of the inheritance in their father's house.
- Jephthah fled from his brothers to the land of Tob where other men who had been rejected gathered themselves to Jephthah. It would appear that this group became a bit like David and his group of misfits that the Lord used to protect towns and villages.
- It’s also important to see that though they rejected him, he did not reject God. We can see this in verse nine where he clearly says that if he has victory, then it was the Lord that gave it to him.
- There is a theme that runs through much of the Bible; God seems to delight in taking the outcasts, the misfits, or the "nothings" of the world and demonstrating the greatness of his glory in transforming their lives.
Illus – David was the last of his brothers to be considered when the Samuel was anointing the next king as the house of Jesse…Joseph was Jacob's favorite son but that position of favor was of no advantage. It was only when great tragedy came upon his life that we then saw the greatness of God's glory upon him.
- The point of application for all of us is that we should never doubt the power of God to transform. Your background or your pedigree does not limit what God would do to use you in greatness for the Lord.
Illus. No professional musician here, my sisters were the singers. God has used me as a worship leader through music.
Psalm 147:10 -11, He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
- It is important to recognize that God makes great men, despite what we think will make us great, or more, it is the Lord.
- The same brothers who rejected Jephthah ended up calling on him… “Did you not hate me and drive me out of my father’s house?”
- There was an empty cup, beginning to hear water.
- While we see in verse nine that he understood if the victory was given it was from the Lord, still he felt he needed to do more.
- God was not interested in Jephthah’s deal, he was already going to give him victory.
- God wants to bring victory in what you are facing as well.
B. You don’t need to make a deal.
- Jephthah made a vow unto God as a way of making a deal in the hopes of getting God to do what he wanted.
- The application for the New Testament believer is that you don’t need to make a deal in order for God to bless your life. He’s already promised to bless you far more than you can ask or even think.
Ephesians 3:14 -21 He is able to do far more beyond all that we ask or think...
- Scripture tells us that he has already given us every spiritual blessing.
Ephesians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
- He has already made us his son or daughter through adoption and so he has promised to bless us as a father would bless his son.
Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
- Jephthah made a vow unnecessarily, he didn’t need to make a deal, he needed confidence in the Lord.
- There are situations daily where the Lord requires our confidence, humble confidence, not puffed up or self deprecating, Godly confidence, that he is the holder of our future.
Illus. Confidence in the college years that God would provide a spouse.
- God will blessing to your life, remain confident, no deal is necessary.
II. Allow God’s Truth to Lead Your Life
- There are so many difference lies we can believe, too many to list, but we can’t be led by lies, we must rely on God’s truth.
- His truth is found in his word
Is. 41:10 Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- There is a lot for us to understand in the story of Jephthah.
- In verse 30, he made a vow that whatever came out of the doors of his house to meet him when he returned in victory shall be the Lord’s. The next word is key to proper interpretation. The word "and" in Hebrew that is used here is used in many places as "or" in the Old Testament. In other words, he will give to God what comes out of his house either as dedication, or as burnt offering.
- The whole purpose of such an offering is that it should represent his heart that he is giving to God.
- It is important to note, that I believe that the daughter was not offered as a burnt offering. There are several reasons that we should believe that:
- The Law of Moses strictly forbids such a sacrifice and from the previous chapter we can conclude that he was familiar with the Law of Moses.
- No priest would have officiated since it was unlawful.
- You could be released from a difficult vow.
Leviticus 27:2, Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, “When a man makes a difficult vow, he shall be valued according to your valuation of persons belonging to the Lord.”
- Burnt offerings had to be male.
- She was mourning her virginity not her death. This is because she was Jephthah’s only child and he could receive grandchildren only through her.
- It remains a sad, tragic vow.
- Jephthah was primarily concerned winning this battle. It meant a great deal to him.
- There are situations where we feel as though God needs our help ensuring a particular outcome.
- We need truth to reign; the Lord says “do not fear, I am with you.”
- There none other that I would want taking the lead in my life.
A. Let the Lord take the initiative.
- When people make a vow to God in order to make a deal, that are trying to get God to respond to them. But God doesn’t bless our lives because we made a vow, He blesses our lives out of the love He has for us in His heart.
- This is an important theme we must understand from scriptures. God takes the initiative and we respond to him, not the other way around.
- Therefore, we don’t worship God in order to obtain his favor. We worship him because he has already placed his favor on our lives.
- This is contrary to how the world is.
- With God, He is the blessor and we are blessed as recipients.
1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.
B. Keep your trust in the Lord.
Isaiah 43:1-2, Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine! When you pass through the water, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.
- Ultimately, Jephthah made a terrible vow involving his daughter out of his concern that he would fail.
- How many times in our lives are we looking for an opportunity to look good to be a champion, walk victoriously and do those things at the expense of others?
- Sometimes, those others are quite close to us, for Jephthah, it was his daughter.
- That Jephthah was willing to give up whatever came out of his door, in hope that would make God respond.
- The Lord had made a way for Jephthah to be welcomed back into his family, not only welcomed, but made the leader.
- The Lord calls us to faith in Him.
Though what I see with my eyes, makes me feel like there is no hope and I need to operate in my own strength, I must trust in the Lord.
There are times where I have tried to negotiate a better deal for myself, only to be reminded that God wants my faith, trust and confidence to reside in him.
Judges 11:1-10, 29-40 NASB
1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot. And Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2 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, for you are the son of another woman." 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob; and worthless fellows gathered themselves about Jephthah, and they went out with him.
4 It came about after a while that the sons of Ammon fought against Israel. 5 When the sons of Ammon fought against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob; 6 and they said to Jephthah, "Come and be our chief that we may fight against the sons of Ammon." 7 Then Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "Did you not hate me and drive me from my father's house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?" 8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "For this reason we have now returned to you, that you may go with us and fight with the sons of Ammon and become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead." 9 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you take me back to fight against the sons of Ammon and the Lordgives them up to me, will I become your head?" 10 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "The Lord is witness between us; surely we will do as you have said."
29 Now the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, so that he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon. 30 Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, "If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, 31 then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the Lord's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering." 32 So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord gave them into his hand. 33 He struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer to the entrance of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel.
34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. Now she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, "Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are among those who trouble me; for I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot take it back." 36 So she said to him, "My father, you have given your word to the Lord; do to me as you have said, since the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the sons of Ammon." 37 She said to her father, "Let this thing be done for me; let me alone two months, that I may go to the mountains and weep because of my virginity, I and my companions." 38 Then he said, "Go." So he sent her away for two months; and she left with her companions, and wept on the mountains because of her virginity. 39 At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her according to the vow which he had made; and she had no relations with a man. Thus it became a custom in Israel, 40 that the daughters of Israel went yearly to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.