Sermon – Shocking Sentences (Judges 10:6 – 11:40) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Sermon 10 of 14

Shocking Sentences

Pete Woodcock, Judges 10:6 - 11:40, 7 April 2024

As we continue our series in the book of Judges, Pete preaches to us from Judges 10:6-11:40. In this passage we see Jephthah’s time as the Judge of God’s people. We see his upbringing, rejection, his actions as Judge, the consequences they bring, and what it all means for us today.


Judges 10:6 - 11:40

The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they forsook the LORD and did not serve him. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites, and they crushed and oppressed the people of Israel that year. For eighteen years they oppressed all the people of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. And the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah and against Benjamin and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.

10 And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, “We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.” 11 And the LORD said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines? 12 The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I saved you out of their hand. 13 Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. 14 Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” 15 And the people of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel.

17 Then the Ammonites were called to arms, and they encamped in Gilead. And the people of Israel came together, and they encamped at Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said one to another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the Ammonites? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. And Gilead’s wife also 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.” Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob, and worthless fellows collected around Jephthah and went out with him.

After a time the Ammonites made war against Israel. And when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob. And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the Ammonites.” But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me out of my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?” And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have turned to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the Ammonites and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me home again to fight against the Ammonites, and the LORD gives them over to me, I will be your head.” 10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The LORD will be witness between us, if we do not do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and leader over them. And Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD at Mizpah.

12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and said, “What do you have against me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?” 13 And the king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel on coming up from Egypt took away my land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably.” 14 Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites 15 and said to him, “Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites, 16 but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. 17 Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please let us pass through your land,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. And they sent also to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh.

18 “Then they journeyed through the wilderness and went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab and arrived on the east side of the land of Moab and camped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. 19 Israel then sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to our country,’ 20 but Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory, so Sihon gathered all his people together and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel. 21 And the LORD, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. 22 And they took possession of all the territory of the Amorites from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan. 23 So then the LORD, the God of Israel, dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel; and are you to take possession of them? 24 Will you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? And all that the LORD our God has dispossessed before us, we will possess. 25 Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever contend against Israel, or did he ever go to war with them? 26 While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, 300 years, why did you not deliver them within that time? 27 I therefore have not sinned against you, and you do me wrong by making war on me. The LORD, the Judge, decide this day between the people of Israel and the people of Ammon.” 28 But the king of the Ammonites did not listen to the words of Jephthah that he sent to him.

29 Then the Spirit of the LORD was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, 31 then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” 32 So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the LORD gave them into his hand. 33 And he struck them from Aroer to the neighborhood of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with a great blow. So the Ammonites were subdued before the people of Israel.

34 Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the LORD, and I cannot take back my vow.” 36 And she said to him, “My father, you have opened your mouth to the LORD; do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, now that the LORD has avenged you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.” 37 So she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.” 38 So he said, “Go.” Then he sent her away for two months, and she departed, she and her companions, and wept for her virginity on the mountains. 39 And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man, and it became a custom in Israel 40 that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.

(ESV)


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

254 in your bibles or, judges chapter 10. And we're going to start at verse 6 of chapter 10. So I'll I'll read, the rest of chapter 10 now. And then as I said, we'll sing, and then Abby will read chapter 11 for us.

Okay. Chapter 10 of judges, verse 6. Again, the israelites did evil in the eyes of the lord, They serve the baals and the Astereths and the gods of Aram, the gods of sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the lord and no longer served him, he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the ammonites, who that year shattered and crushed them.

For 18 years, they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amor amorites. The Amorites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah Benjamin, and ephraim. Israel was in great distress. Then the Israelites cried out to the lord, we have sinned against you forsaking our god and serving the baals. The lord replied, when the Egyptians, the Amorites, and the ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the, ammo, amalekites, and the Maonites, oppressed you, and you cried me for help.

Did I not save you from their hands? But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you're in trouble. But the Israelite said to the lord, we have sinned.

Do with us whatever you think best but please rescue us now. Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the lord. And he could bear Israel's misery no longer. When the imminent when the ammonites were called to arms and camped in Gilead, the Israelites assembled and camped in Mizzpa. The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, whoever will take the lead in attacking the ammonites will behead overall who live in Gilead.

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 a land atop where a gang of scoundrel gathered around him and followed him. Sometime later, when the ammonites were fighting against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob Come they said, be our commander so we can fight the ammonites. Depptha said to them, didn't you hate me and drive me from my father's house? Why do you come to me now when you're in trouble? The elders of Gilead said to him, nevertheless, we are turning to you now Come with us to fight the ammonites, and you will be head over all of us who live in Gilead.

Jeptha answered, suppose you take me back to fight the ammonite and the lord gives them to me. Will I really be your head? The elders of Gilead replied, the lord is our witness. We will certainly do as you say. So Jeff underwent with his with the elders of Gilead and the people made him head and commander over them, and he repeated all his words before the lord in mis Then Jephthah sent messengers to the ammonite King with the question.

What do you have against me that you have attacked my country? The king of the ammonites answered Jephthah's mess messengers. When Israel came out of out of Egypt, they took away my land from the Arnan to the Jabok, all the way to the Jordan. Now give it back peaceably. Jeptha sent back messengers to the ammonite King saying, this is what Jeptha says.

Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the ammonites, but when they came up out of Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and on to the kadesh. Then Israel sent messengers to the king of edom saying, give us permission to go through your country, but the king of edom would not listen. They sent also to the king of Moab, and he refused. So Israel stayed at Khadesh. Next, they traveled through the wilderness, skirted the lands of Eden and Moab, passed along the eastern side of the country of Moab and camped on the other side of the Arnan.

They did not enter the territory of Moab for the Arnan was its border. Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon, King of the Amorites, who ruled in Hessbon and said to him, let us pass through your country. To our own place, Sihon, however, did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. He mustered all his troops and encamped at Jhas and fought with Israel. Then the lord, the god of Israel gave Sihon and his whole whole army into Israel's hands, and they defeated them.

Israel took over all the land of the Amorites who lived in the country, capturing all of it from the Arnon to the Jabok and from the desert to the Jordan. Now since the lord, the god of Israel had has driven the amorites out before his people, Israel, what right have you to take over? Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever the lord our god has given you, we will possess. Are you any better than barracks on a Zippur, King or Moab?

Did he ever quarrel with Israel or fight with them? For 300 years, Israel occupied Heshbon, I Woa, the surrounding settlements, and all the towns along the island. Why didn't you retake them during that time? I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. That the lord, the the judge decide this dispute this day between the Israelites and the ammonites.

The king of Amon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him. Then the spirit of the lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manassa and passed through Mispar of Gilead. And from there, he advanced against the ammonites and depth the maid of vow to the lord. If you give the ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me, when I return in triumph from the ammonites will be the lord's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.

Then Jephthah went over to fight the ammonites and the lord gave them into his hands. He devastated 20 towns from AWawa to the vicinity of Minith as far as Abel Kerriman. Thus Israel subdued Amon. When Jeptha returned to his home in Mizzpa, who should come out to meet him, but his daughter dancing to the sound of Tamberines. She was an only child.

Except for her, he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, Oh, no, my daughter, you have brought me down, and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the lord that I that I cannot break. My father, she replied, you have given your word to the lord, due to me, just as you promised, now that the lord has avenged you of your enemies, the ammonites, but grant me this 1 request she said. Give me 2 months to roam the hills and weep with my friends because I will never marry.

You may go, he said, and he let her go for 2 months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. After the 2 months, She returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed, and she was a virgin. From this comes the Israelite tradition that each year the young women of Israel go out for 4 days to commemorate the daughter of DEtha, the Gileadite. Gosh.

You got all that? There's a lot of stuff there. Thanks, Abby. Brilliant. It's, it's hard reading that stuff, isn't it?

Cause there's the amalekites and the ammonites, and I think it's, oh, gosh, lots of lots of stuff in that story. And it is a strange thing, isn't it? Because, in in judges, you you you get something like shamgar and there's like half a verse about him. You know, he he kills all the people with an ox code. And then you think, I wanna know more.

I wanna know more. And then you get Jessner and you think, wow. We we know a lot. And I think the whole thing is that god is just showing that there are lots of stories going on behind the short stories and he's picking on on some. Let's pray.

Father help us now as we look at This, story help us to hear what you say to us through it, that we don't just read it as some kind of history thing. Help us to see what you're saying to us today in Jesus' name, our, ma'am. Now there are there are some really shocking sentences, aren't there? I mean, and social media and the news and all of that. They love the more shocking a sentence the more they're gonna put that as a as a headline.

And there have been some shocking sentences re recently. The recent release of mister Hester's statement about the MP Diane Abbott. If you if you haven't heard it, I'm not gonna repeat it. It's it's a shocking statement of racism and misogyny. It was pretty horrible.

And that that's been in the press recently. That's a big shocking statement. And then, you know, I I could quote other shocking statements about the redefinition of a woman. You think my goodness, this is shocking statement or the ways some people have talked about refugees and asylum seekers. You know, there's been some shocking things said.

And these statements get us and, they're repeated in their headline. And that's what statements do, isn't it? But there are other statements that just as surprising. You think, wow. I'm surprised that he or she said that.

Now in this long reading, there are shocking and surprising statements, and that's what I want to have a look at. I'm gonna look at them under titles, under words, and put these shocking statements together under under titles. But they really are shocking, and here's the first 1. Just have a look at chapter 10 and verse 6 and 7, the second half of verse 6. And because the Israelites forsook the lord and no longer served him, he became angry with them.

He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Amorites. Did you hear that? I mean, that's shocking. He, god, sold them. He sold them.

His people into the hands of the Philistines and the Amorites. That's my first point sold. Let's have a look at some shocking statements under that word, sold. God sold them. When you sell something, It's not yours anymore.

You relinquish ownership. Isn't it? If I sell my car, it's not my car anymore. And the person who now owns the car that I've sold it to can do what they like with the car. They take my car.

They may spray it pink. They may drive it badly. I can't say, Hey, that's my car. It's not my car. I've sold it.

That's what happens. So this is a deeply, deeply distressing sentence. God sold them. And we're meant to feel that. We're meant to feel the shock of that.

But what what what does that what does that mean? Why it shows us this is just how serious sin is. Cause why did god sell them? Well, look how bad things were at verse 6. Again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the lord.

They served the Bales and the Assurists and the gods of Aram and the gods of sidon and the gods of Moab and the gods of the ammonites and the gods of the Philister. See the word again? I mean, how many times have we seen the word again? Again. Again.

Yeah. It's the cycle of of this book of judges. They they sin, god saves them, and again, they sin again. Again. At the end of the book, we're told that everyone did what was right in their own eyes, but here, we're told they did evil in the eyes of the lord.

And of course, those sentences go together. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes, is the same as they did evil in the eyes of the lord. And because the Israelites forsook the lord and no longer served him, He became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Amorites. Look at verse 8, who that year shattered and crushed them for 18 years they repressed.

They oppressed all his his rights. They served these gods, and what do the gods do to them? Shattered and crushed them. Yeah? These gods, they I mean, there's a madness in sin This is the strange thing about sin.

It do it it's not reasonable. It's nuts. Why would we go after gods that are going to shatter and crushes and oppress us for 18 years. What why would we commit ourselves to them? Why would we In the book of Romans, in the new testament, and in chapter 1, Paul is writing about idolatry.

Yeah, worshiping false gods. And he's he he he speaks to the people and he says who worshiped and served. Listen. The creature rather than the creator. So that's what idolatry is.

We're worshiping the creature rather than the creator. And what are the results, he says? It says, therefore, god gave them up to the lusts of their hearts. Now the word the word lust of their hearts in the Greek means that the overwhelming, sort of, enslaving uncontrollable desire. And it says that god gave them up.

It means that If you say no to god and yes to your idols, god says, okay, go over to your uncontrollable lusts I'll let you go. I'll let you go. And those uncontrollable lusts take us over and crush us and shatter us Idolatry and slavery, you see go hand in hand. Back to the judges. Look what the Lord says in verse 14, go and cry out to the god you have chosen.

Let them save you when you're in trouble. You you wanted them? Yeah? These gods that will take you over, take over your desires, these gods that will crush you Well, let's see how merciful they are now. Now you're feeling crushed.

Now you're feeling shattered. Now you're feeling you know, that you're enslaved, why don't you cry out to them? Are they merciful? Will they stop oppressing you? You've only got to ask the alcoholic.

You've only got to ask the workaholic. You've only got to ask those who are obsessed with themselves. You've only got to ask the drug addict. If they're free, or if they're under the ownership of a crushing god. Talk to them.

So to be sold here means to be owned by things that are not god and that in the end you'll be enslaved to. So that's the first shocking statement. God sold them. Wow. But running alongside that is this story of Jethna, who's going to be a a savior judge.

And, basically, he sold. I mean, his brothers sell him, and there's another shocking statement here. In chapter 11 this time, and verses 1 to 3, Jessner, 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 Jethner away. It's like selling them in into slavery. You are not going to get any inheritance in our family, they said. Because you are the son of another woman. There there is that's a shocking statement, isn't it?

That's that just get the hear them. You you bastard. You're a you're a son of a prostitute. You're not gonna get any inheritance, you know, family. Because you're a son of another woman.

Get out of here. Get out of town. You illegitimate son of a prostitute. Get out. And they drove him, it says, from from his home, he's he's despised, and he's rejected by his own people, and he becomes a criminal.

Look at verse 3. And so Jetna fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Taub great name, isn't it? The land of Tom, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him. We'll see more of that in a minute. Sold.

Shocking statements undersold. God sold them. His brothers sold him, pushed him out. We don't want you. But there's a second word, I think that helps us divide all this material up, and it's the word heard.

So sold and heard. Look at chapter 10 verse 15. But the Israelites said to the lord, we have sinned, do with us whatever you think best, I mean, that's a scary statement to say to god because remember he doesn't own them anymore. He sold them. Do with us whether have you think best, well, obliterate you.

You know, could be that, couldn't it? I've already sold you. Nothing to do with you. You're not mine. What are you coming here for?

Go to your other gods. See if they can help you. But let me read it. Let me read the next bit. First 15, but the Israelites said to the lord, we have sinned.

Do with us whatever you think best, but Please rescue us now. Please rescue us now. Now, I want you to get this. There is something about those words that gets god's attention. It it's like he can't help himself.

And so we come to this shocking sentence or incredibly wonderfully shocking sentence. Look at verse 16. Then they got rid of their foreign gods among them and serve the lord and listen. Here it is. This is it.

This is headline sentence, and he could bear Israel's misery no longer. There it is. He could bear Israel's misery no longer. What grace? Do you see the grace in that?

What an incredible god? He sold them. They're not his, but he could bear it no longer. And he could bear Israel's misery no longer. There there's our hope.

That's our that's our hope. It's not in ourselves. It said that god is faithfully merciful. He's so different to all the other silly gods that we give ourselves to. Don't put your hope in other gods.

Don't put your hope in the depths and sincerity even of your repentance. For following those stupid gods. Put your hope in the character of god, and he could bear Israel's misery no longer. Not because they were repented. Because he's a compassionate god.

He when he hears those words, Please rescue us. It his heart's gone. It's almost unreasonable. This is the god of the universe. When he hears those words, it's I could bear their misery no longer.

Mercy pours out of him. Full of mercy. And I want to say to you, look, if you've been trapped in sin, stop looking at yourself and hear the character of god. So really all you have to say in 1 sense is Please rescue me now. Please rescue me.

And he wants to buy us back. It's extraordinary. Look, my car, my van. My my lovely red van. Yeah?

Because of Yulez. Not bitter about it. Made me sell my van for 200 quid, and it was crushed. Yeah? When I sold it, was no longer mine.

It was the bloke that put it on the back of the wagon and went and took it to the crusher machine. My van is not mine anymore. It was crushed. Just imagine. Just imagine that I thought when I saw it crushed, it was worth buying back.

And I got this lump of metal. I said, no, no, I want it back. It's been crushed and shattered by the false god of Yulets. And by the nasty machine that I sold it to. It's been crushed and smashed like the gods do to Israel, but I buy it back because I I just can't stand to see it crushed anymore.

I mean, it's a ridiculous illustration, but nevertheless that's what's going on here. It's worthless. It's useless. It's hard for your car. It's just a crushed dump of metal.

But god, when he hears the misery. I don't know what you'll getting sin is, but we largely all have them, don't we? We go in cycles, don't we? Again, We fallen for that. Isn't that true?

We do well, don't we? And then again. We find ourselves there back again. Again, we've given ourselves the false gods and ideologies and experiences and Again, we've pampered ourselves in ways that we should never have done. Whatever our besetting sin is.

Listen. Please rescue me. Never forget that. There's there's why is Jesus called a savior? Because he loves saving, doesn't he?

He he's not resistant to saving. He didn't come to be a rescuer and say, well, I'm the rescue of the world, but I don't wanna rescue anyone. Yeah. I remember reading a story about a doctor that goes to jungle to heal some really rotten and vile diseases, you know, in in some of the in some of the villages. And some of them are so full of disease.

They're afraid to go to the doctor, and the doctor's saying, I gave up my luxury at home for the reason of healing you. Come to me. I'm the healer. Don't be a shat. I've come to heal you.

And Jesus has come to save us. We sing songs like super savior to the rescue. Don't we? What a song that is? He's the super savior.

So he loves to save. So when we say, save me, rescue me, Again, I've done it. There's something in the savior that cannot resist It could not bear the misery. Israel's misery any longer. Just remember that.

Just remember that. As bad as Israel were then god is gooder. He's much gooder than the badness of them. But not only that, right, in all of this, got all this. God has been already working on a rescuer for Israel in in those days.

He's gonna raise up a savior judge. See, I I want you to see The grace is going on. He sold them as a shocking sentence, but there's a salvation already being worked worked on. As they're already sold to foreign gods. Yeah.

He's already been working on the next surprising judge rescuer. Despite rejecting him He's moving into action. So let's look at who he's preparing, and it's Jessner. So chapter 11 verse 3. And see how god is preparing this man.

I think this this this blew me away this week. So Jessner fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Taub. I quite like to go there, but anyway, in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him. Now you'll remember, Jester, then was rejected by his brothers, despised by his brothers, Why? But but, you know, did he run away?

Presumably, they were gonna kill him, because they didn't like him. Then he finds himself in this land of top, And, it's quite a rich area, actually, although there's desert there as well, but he attracts a, a gang of scoundrels, our version says, worthless men is the word, and there's a sense of, sort of organized crime going on here. He's in the underworld you know, perhaps he's lurking around in the mountains and in the deserts and, you know, he's like a highway man sort of job. That's what that's the sort of picture you get of him. He's an outcast turned criminal and, and yet god is working on him to raise him up to be the save your judge.

Now this is a really important lesson. This is so important. And we need to learn this lesson because we'll see the glory of god in his providential workings in our lives. And I I want us to get this. So through his troubles and his sufferings, Jeffner becomes the man of god that he wants to save save his people.

He becomes a mighty warrior. He becomes a leader because he's despised and rejected. He wouldn't have become that if he didn't go through that experience. And there's a massive encouragement here for us. If you've had a bad start in life, if you've had even had family that hate you and sell you, If you've had to find your family in the hood or in scoundrels or in crime because that's where you found your accepted If you had to find yourself there and you've become a scoundrel or whatever it is, you'd be called to just you gotta listen to this.

That god has used that even, even even your sin. To make you the person you are so that you can serve god. Don't dismiss your pre Christian days. As if they were of no value. I'm finding the older I get.

The more I understand why I went through things Before I was a Christian, the things that made me me before at 19, I became a follower of Jesus. I'm understanding some of the things that I was back then are actually helping me now today. Don't despise your non Christian background. There's a really old him. It's amazing.

I I I I don't know how it goes or anything like that. I don't know whether we could ever sing it, but listen to listen to this verse here. Preserve this is phenomenal. Preserved by Jesus when my feet made haste to hell. Did you hear that?

My I I'm running to hell in my disobedient support, but preserved by Jesus when my feet made haste to hell. And there should I have gone, but thou dust all things well. Thy love was great, thy mercy free, which from the pit delivered me. A monument of grace A sinner saved by blood. The streams of love I trace, up to the fountain god.

And in his sovereign council see eternal truths of love to me. You see that? Even my failures, even my mistakes, even my background. The sovereignty of god is weaving together even the bad stuff I've done and the rotten stuff that's happened to me and the injustices that are working against me. They're all involved to make me the person that he wants me to be to serve him.

Romans chapter 8 28 and we know that in all things, god works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Bad things happen to make us into the person. God wants us to be. There's an old Arabic, expression that says all desert, all sunshine makes a desert. That's right, isn't it?

When everything is good, when everything goes well, when you've got all nice things happening to you, there's something of a desert of a personality. But when you've battled and you've been despised and you've been rejected and you've understood something of what the lord Jesus Christ will go through, then you're being modeled and framed to be a servant of god. Jesus didn't save us in spite of him being despised and rejected. He saved us through god, making him despised and rejected and weak, and defenseless on a cross. So god had been planning, Jeetna, And Jessner, we're under the second word.

Remember, we've unsold. We're still under hers. Sorry. We're nearly at the end of that 1. And so god was planning Jessner and Jessner heard the call, and here's another shocking sentence.

Just please get this sentence. I mean, it is quite shocking, I find. It's a word actually in a sentence that's shocking. See if you get it. Chapter 11 verses 4 to 11.

Sometime later when the ammonites were fighting against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to Jesna went to get Jesna from the land of Taub. Come, they said, be our commander so that we can fight the ammonites. Jessner said to them, didn't you hate me and drive me from my father's house? Why do you come to me now? When you're in trouble.

The elders of Gilead said to him, nevertheless. There's the word. Never the less. I mean, I found that shocking. Never the less.

You've despised me and rejected me and cast me out. You've caused me to become a scoundrel. You want my help. You never say sorry. You never plead nicely.

You don't even give me a gift. You say, come and help us. Whoa. You hated me. Nevertheless.

What are you talking about? It's an extraordinary word, isn't it? Nevertheless. I was in Kingston, I think, last year, and I'd been having these phone calls on my phone, you know, with people selling rubbish, you know, trying to get you, and they go on and on. I got fed up with it.

So I was walking around Kingston, and the phone went I knew it was from the number, and a woman comes on the phone and says, Hi, Peter. Are you having a good day? And I said, no. I've just been told I've got 2 weeks to live. I'm gonna die.

She went Nevertheless. Can I tell you and I said sorry? Did you hear what I said? I'm gonna die in 2 weeks time. Why would I want your stuff?

Well, I, just wanna tell you about the offer we've got. That's the sort of thing, isn't it? Never. I wasn't. I wasn't.

I I know that I shouldn't do these things, but I can't help it. But nevertheless, nevertheless. How can you say nevertheless? We're turning to you now. Yes, you are.

Come with us and fight the ammonites. And you will be head over us, over all of us who live in Gilead, Jeff to answer, suppose you take me back to fight the ammonites and the lord gives them to me. Will I really be your head? The elders of Gilead replied, the lord is our witness. Gosh.

The lord is our witness, and we will certainly do, as you say. So, Jessna went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them, and he repeated all this before the lord in Mizzpa. Now it seems to me But not only did Jessner hear, but nevertheless come and help us. I think he's converted here. I think he hears god.

Something's happened. Remember, he was an outlaw, and now suddenly the language has changed. He was a scounder on an outlaw, and was despised and rejected. But now he's committing himself to the lord. And if you go through won't take you through all the verses.

You see he mentions the lord, you know, a number of times. It's 5 or 6 times. And he gives thanks to the lord, and he gives praise to the lord, and he commits himself to the lord as he does in that last verse there. He repeated all his words before the lord in misper. It seems that the lord has taken him over.

The lord used him and created him in his scoundrelness to become a mighty warrior the lord used him. And now he's now come to the lord, and he doesn't despise his background His background has made him now the converted man that he is to serve the lord. So we had sold and we've had heard And now my third point is word and war. Word. Now this is a surprise.

It's not It's not shocking, but it really is quite a surprise. Jethner doesn't go straight to war. And I think that is quite surprising. He's not rash. He's learned stuff here.

He's learned how to lead men, and he's learned how to reason. And he's and he tries to reason first. With the ammonites, the enemies. So look at verse 12. Then Jephner sent messages to the ammonite king with the question What do you have against me?

You know, that you've attacked my country? What what's going on here? Can you sort of help me out here? He doesn't just go raging in. Yeah?

So something in the way he's been treated has given him sort of reasonableness and and witnessed Should we try and sit down? Should we try and sort this out? Yeah. He's got abilities. He's a mighty warrior we're told, but he can hold back his anger somehow and restrain himself.

And you see that with the brothers and the leaders of the of the uh-uh of the gileadites that called him back. He doesn't rage and say, well, I'm gonna kill my brothers. He doesn't he he doesn't do what What's his name does? What's his name? Amila, Abimelech, in the last chapter, does, and kills all the brothers.

He doesn't do that. So there's something in his conversion in his following of Christ and his ability in his warriorship and his understanding of who god's made him, but gives him you know, restraint here. We can sort this out, he says. And then in verses 13, to 15 of of chapter 11, the king of the ammonites answered jeff Jefferson messengers. When Israel came up out of Egypt, they took and he's and he explains what he thinks happened.

And then there's this long passage that Abby read that I'm not really gonna go into detail. But there's a long reply from Jessner. And the commentators tell us, you know, you can divide it up into 3 bits and it's right. 15 to 22 is the history. So Jessness says, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, let's get the history right here.

You ammonites, you've not got your history right. So just as, understands the history. Then in verse 23 to 24, he's got theology right. God gave us the victory in the past, and I I love what he does in 24. This is really good stuff in 24.

Will you not take what your god, Shamov gives you? Likewise, whatever the lord god has given us, we will possess. He's saying, hey, look, come on. Let's be reasonable here. You know, god gave us this.

If it was the other way around, you know, come on. You follow your god. We follow our god. God gave us this. So he he speaks theologically.

He's got really seriously good, reasoning going on here. And then in verse 26 to 27, He talks about history and time again. So we've been there 300 years. Do we have to go back 300 years and go back to the original settlers of the land? Look, the things of changed.

It's it's we can't just kick them back in time. And anyway, look, if you were right, why didn't you attack back then? You didn't attack back then. Why were you doing it now? So it's not the reason you're attacking now.

So what's going on? Now this is really good leadership. He knows his history. He knows his god. He knows the opposition, and he puts a reasonable case to say, come on.

I'd rather not have war. Let's not fight each other, and there's no reply. And there's no reply to his long reasoning because it's impossible to answer his case. So war is inevitable. Word But then war, verse 29, then the spirit of the lord came on Jessner.

He crossed Gilead, a manasseur, and passed through mispair of Gilead, And from there, he advanced against the ammonites. First 32, then Jesna went out to fight the ammonites, and the lord gave them into his hands, and he devastated 20 towns and so forth. So there's victory. There's victory. But do you see the surprise?

It didn't go to wash straight away. Now that's the end of the story. It's brilliant, isn't it? If that was the end of the story, we'd be sort of quite happy, wouldn't we? And I can apply that.

The god calls people from scoundrelism to victorious savior, and it's wonderful, despised and rejected, by his people, brought into victory, lord Jesus Christ, despised and rejected, you know, fantastic lessons and all of that. But we've got this fourth point, and it's shocking. It's absolutely shocking. Vow, I've called it. Shocking words again.

Verse 29, then the spirit of the lord came on Jesna. He crossed Gilead and Vanessa passed through mispar of Gilead and from there, he advanced against the ammonites and Jeff and Jeff the maid of vow to the lord. Why? Why? Why?

You've just been filled with the spirit of god. And just the maid of Val, what are you doing, man? And now listen to the shocking vow. If you give, what are you talking about if you give? If you give the if you give the ammonites into my hands, Whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the ammonites will be the lords, and I'll sacrifice it as a burnt offering.

Why are you saying that? The spirit of the lords come upon you. You're a great warrior. He's raised you up. You understand scoundrels, You understand history and theology, and you understand how to go into battle?

You've raised men up to to to you've trained men up to go into battle with you. What are you doing? This is a shocking statement. This is a total misunderstanding of who god is. This is a pagans view of god.

God, do this for me, and I'll do that for you. Tip for tat. That's not the god of the Bible. That's not the god that brought you to himself. Why are you doing this?

This is exactly what I thought before I became a Christian. I got into massive trouble with the police. They were banging on the doors and asking questions, and I prayed, and I remember it. And I've actually got the little Bible upstairs, I think, where I said, god, get me off this, and I'll read 3 verses of the Bible a day. Yeah.

And I marked them off. I read them for about a week. I mean, that it's god saying, the best selling book in all the world. No one's reading it. Oh, yeah.

3 verses. I've got a bloke. We'll read 3 verses a day. That's a bargain. I'll get him off his prime.

Yeah? I mean, it's god that needy that he needs repaying. And, I mean, just think of the bad options anyway. Whatever comes through the door. Great.

It's like a it's like a lucky dip, isn't it? Well, if a slug came out, Yeah? What if a maggot crawled out? Brilliant. You'll get the maggot god.

Give me the Vicks. What are you talking about? This is paganism. This is this is treating god like he's a bank. Loan me victory, and I'll pay you back a sacrifice whatever comes through the door whatever it is.

This is treating god as a drinks machine. I'll put the money in. You give me the right drink, except the other way around. It's unrealistic. It's rash.

It's pagan. It's here is a man that seems to know god, and yet we all know this is utterly stupid. And when you read that, you know something bad's going to happen, don't you? It's obvious that his devoted daughter would come out. And that's what happens.

Look at verse 34, when Gesta returned home in misfire. Who should come out to meet him, but his daughter dancing to the sound of tambourines. Victory, dad. Victory. Dad.

Oh, well done, dad. She was an only child, except for her, he had neither son nor daughter, when he saw her. Dad victory. I've got the Amerina out when he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, oh, no. My daughter.

You've brought me down, and I'm devastated I made a vow to the lord that I cannot break. It leaves an utterly bad taste to the whole story, isn't it? I mean, when we read this in in, media fast. Ev everybody, I mean, when we were around the table, it's like, oh, god. We've it's so hard to pray.

Victory. Snashed away from his heart. And we're meant to get that sadness. We're meant to feel the shock of that statement. I've made a vow to the lord that I cannot break.

You see the shock of that statement? He tories go, oh, no, my daughter. What a shocking statement? If he'd known god and read the scriptures, He knows god hates human sacrifices and doesn't allow you if you're gonna read deuteronomy 12 and you get it as clear as a bell. And not only that, god would not hold him to that vow, which is ungodly and pagan.

I mean, he needs to, as we were seeing this morning, to say sorry and repent of making such a rash vow. He shouldn't do that. He needs to repent, but not to kill her. The sanctity of life overrides. The stupid cheap Pagan vow he made to the real god.

RASH promises. Without thinking. They can ruin our families. Aren't they? We do them in the name of god.

As Geoffja rode out the victory, you're saying, I really wanna win this battle. I'll do anything to win the battle. Why would you say that? The lord was with him anyway. And I think we're meant to feel that.

I think we're meant to feel Although it's different, we're meant to feel that emotion of the cost. The cost to Jethner for victory. We're meant to feel that emotion. That and it's that same emotion we're meant to feel of the cost to the father of the lord Jesus Christ sending his son. He did it righteously.

He didn't break the laws, of course. But there's that there's that shocking sense that victory comes through massive cost. I think we're meant to feel that. Well, we're nearly done. What is the time?

Oh gosh. I'm sorry. Just 1 more point, and I want I want to make this point. The fifth point and the fifth shocking statement comes in chapter 12. We didn't read it, and I'm not gonna read it because it's too long, but I think the fifth statement is false brothers.

And you get it in chapter 12 verse 1. The the, ephraimite They're they're they're brothers. They're not foreign. The ephraimites, force, forces were called out and they crossed over the Safon, and they said to Jetha, Jethna, why did you go and fight the ammonites without calling us to go with you We are going to burn down your house over your head. Right.

That's that's a fairly shocking thing. He's just lost his daughter. He's won the victory. And the outcome these brothers. These are part of the whole people of god.

They're supposed to be brothers. They come out and they say, You went to fight without us. You never called us. Now, they'd done this, if you remember, back with Gideon. They moaned at Gidyan.

You went to fight and you didn't call us. Now, it's not true. They did call them, but they didn't go. They just didn't go. Right?

So they're lying here. They didn't go. They didn't go and help. Yeah. Now Gideon, he flatters them and says all kinds of nice things because they're getting all sort of stroppy.

Jessner says, stop this. You didn't come. Look what he says in verse 2. Jessner answered, I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the ammonites. And though I called, you did not save me out of their hands.

When I saw that you wouldn't help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the ammonites, and the lord gave me the victory over them. Now why have you come out today to fight me? Here's a group of people that are supposed to be the people of god moaning at him for having a victory because they didn't help, and they didn't wanna help. And now they're saying we wanna kill you. It's extraordinary.

They threaten him. Now who are these people? You get them in every church. They always rewrite the narrative. They're always rewriting narratives.

And they're always whinging, but they never do anything, except whinge. That's what they're doing. They whinge and whinge and whinge. Yeah. And they complain.

We didn't we weren't part of this thing. What's well, you didn't help? Now with Gideon, he flatters them. With jester, he kills 42000 of them. He's had enough.

Winges will be executed is my point. There's lots of lessons here, and I must finish. There's pictures of Christ, there's pictures and emotions of Christ, shocking statements about leadership, shocking statements around and shocking false brothers that winch, and in the end are taken away from the people of god. Let's, pray our hand over to Phil.


Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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