After Jephthah received victory over the Ammonites, he was approached by the people of Ephraim (one of the twelve tribes of Israel). The asked him why they did not call upon them to help with their enemy. Jephthah responded, “I summoned you at the beginning of the dispute, but you refused to come! You failed to help us in out struggle against Ammon. So when I realized you weren’t coming, I risked my life and went to battle without you, and the Lord gave me victory over the Ammonites. So why have you now come to fight me?” (12:2-3, NLT). This encounter turned into a war among the two groups of Israelites. Jephthah once again became victorious, but at the cost of 42,000 Ephraimite lives. After Jephthah’s death, Ibzan became Judge. Afterwards Elon became Judge. Than after his death, Abdon became Judge.
Have you ever had people question your motives, or why you did something? Even to the point where you begin to doubt yourself? Well I certainly have. It’s not a great feeling. This is what the Ephraimites were doing to Zephthah. But we can take a lesson on how Zephthah handled the situation. I’m not saying we should go to war with people over this, but he gave us a good example to live by.
Sometimes we simply need help. So what do you do when you need help? You ask. This gives people the opportunity to either be apart of what you are doing or not. The problem always comes with success though. When things start going well, or we are recognized for our achievements, we never run out of people offering to help. People always want to help when they can receive some positive views on their reputation, but don’t want to take risks when the future seems uncertain or unfavorable.
The last place is where God likes to put us. He loves to ask us to do things where we can’t see the outcome. I think that this places us in a place of dread or fear. Things will be risky and they may seem unfavorable. I think of the Apostles in the book of Acts. Jesus told them to go and make disciples, and off they went. But I’m sure each one of them had a certain fear for their lives. Especially Paul. He knew first hand exactly how far the Jews were willing to go to put a stop to the followers of Christ.
But how do we deal with these “glory seekers”? If we follow Zephthah’s example, the answer is quite simple. Our task/goal has not changed from the beginning, so why do they want to help now? They want to look good. We have to call each other out when we are not seeking to glorify God. If that is the true reason for the new offer of help, you will know.
Is God asking you to help someone today? Or maybe he’s asking you to take on a whole new venture, and wants you to seek help. So let’s spend some time in prayer today, to discern God’s direction for our lives; how we can help glorify Him, or new ways we can bring Him glory.
Also in this series
- Just a Bit of History (Judges 1)
- The Testing of Israel (Judges 2)
- We Need God to Succeed (Judges 3)
- Make Your Enemy Flee (Judges 4)
- Being Thankful (Judges 5)
- Staring Down the Mob (Judges 6)
- We Don’t Need More (Judges 7)
- Are You Obeying (Judges 8)
- Are You Ambitions? (Judges 9)
- Remaining Faithful (Judges 10)
- It Takes Sacrifice (Judges 11)
Psalms to Pray: Psalm 66-67
UPDATE I forgot to mention this when I originally made this post. Since today is Shine a Light on Slavery Day I suggest going to this site and seeing if you can get involve to help stop slavery in the world! http://www.enditmovement.com/