1 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute.
2 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.”
3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a group of adventurers gathered around him and followed him.
4 Some time later, when the Ammonites made war on Israel,
5 the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob.
6 “Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.”
7 Jephthah 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?”
8 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 our head over all who live in Gilead.”
9 Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the LORD gives them to me-will I really be your head?”
10 The elders of Gilead replied, “The LORD is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.”
11 So Jephthah went 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 Mizpah.
Rejected by Man, Accepted by God!
The Bible has many examples of people who were pressed low by rejection, and yet they bounced back to achieve great heights in life. Their stories bring hope, inspiration and motivation.
You are not alone in your suffering. You can overcome your pain and turn it into your gain. The greater the rejection, the greater the rebound in the Lord! Man may have rejected you, but God has accepted you!
Jephthah was such a person. He was born in a tragic family circumstances. His father went to a Canaanite prostitute and she became pregnant. Was it her choice or his choice to keep the baby? We don’t know. But Jephthah was born, and his father took him home.
You can well imagine how the rest of the family viewed him. His father’s wife must have looked upon him with anger and hatred. Her attitude was passed on to her children. As far as they were concerned, he was a shame, he didn’t belong, he wasn’t even supposed to be born! He must have grew up a lonely boy, rejected, looked down upon.
Once the father passed away, they drove him out of the house. They didn’t want him to have any share in the father’s inheritance. No doubt, he must have gone to the city elders for help. But they rejected him too.
So he fled to a place called Tob, which was located east of the Jordan River in Syria. Why did he have to flee? What wrong has he done? What crime has he committed? It was the sin of his father, no fault of his, but he became a reject, an outcast, a misfit.
Is there hope and future for such a man like Jephthah? Thank God, YES there is hope!
Jephthah became the Commander and Chief over his people, including the brothers who threw him out of the house.
How did he do it? What can we learn from him?
I. Face the Fact of Man’s Rejection
Everyone faces rejection at some point in life. From the womb to the tomb, no one is exempted from rejection.
Maybe it’s because of our look: we’re too tall or too short, too thin or too fat, too dark or too pale.
Maybe it’s because of not enough: not wealthy enough, not educated enough, not talented enough, not sociable enough.
Even a rich tycoon like billionaire Donald Trump faces rejection. He won the presidency in America, but he lost the popular vote, meaning that slightly more than half of the Americans rejected him. In fact, right after the voting result was released, thousands of voters took to the street in riot, with sign boards in their hand saying, “Not Our President!”
Some may say, “Who cares, he won anyway.” Just remember, it is a lot easier to talk about other’s experience than your own.
Rejection never tastes well. It hurts and it hurts so bad, so deeply. It doesn’t have to be the whole world against you, it may be just one person who rejected you, but it can feel like it’s the end of the world.
Rejection makes you feel like you are not loved, not wanted, not valued.
The more you dwell upon the rejection, the more it hurts you and it can eventually lead to self-rejection. Many times the rejection does 50 percent of the damage and we do the other 50 percent of the damage.
So how do you overcome rejection? Accept it! Face the fact that you can’t please everybody, you will get rejected by someone, sometimes, somehow.
Realize that most of the time it’s not your fault. Nothing wrong to be rejected. In fact, something may be wrong if you are always accepted. You may have surrounded yourself with people who are insincere and only want to flatter you. In front of you they may say good things, but behind your back they may be cursing you.
Just remember, perfect and holy as the Lord Jesus is, yet He is still being rejected by many people.
So face it, accept it, and get over it!
II. Focus on Your Own Reaction
You can’t change other people; neither can you force them to like you.
You can’t control their rejection of you, but you can control your reaction to them.
Don’t let anger and bitterness get the better of you.
Don’t allow your self-esteem and confidence to be beat up and torn down.
Don’t compromise your values and character to avoid rejection and gain acceptance.
Do what you can to grow, to develop, to excel in your God-given gifts and talents.
Move in the direction of your dreams and destiny, not in the direction of people-pleasing.
Judges 11:1 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute.
Jephthah was bullied from young, he had to fight to survive. He became a mighty warrior. His reputation and leadership grew, so much so people were attracted to follow him.
Judges 11:3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a group of adventurers gathered around him and followed him.
These are worthless fellows, scoundrels, good-for-nothing people. But under Jephthah they became mighty warriors too.
Some time later, when the Ammonites made war on Israel, the elders came to Jephthah asking him to be their commander.
At one point they asked him to leave, now they asked to lead!
They had no use for him when things were going well, but when problems arose, they ran to him for help.
It’s sad that there are still those who do that today – not only to people, but to God!
Jephthah worked on his reaction, his heart attitude, his talents and strengths. When opportunity came, he was ready for it.
The reject became the ruler!
III. Faith in God’s Restoration
Ultimately, it was faith in God that restored Jephthah.
When Jephthah sent messages to the Ammonite king, he showed great knowledge of Israel’s history and the Word of God. He was almost quoting word for word from Number 21.
Judges 11:29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah.
Judges 11:32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands.
Rejected by man, but accepted, chosen, and greatly used by God!
Other rejects in the Bible: Joseph was betrayed and sold by his brothers, yet he was chosen by God to become the Prime Minister of Egypt in order to save his family and world from famine.
David was overlooked by his own father, yet he was chosen by God to be king over Israel and became the ancestor of the Messiah.
Around 1500 Michelangelo was asked by the consuls of the Board to complete an unfinished project begun in 1464 by Agostino di Duccio and later carried on by Antonio Rossellino in 1475. Both sculptors had in the end rejected an enormous block of marble due to the presence of too many “taroli”, or imperfections, which may have threatened the stability of such a huge statue. This block of marble of exceptional dimensions remained therefore neglected for 25 years, lying within the courtyard of the Opera del Duomo (Vestry Board). After working on it for 3 years, the astonishing Renaissance sculpture was created. It is a 14.0 ft marble statue depicting the Biblical hero David, represented as a standing male nude.
Psalm 118:22-23 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. 23 This is the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.
God is still looking for rejects to turn into His masterpiece!
There is a warning here against making rash vow before the Lord.
Judges 11:30-31 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 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.”
36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites.
37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”
38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and the girls went into the hills and wept because she would never marry.
39 After the two 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 custom
40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.
It’s more likely that Jephthah offered his daughter to serve the Lord in the tabernacle. She remained single for the rest of her life.
She was a beautiful picture of obedience, submission and devotion.
Jephthah offered his daughter to the true God, whereas many parents today offered their children to the false gods of prosperity and success!
Judges 12:7 Jephthah led Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died, and was buried in a town in Gilead.
Hebrews 11:32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets
Rejected by man, accepted by God; forgotten by man, remembered by God!