We say that the God having inspired Scripture is all about redemption, but it still surprises us when we see it. “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.” (Psalm 118:22 ESV). We know it, we’ve read it, but it still surprises us when we stumble over it in Scripture.
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot. And Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 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.” 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. It came about after a while that the sons of Ammon fought against Israel. When the sons of Ammon fought against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob; (Judges 11:1-5 NASB)
Does anyone else see David’s story here? Not exactly, but the “exiled warrior” motif seems similar. But what else should be similar is the rejection and redemption cycle. The brothers of Jephthah exile him, as David was exiled by Saul. Both are wronged by those who should have loved and supported them. But it’s the kind of people who come around them, those disheartened and considered worthless. Again with the motif of marginalized warriors.
But both show character, Jephthah, and, later, David both are examples of faith. Both suffer tragedy. Yet both stand, and both are faithful through the tragedy. And, please keep that in mind, that both are faithful, even in tragedy. We make much of David’s failure with Bathsheba, but he also suffers rejection and exile before, and still remains faithful. Suffering doesn’t always come as a punishment. Sometimes suffering just comes, and it becomes a test of our faithfulness.
In both instances, Jephthah and David, they remained faithful in exile. Yahweh sees, and approves of them, eventually using them to lead His people. The redemption part isn’t to glory and fame, as much as redemption to the purposes of Yahweh. He uses them in His plans, these who the people rejected. He changes the course of His people using the ones in whom they saw no value.
Here’s my takeaway: 1) If you’ve been rejected by people, take heart. And 2) if you’ve rejected people, take care you see them as their Creator sees them. There are those Yahweh rejected, but there are far more who were rejected by people only to be redeemed by Yahweh. We need to be careful we see people and their value as Yahweh sees them. This takes a sense of our Master found only in learning His character from Scripture and time with Him in prayer. There’s no short cut.
Well, that’s my simple view this morning. I could probably work up some more complex application, but, why cloud what seems so clear?
What do you see through your knothole of our Master?