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Judges: Faithful God — Broken People: Be Careful What You Vow

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Jephthah had much to overcome in his life. He came from a dysfunctional family from which he was evicted; yet through his natural leadership skills he became a sought-after warrior. His choices sometimes reflected wisdom, sometimes foolishness. However, even when it meant great personal agony, he remained a man who valued truth and integrity over compromise.

Notes & Transcripts
Text:
Text:
Theme: Jephthah had much to overcome in his life. He came from a dysfunctional family from which he was evicted; yet through his natural leadership skills he became a sought-after warrior. His choices sometimes reflected wisdom, sometimes foolishness. However, even when it meant great personal agony, he remained a man who valued truth and integrity over compromise.
Theme: Jephthah had much to overcome in his life. He came from a dysfunctional family from which he was evicted; yet through his natural leadership skills he became a sought-after warrior. His choices sometimes reflected wisdom, sometimes foolishness. However, even when it meant great personal agony, he remained a man who valued truth and integrity over compromise.
Date: 08/20/17 File name: Judges_11.wpd ID Number:
Date: 08/20/17 File name: Judges_11.wpd ID Number:
The story of Jephthah is one of the more interesting — and troubling — stories in all of the Bible. His appearance in presents an interesting conundrum for the Bible student.
The story of Jephthah is one of the more interesting — and troubling — stories in all of the Bible. His appearance in presents an interesting conundrum for the Bible student.
“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets,” (, NIV84)
Why did the author of Hebrews highlight Jephthah as an example of faith to be emulated when he seems to have offered his daughter as a human sacrifice? In short, what did the author see in Jephthah’s story that merited his inclusion in the all-star list of faith heroes found in ?
His story is found in . In short, Israel had been unfaithful yet again and, thus, had fallen under the abusive dominion of the Philistines and Ammonites for 18 arduous years (10:6-9). During an Ammonite attack, the people of Israel turn in repentance to God, and seek His blessing. God seems to question how genuine the repentance is, but the people make significant reforms that reveals the genuineness of their repentance, and we’re told that “[God] could bear Israel’s misery no longer” — God is going to act. Battle lines are formed, and war appears about to erupt (). “The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will launch the attack against the Ammonites will be the head of all those living in Gilead.”” (, NIV84). It is in this setting that Jephthah appears in the story.
Before we begin his actual story, let me give you some of the highlights of the story ...
1. This is the only cycle containing dialogue between God and His people.
2. This is the first confession of sin we see from Israel in the Book of Judges.
3. This is the only Judge recruited by men. He’s confirmed by God, but sought out by men.
4. This is the Judge with the most dysfunctional family background.
5. This is the only Judge who tried to use diplomacy to avert armed conflict.
6. Jephthah used the personal name for God (Yahweh) more than any other Judge.
7. Following Jephthah’s military victory his judgeship was the shortest — only six years.
8. Finally, there is no mention of Israel being at “rest” during or after Jephthah’s judgeship.
His life is opened before us in five acts.

I. 1st, JEPHTHAH THE DISOWNED

I. 1st, JEPHTHAH THE DISOWNED
“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.” (, NIV84)
1. we are introduced to Jephthah as a mighty warrior — in biblical terms a high accolade
a. but he is a mighty warrior with a checked past
1) his father’s name is Gilead who fathers a son by an ordinary prostitute
2) the Hebrews had two words for prostitute —
a) one referred to a sacred sex worker who was part of pagan worship practices of Israel’s neighbors, and whom God had forbidden His people’s participation in (to be a Temple Prostitute was considered a respectable vocation among the pagans)
of Israel’s neighbors, and whom God had forbidden His people’s participation in (to be a Temple Prostitute was considered a respectable vocation among the pagans)
b) the other term referred to an ordinary prostitute or a loose woman
3) this is the kind of woman the text is referring to
b. even in our sexually liberated culture, bringing home a child you conceived by a prostitute would probably not be conducive to tranquility in the home
prostitute would probably not be conducive to tranquility in the home
2. Jephthah’s family experience must have been bitter
a. though he’s the oldest of Gilead’s children, when Gilead’s legitimate sons are old enough, and big enough to do so, they drive Jephthah out of the home
enough, and big enough to do so, they drive Jephthah out of the home
ILLUS. To get a picture of what it must have been like, think of the story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar.
Sarah and Hagar.
Sarah actually encourages her husband to sleep with Hagar who is Sarah’s personal slave. She’s trying to “help God out” so-to-speak in bringing about an heir for her husband. Hagar does conceive and were told that upon her announcement, “I’m pregnant” that Hagar begins to immediately despise her mistress. In return, Sarah begins to mistreat Hagar to the point where Hagar runs away. After meeting God in the desert and receiving promises from Him, she returns to camp. Soon Sarah conceives, and she gives birth to Isaac. Over the next several years, the tensions in the family become so sharp that Sarah issues an ultimatum to Abraham — get rid of Hagar and her son or else!
3. it’s obvious that there are similar tensions in the home of Gilead
a. when they are old enough to do to, his step-brothers drive him away so he’ll not receive any inheritance from their father
receive any inheritance from their father
4. Jephthah flees to the Land of Tob (or Tov)
a. this is an area south east of the Sea of Galilee
b. it is where, in time, he becomes a natural leader

II. 2nd, JEPHTHAH THE DESPERADO

“Some time later, when the Ammonites made war on Israel, 5 the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of “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.” (, NIV84)
1. in we read that Jephthah had surrounded himself with a group of men
a. the 1984 NIV calls them “adventurers” (I think that’s being overly kind)
b. the KJV refers to them as “vain men”
c. the ESV, and NASB, both translate the noun as “worthless fellows”
d. it is the 2011 edition of the NIV that probably gives us the best idea when it refers to these men as “a gang of scoundrels”
to these men as “a gang of scoundrels”
1) these are outcasts who become outlaws, pure and simple, and Jephthah is their leader
leader
2. it is here that he learns skills of leadership, audacity, negotiation, and combat
3. when the incursions of the Ammonites become more pressing, the elders of Gilead begin to look around for somebody to lead the troops
begin to look around for somebody to lead the troops
“ ... the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah. 18 The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will launch the attack against the Ammonites will be the head of all those living in Gilead.”” (, NIV84)
a. who do you turn to when the enemy is in camped just over the hill, and you need somebody with certain skills to do a tough job?
somebody with certain skills to do a tough job?
ILLUS. Did you see the 1967 American war movie “The Dirty Dozen”? It’s the story of a rebellious U.S. Army Major — played by Lee Marvin — who has a history of getting the tough jobs done. He is assigned a crucial mission that must be accomplished to prepare the way for the D-Day Invasion. The D-Day planners don’t choose the Col. with his crack troops. They choose the outcast, the rebel. In other words they choose a Jephthah. Marvin handpicks U.S. soldiers who are imprisoned for various crimes. He is to train a small band of the Army's worst convicts, and turn them into commandos to be sent on a virtual suicide mission. Those who survive the mission will be pardoned and returned to active duty at their former ranks. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you know they are indeed “a gang of scoundrels.”
a rebellious U.S. Army Major — played by Lee Marvin — who has a history of getting the tough jobs done. He is assigned a crucial mission that must be accomplished to prepare the way for the D-Day Invasion. The D-Day planners don’t choose the Col. with his crack troops. They choose the outcast, the rebel. In other words they choose a Jephthah. Marvin handpicks U.S. soldiers who are imprisoned for various crimes. He is to train a small band of the Army's worst convicts, and turn them into commandos to be sent on a virtual suicide mission. Those who survive the mission will be pardoned and returned to active duty at their former ranks. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you know they are indeed “a gang of scoundrels.”
b. when the elders of Gilead need somebody to do the hard job they turn to Jephthah who more than likely brings his “Dirty Dozen” with him
who more than likely brings his “Dirty Dozen” with him
4. in the negotiations that follow we see something of Jephthah’s bitterness over his treatment so long ago
4. in the negotiations that follow we see something of Jephthah’s bitterness over his treatment so long ago
treatment so long ago
a. we also see something of his personal ambitions
b. the elders of Gilead actually make the journey to the Land of Tob were Jephthah resides
resides
1) they ask him to come and “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites” (vs. 6)
(vs. 6)
2) now, back in we hear their original discussion “ ... whoever will take the lead in attacking the Ammonites will be head over all who live in Gilead.”
take the lead in attacking the Ammonites will be head over all who live in Gilead.”
3) no one among Gilead’s elders volunteers (it’s probably a long, embarrassing silence)
silence)
a) someone, however, speaks up and says, “I know a guy ... “ and these elders suddenly find themselves on a road trip to the Land of Tob
suddenly find themselves on a road trip to the Land of Tob
b) when they find Jephthah, they offer him an officer’s commission, but carefully neglect to offer him headship should he prevail
neglect to offer him headship should he prevail
c) Jephthah’s answer is “Why should I help you?”
“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.”” (, NIV84)
c. some of these men are obviously his step-brothers
1) the elders of Gilead — I’m sure after a quick huddle — then up the ante
“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.”” (, NIV84)
a) when they say they will make him “head over all who live in Gilead” they are telling Jephthah that they will restore him to a prominent social position among his people
telling Jephthah that they will restore him to a prominent social position among his people
b) in their “nevertheless” statement there is something of a recognition of their mistreatment of Jephthah so many years before
mistreatment of Jephthah so many years before
d. in vs. 9 we see that Jephthah is a little dubious about their promise, but the elders of Gilead called down God as their witness, and Jephthah goes with them
of Gilead called down God as their witness, and Jephthah goes with them
5. not only do they keep their promise to make him “head over all who live in Gilead”, but they also make him commander of the Army
they also make him commander of the Army

III. 3rd, JEPHTHAH THE DIPLOMAT

1. it is here that Jephthah surprises us
a. instead of organizing his troops and launching an immediate attack against the Ammonites, he first attempts diplomacy to avert armed conflict
Ammonites, he first attempts diplomacy to avert armed conflict
1) he is the only Judge of Israel who ever to attempts using diplomacy with Israel’s enemies
enemies
2. here is a synopsis of the negotiations …
Jephthah sends messengers to the Ammonite king, asking him why he was attacking them. The king replied that Israel was occupying his land and demanded that it be returned to him. Vacate or else.
• Jephthah sent his messengers back to Ammon to explain that when the Israelites came out of Egypt they had not taken any land from Moab or Ammon. They had not even entered the territory of Moab. Instead, they had fought against Sihon, king of the Amorites, defeated him, and had taken possession of his territory.
Jephthah sent his messengers back to Ammon to explain that when the Israelites came out of Egypt they had not taken any land from Moab or Ammon. They had not even entered the territory of Moab. Instead, they had fought against Sihon, king of the Amorites, defeated him, and had taken possession of his territory.
• Furthermore, for about 300 years, the Israelites had inhabited the land and not once during that entire time had the Ammonites tried to recover it. Therefore, Jephthah could not see any justification for Ammon’s demands.
Furthermore, for about 300 years, the Israelites had inhabited the land and not once during that entire time had the Ammonites tried to recover it. Therefore, Jephthah could not see any justification for Ammon’s demands.
b. Jephthah tells the Ammonite king essentially check your history, and check your chronology, because you’re wrong on both counts
chronology, because you’re wrong on both counts
“I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the LORD, the Judge, decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.”” (, NIV84)
c. unfortunately the negotiations break down, and the king of Ammon rejects the arguments and continues his aggression
arguments and continues his aggression
3. seeing that the crisis could not be solved by peaceful means, Jephthah marched with his army toward the Ammonites
his army toward the Ammonites

IV. 4th, JEPHTHAH THE DEFENDER

“Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 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.” 32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.” (, NIV84)
1. armed conflict cannot be avoided, the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah
a. before he heads into battle, however, Jephthah makes a vow that, if you know the story, comes back to haunt him
story, comes back to haunt him
b. we will come back to that part of the story in a moment
2. during the ensuing battle, the Ammonites are routed, Israel subdues Ammon, and devastates the heart of the Ammonite kingdom by destroying 20 towns and cities
devastates the heart of the Ammonite kingdom by destroying 20 towns and cities
ILLUS. After the Battle of Zela in 47 B.C. Julius Caesar send his legendary words to the Roman Senate: Veni, Vidi, Vici — “I came, I saw, I conquered. In contrast, Sobieski, king of Poland in the late 17th century, was the man who saved central Europe from invading armies of the Turks in 1683. His rescue of Vienna was one of the decisive battles in European history. In announcing his victory the king paraphrased the famous words of Caesar by saying, “I Came: I Saw: God Conquered.”
Roman Senate: Veni, Vidi, Vici — “I came, I saw, I conquered. In contrast, Sobieski, king of Poland in the late 17th century, was the man who saved central Europe from invading armies of the Turks in 1683. His rescue of Vienna was one of the decisive battles in European history. In announcing his victory the king paraphrased the famous words of Caesar by saying, “I Came: I Saw: God Conquered.”
a. this was Jephthah’s attitude
b. it is the Lord who enabled him, who have him the victory, and God alone who is to be praised
be praised
3. you would think that all of Israel would rejoice at the defeat of the Ammonite kingdom — a people who had been a thorn in their side for 18 years
— a people who had been a thorn in their side for 18 years
a. you would be wrong
4. in Judges, chapter 12 we have the story of the Ephraimites who are all bent out of shape that Jephthah did not include them in the fight
shape that Jephthah did not include them in the fight
a. if you remember, we saw something very similar back to the story of Gideon
“Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” And they criticized him sharply.” (, NIV84)
1) you gotta wonder about folks who are always ticked off about not being part of the fight
the fight
b. as with Gideon the Ephraimites go whining to Jephthah complaining that he did not involve them in the battle against the Ammonites
involve them in the battle against the Ammonites
1) we can only assume they’re upset because it means that they missed out on gathering the “spoils of war”
gathering the “spoils of war”
2) the Ephraimites expected to be stroked, soothed, and mollified
c. they are so embittered that they threatened to burn Jephthah’s house down around his head
his head
1) Gideon the farmer turned Minute-man is more than willing to mollify them
2) Jephthah, the former brigand, and hardened soldier is not
d. Jephthah’s response is terse () — “I called you to be part of Israel’s defense, but you ignored me. When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took the Army that I had, confronted the Ammonites, and defeated them with the help of the Lord. Now why are you so ticked off about that?”
defense, but you ignored me. When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took the Army that I had, confronted the Ammonites, and defeated them with the help of the Lord. Now why are you so ticked off about that?”
5. the result is a brief, but bloody Civil War between the Gileadites, who were of the tribe of Manasseh, the Ephraimites from the tribe of Ephraim
tribe of Manasseh, the Ephraimites from the tribe of Ephraim
a. 42,000 Ephraimites are killed, almost wiping out the entire tribe
6. we then arrive at the end of the story — “Jephthah led Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died, and was buried in a town in Gilead.” (, NIV84)
Jephthah the Gileadite died, and was buried in a town in Gilead.” (, NIV84)
a. Jephthah ruled only six years before he died — the shortest of all the Judges

V. 5th, JEPHTHAH THE DADDY

“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.”” (, NIV84)
“When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break.” 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.” (, NIV84)
• “When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break.” 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.” (, NIV84)
1. when it comes to the story of Jephthah, this is the part of the story that virtually everyone struggles with
everyone struggles with
a. Jephthah was now accepted by his countrymen, successful by any criterion, flush from victory, and ready to return to life of respect and responsibility as the “head” over God’s people
from victory, and ready to return to life of respect and responsibility as the “head” over God’s people
b. however, as he returns to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter
but his daughter
1) the text makes it clear that she was his only child
2. for things are clear about Jephthah’s only child
a. 1st, she had a deep sense of respect for her father and his integrity
b. 2nd, she had a sense of responsibility
c. 3rd, she shared her father’s reverence for the Lord
d. 4th, she loved her father
1) Jephthah’s daughter seems willing to sacrifice herself based on two premises
a) you promised the Lord, and
b) the Lord granted victory
““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.” (, NIV84)
3. Jephthah‘s daughter makes only one request… “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.”” (, NIV84)
said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”” (, NIV84)
a. she literally says, “ ... that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.”” (, ESV)
my virginity, I and my companions.”” (, ESV)
b. from that event a tradition developed where young girls would commemorate the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter by going into the wilderness four days
sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter by going into the wilderness four days
4. Jephthah’s unbreakable vow has been the cause of much speculation, and is the top candidate for the most controversial interpretive problem in the Book of Judges
candidate for the most controversial interpretive problem in the Book of Judges
a. Jephthah “sacrificed” his daughter, but does that mean he killed his daughter or that he “sacrificed her future” by giving her over to Tabernacle service?
that he “sacrificed her future” by giving her over to Tabernacle service?
b. when he sacrificed his daughter might it mean that he simply separated her unto the Lord as a “living sacrifice” much as Hannah did when she gave her son Samuel to the Lord to be raised by the High Priest Eli
the Lord as a “living sacrifice” much as Hannah did when she gave her son Samuel to the Lord to be raised by the High Priest Eli
5. strong arguments go both ways, but the bottom line is that we do not know
a. I tend to believe the latter rather than the former, not so much because of what Christian theologians have written, but because of what Jewish theologians have written
Christian theologians have written, but because of what Jewish theologians have written
b. one of the principal reasons for believing that Jephthah allowed his daughter to live is found in an interpretation of vs. 31 that virtually all Jewish scholars agree on
is found in an interpretation of vs. 31 that virtually all Jewish scholars agree on
“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.”” (, NIV84)
1) the conjunction and that connects the two sections of the vow is the Hebrew word vav and can also be translated as or, and makes the verse read quite differently
word vav and can also be translated as or, and makes the verse read quite differently
“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, or I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.””
2) in this translation of the verse Jephthah has the option of 1) sanctifying whatever comes out of his house to the Lord or 2) sacrificing whatever comes out of his house to the Lord
whatever comes out of his house to the Lord or 2) sacrificing whatever comes out of his house to the Lord
3) Jewish scholars take it that Jephthah dedicated her to the Lord, that she went to work at the Tabernacle, and that she remained a virgin all of her life
work at the Tabernacle, and that she remained a virgin all of her life

VI. LESSONS

1. Our heros are not perfect.
a. in fact, sometimes they are seriously flawed
1) a prostitute’s son leading a gang in criminal behavior would not seem to be a likely for God to use in His service
for God to use in His service
2) certainly some better candidates must have been available
3) in the world’s eyes, leaders are people who have an Ivy League or Oxbridge pedigree, strong family background (and thus emotional health), and no police record!
pedigree, strong family background (and thus emotional health), and no police record!
b. boy does this have relevance right now!
1) what did the author of Hebrews see in Jephthah's story that merited his inclusion in the all-star list of faith heroes found in ?
the all-star list of faith heroes found in ?
2) but, that beg the question: Why did the author of Hebrews include any number of these name?
these name?
Gideon? A Judge who delivers his people, but then allows them to fall back into
idolatry.
Samson? A hedonistic playboy who only redeems himself with one last glorious act
• Samson? A hedonistic playboy who only redeems himself with one last glorious act
of self-sacrifice.
David? An adulterer and murder.
• David? An adulterer and murder.
c. God humbles those whom He intends to use
1) He humbled Joseph, He humbled Moses, and He humbled David
2) our Lord humbled Himself
a) He is “despised and rejected of men.” He is the “Stone which the builders rejected,” but which was made the head of the corner. His enemies said, “We will not have this Man reign over us.” Yet God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every name.
rejected,” but which was made the head of the corner. His enemies said, “We will not have this Man reign over us.” Yet God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every name.
2. Clearly, we need to be careful with our words.
a. once said, they cannot be unsaid. We need to pray, with the psalmist, that God would “set a guard over my mouth” ().
“set a guard over my mouth” ().
3. We really do need to learn to turn the other cheek. 42,000 fellow Israelites die because words escalated into a fight
words escalated into a fight
a. if we spent as much time pursuing unity and overlooking insults within our churches as we do seeking to remain on good terms with the world, our communities would be far less divided and far more loving
as we do seeking to remain on good terms with the world, our communities would be far less divided and far more loving
b. we need to ask:
Where am I too quick to judge my fellow Christians?
• What differences within Christianity do I use as opportunities to look down on others?
What differences within Christianity do I use as opportunities to look down on others?
• Who am I refusing to forgive, relishing deep down the opportunity to shun them?
Who am I refusing to forgive, relishing deep down the opportunity to shun them?
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