Judges 12, Consider What You Are Known For
1. Are You Known For Causing Trouble? (v1-4)
2. Are You Known For Rough Justice? (v5-7)
3. Are You Known For Faithfulness? (v8-15)
4. Are You Known For Love? (v5-6)
Judges 12, Consider What You Are Known For
Judges 12, Consider What You Are Known For
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Well here in judges chapter 12, once again I would say it's a different kind of passage and therefore tonight as we look through this, it's a little bit of a different kind of message.
It's one of the things that happens when we go through the scriptures as we do.
I've mentioned it a few times, but on Wednesday nights.
My practice is to teach through the passage, or at least a portion of the the the passage that we read today in going through the Bible in three years.
And that is one of those things that is good for us, because it causes us to perhaps spend some time on passages that we would otherwise kind of just gloss over, skip over, avoid.
Some things I wouldn't normally talk about unless the pattern and course of the scriptures really kind of forced me and compelled me to talk about those things, and so that's the case tonight.
It's a different kind of passage, different kind of message, and interesting things for us to consider.
Tonight now as you consider this chapter and even the surrounding chapters and the chapters of Samson that we'll look at in the coming week, it's important to remember that the context in which all of these things are happening is that Israel is in a declining spiritual state.
They are doing things their own way, living according there.
To their own desires, they're they're not seeking the Lord for the most part, and as they rebel against the Lord, they experience judgment and oppression and and as they cry out to the Lord, God gives Deliverance.
But at the same time, we recognize that there's not a real revival that happens because as soon as the judge is gone, then the people revert to and return to their sinful practices and idolatry that they were engaged in before the judge was raised up.
And so we're looking at a people who are.
On the form of it following.
God, and in many ways practicing religious things and and they have a connection to God.
But at the same time their hearts not completely sold out for the Lord.
And So what we have as a result now is interesting, occasions, interesting situations, kind of weird in challenging passages for us to consider because.
What happens in our life when we are not fully surrendered to and submitted to the Lord is really complicated.
Issues that sin brings up.
Out and complex things and questionable decisions.
And ferocious and fierce anger and wrath.
And all of those kinds of things that come with The Walking in the flesh in the midst of trying to walk in the spirit from time to time.
And so there's some things for us to consider as we look at this.
The context helps us to understand this is not a people who are sold out to God, and so even though the leaders are raised up by God and even though they call out to the Lord, there's still lots of areas where they are not submitted to God and need for God to do a transforming work in their lives.
Well, as we look at Chapter 12 this evening, I've titled the Message Consider what you are known for.
Consider what you are known for.
And so as we look at Jephthah tonight, as we look at the few judges that follow him at the end of the chapter, the thing that I would ask us to consider is.
Looking at this as looking at it in a mirror and considering what do these things.
Prompt us to consider in our own hearts and in our own lives, and is there some things, perhaps that we might see more of a reflection in these things than we would desire, and then we would normally care to admit to.
But as we look at these scriptures, these reflections, perhaps the Lord wants to address.
Some of those things and and to cause us to consider our nature, our character and how well we represent him.
And so tonight I would encourage you to consider what you are known.
4 four points.
Four things that we can consider looking through this chapter tonight.
The first one is found here in verses one through 4.
I would ask the question, are you known for causing trouble?
Consider what you're known for.
Ask yourself the question.
Are you known for causing trouble?
Verse one again says then the men of Ephraim gathered together, crossed over towards Aften, and said to jephthah, why did you cross over to fight against the people of Ammon and did not call us to go with you?
We will burn your house down on you with fire.
Here I would suggest to you the ether.
Mites are known for causing trouble.
We're jumping into the account.
It really begins back in Chapter 11, with Jephthah being raised up as a judge and being used by the Lord to deliver the gileadites from the people of Yemen.
Now the Gilead Heights that are referred to throughout the chapters here.
These are those who.
Inhabited the east side of the promised land, across from the Jordan River.
You remember, as they were going to head into the promised land, being led by Moses the three tribes said, hey Moses, we want to stay on this side of the Jordan, and Melissa said OK crossover conquer the rest of the territory with your brothers, and then when all that's done.
Then you can crossover back and inhabit this territory, and that will be your inheritance and so that side of the Jordan River.
The east side is known, or at least a portion of it is known as the land of Gilead, and so even though the three tribes Reuben, Gad, Manasseh.
Stayed there and inhabited there.
The area became known as Gilead and so the people became known as Gileadites and so they're on that side of the Jordan River.
That's where jephthah is.
That's where he is a judge and bringing those to the people now Eve from on the other side or on the other hand.
Is on the other side of the Jordan River, they're on the West side, and so their land is there.
And So what?
What's happening here is they crossover the Jordan rib.
Over to the other side, to now come and confront Jephthah after this victory that happens in Chapter 11.
And so it's the kind of continuation of the accounts there in judges Chapter 11.
Well, what we see here though is there's a confrontation the men of Ephraim are upset and they're coming to really start a fight.
They're coming with a threat and a real attack against Jephthah, so you can see that saying we will burn.
In your house, down on you with fire, and so they're threatening very clearly to kill Jephthah and his family there right then and there as they attack him.
Now as we look at this and consider the idea that Ephraim they're a tribe of Israel, right?
The children of God in that sense, and yet here they are behaving in this way and attacking jephthah to this degree.
Now as we look at these things and consider them, I think of course it's not very surprising for us.
If we were to learn that there are sometimes troublemakers amongst God people, we can look at the ether mites and recognize that is something that has been around for some time and still exists amongst us today.
Now one of the reasons why I'm classifying the ether.
Fights this way is because just a couple chapters earlier they did something similar to Gideon.
You might remember in judges chapter 8.
After Gideon is in the midst of his battle with the Midianites.
In judges Chapter 8, verse one, it says the men of Ephraim said to him, why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?
And so they reprimanded him sharply.
Now Gideon in response to that.
Followed the proverb.
A gentle answer turns away wrath.
He kind of flattered them.
He says, oh you guys are far greater than I am, and you caught the two princes.
And So what have I done in comparison to you?
And so he addressed them in a gentle way, even though their reprimand was undeserved and unjust.
Gideon responded gracefully graciously, and.
There was no conflict beyond that.
That kind of pacified them, but now they come back and they do this again, this time to jephthah, and again, as we consider these things, it's important to understand that those who are troublemakers.
They do exist first of all and and they exist because.
Where they continue to exist, they stick around because they're really good at sounding innocent.
And so they are are coming to jephthah.
And they're saying look like.
You did us wrong, and so we're here to correct that.
We're offended you treated us poorly.
You dis respected us.
And and so they're they're coming against him, but they're kind of cloaking it in somewhat spiritual language and in somewhat of a way that makes them look innocent that they are not really at fault here, but Jephthah.
That makes it clear that that's not the case.
In verse two and three he goes on to say my people and I were in a great struggle with the people of Yemen, and when I called you, you did not deliver me out of their hands.
So when I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the people of Ammon and the Lord delivered them into my hand.
Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me so they came over and they said, hey, you left us out?
And they're again claiming this innocence.
They're they're proclaiming that.
He did them wrong by not inviting them to the battle, but jephthah fires back and says no, no.
I called out to you guys.
And you didn't respond.
You're not speaking the truth here, you're trying to play the victim card when you're not the victim here, I called out to you.
You didn't answer.
You didn't have my back, so I took my life in my hands.
I took the risk myself and went out to fight against Amon and the Lord delivered them into my hand.
And so jephthah here comes and sets the record straight.
He doesn't just.
Bow down to their bullying and say, oh, I'm so sorry and kind of pacify them in a manner that like.
Instead, he says, no, let's set the record straight.
Right, Gideon, in a sense said hey, I only killed 135 thousand but you got these two Princess, you know what have I done in comparison to you? He's he's kind of exaggerating, right? And and pacifying them in a way that.
They there is no further conflict.
But he's not really setting them straight, right?
He's not putting them in their place.
But here Jephthah says no, I'm not going to be pushed around by you.
I'm not going to let you play this innocent game or this victim game, and you can kind of push this on me.
No listen, I called you guys.
I asked for your help.
You refused to help me and so I did it on my own but the Lord helped me and so now you're wrong.
In coming against me in this way.
So much so.
Verse 4 Jephthah.
They gathered together all the men of Gilead and fought against the front, and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim because they said, you gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the thermites and among the minisites.
And so here we get a little bit further clarification.
As Jephthah Jephthah, the holds the line and says no, that's not the story that you're declaring.
There is not the true story.
It's not the real story, it's the story that makes you sound innocent.
But it's not the truth.
Well, the way that they respond to that is they start to slander and.
Throw slurs at them saying you get Gilead Heights are fugitives of Ephraim.
Among the minisites you guys are are fugitives.
You're you're the castoffs, you're the rogues of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, and so now they start to insult them.
Because Jephthah is holding the line, he's not allowing them to get away with.
Their fake story that tries to put them in a good light as if they were innocent or victims.
In this whole thing, and Jephthah that says no.
So now he fights against.
I'm sorry, not against a minute.
He gathers the men of Gilead and he fights against the men of Ephraim.
As a judge.
It's interesting to wrestle with this a little bit, but you could understand that, Jephthah, that did the right thing here.
The ether mites come with a very serious threat.
They come to attack Jephthah LA and to execute him.
His family to burn his house down upon him like they come with a very serious threat. Now we're going to see as we go down in a couple verses that 42,000 die in this exchange in this battle.
When Ephraim came over, they didn't, you know?
Just send a couple messengers to say hey, you know we were really offended that you left us out.
You know they came over.
With an army intending to battle, and so Jephthah responds in kind and says no, I'm not bowing down to your bullying here.
I'm not going to cave in just because you're good at sounding innocent and playing the victim card.
No, I'm going to hold the line speak the truth.
And it's worth fighting for.
I'm going to fight for this.
This is really what happened and you guys are wicked in coming against me.
In this way.
And so the ephraimites are now held account.
They're trouble making.
They've tried this before with Gideon, and he was in the midst of a battle and they were able to kind of get away with.
Their behavior, but this time.
They encounter a different type of leader, Jephthah, that says no.
And perhaps it was right for Gideon to do what he did, and perhaps it was right for Jephthah to to do what he did at the right time at the right place.
The Lord held Ephraim accountable for their behavior.
Now again, I don't think it would be very surprising for us to learn that there are troublemakers amongst God people.
But it might be surprising for us to learn.
That we are the troublemakers, right?
Like it's not hard for us to imagine that there could be and that there is troublemakers amongst the body of Christ or amongst the the people of God.
What I would ask us to consider is.
Would you give God an opportunity to speak to you?
Maybe I am a troublemaker within the people of God.
Think about it this way.
Do troublemakers know they're troublemakers?
It's like do deceivers know that they are deceivers.
You know sometimes they do, but sometimes they don't.
They don't always know that they're troublemakers.
And so it's appropriate for us to ask the question, because there could be the situation.
There could be the case where.
I am behaving perhaps somewhat like Ephraim.
But not really aware of the behavior.
And so maybe I need to do some.
Evaluation and to do some considering.
As I think about this concept as I think about this idea.
I I pulled up just from some notes over the the past few weeks.
Some different portions in proverbs and came up with a few different types of troublemakers, and so these are some things that we might consider for our own hearts and invite the Lord to speak to us about.
There is the gossiping troublemaker. Proverbs, chapter 26, verse 20 says where there is no wood. The fire goes out and where there is no talebearer strife ceases.
The picture is wood and fire and if you remove the wood from the fire the fire dies.
There's no fuel for the fire.
In a similar way, when there is gossip when there is tail bearing.
A lot of talk and talking about things that are not appropriate for us to talk about.
There is also, along with that, a lot of times strife and a lot of times what the idea here is that when there is strife going on, if you would remove the talebearer from the equation from the situation.
That strife would die, that that problem doesn't have to continue.
That trouble doesn't have to continue on and continue to escalate and increase.
But if you would remove the talebearer, then that strife would cease.
And there can be sometimes.
Situations where we are the talebearer where we are the gossip where we are speaking about things that are not appropriate and not edifying for us to be speaking about.
It doesn't mean that our whole life has lived in rebellion against Scott, right? Again, this is amongst God's people. It's no surprise to us that there is the issue of gossip.
What we need to be reminded about is that it causes trouble.
It causes fire, and if we would.
Allow the Lord to show us the issue and turn from it.
It would resolve some of the strife that goes on within the church, perhaps within our families, perhaps within our workplaces.
Where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.
And so there's the gossiping troublemaker.
Then there's the troublemaker who just makes trouble for fun.
Of course, there are these kinds of people right that it's just kind of a perverted joy to cause trouble to make conflict, whether they be directly involved or just kind of set people up to fight, you know, and kind of trigger them and and get them to to battle against each other.
Proverbs chapter 18, sorry.
Proverbs chapter 16, verse 28 says a perverse man sows strife.
And the whisperer separates the best of friends.
And so there is that type of perversity where there's a little bit of joy where it's kind of a sport to cause strife and to stir up battles between people.
Now thinking about Ephraim, perhaps Ephraim was looking for trouble.
There was like this perversity.
In their hearts where they wanted to see a battle.
Some people don't want to engage in the real battle, but they do pick fights where it doesn't matter.
You know you think about in the context of the church.
There are some people who won't go to battle for the gospel, but they'll battle other Christians over.
Doctrines that are not significant and that don't matter.
Paul warned against divisiveness and and this in the church.
In Titus chapter three, he says, look warn someone once or twice, but then after that rejected divisive person, don't don't let them continue.
Push them out, don't entertain them.
They're they're just causing trouble, and perhaps it's just for fun.
Well then you also have impatient troublemakers.
Proverbs chapter 15 verse 18 says a wrathful man stirs up strife.
But he was slow to anger, allays contention.
Sometimes strife in trouble is stirred up because.
We just are short tempered.
We're quick to anger.
It's a weakness, and we're stumbled and so we become angry, we become wrathful and and it adds to the strife.
It stirs up strife.
But if we would allow the Lord to teach us.
To be slow to anger, then there would be a reducing of strife, a calming down of those situations, and so again, sometimes troublemakers.
Don't realize they're troublemakers.
They don't realize how.
How much trouble they're making it.
It's just a factor of a weakness of the flesh and impatience.
A quick temper that can cause a lot of trouble within the body of Christ and within different groups of people.
Well then you have proud troublemakers.
Proverbs 13 verse 10.
By pride comes nothing but strife but with the well advised is wisdom.
By pride comes nothing but strife seems to me most likely this is the position of Ephraim that they were proud they were proud of their first position.
They were proud.
Later on Ephraim is going to be many times referred to as the whole.
Northern Kingdom is referred to as Ephraim, right?
You have the tribe of Ephraim representing them.
They they were a significant tribe in the land of Israel.
And they were proud of that.
And they said, hey, we deserved to be part of this battle.
We deserved to be included in this.
There's you know, glory now there's victory and celebration and we're not part of that.
And that's upsetting to us, and so perhaps pride was a significant factor for them when we are allowing pride to have.
A root in our hearts.
It's going to cause strife.
There's going to be contention and battles.
There's going to be issues around us because of our pride because of our self will because of our self focus.
Well then finally proverbs chapter 10 verse 12.
Says hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.
And so here I classified it as offended troublemakers.
Hatred stirs up strife.
But love covers all sins.
I think this is an interesting one to consider.
I would suggest that some troublemakers were offended as a cloak for sin as an excuse for fleshly behavior.
In fact, you could maybe say maybe Ephraim was offended.
And maybe even would say you know I don't need to repent.
I was the one who was harmed.
I was the one who was hurt in this.
They didn't include me.
I'm the victim here.
I don't need to repent, they need to repent, right?
That's perhaps what Ephraim might say.
But here the proverb is telling us that love covers all sins or in other versions a multitude of sins, right, that that love covers those sins and and is not stuck in that offended status, that when we are sinned, against that when we are loving, we are able to forgive.
That we are able to.
Cover over that offence and not allow that offense to then stir up more strife where we fight back because we have been offended sometimes when we are offended, it's just an excuse for fleshly behavior.
It's just an excuse for us to continue on in a sinful.
As a cloak for thin.
We might take on the idea of being offended.
Think about what James said in James Chapter 4.
Where do wars and fights come from among you?
Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your Members?
He goes on.
We know the passage, you lust and do not have you murder and covet and cannot obtain you fight in war, yet you do not have because you.
Do not ask.
He goes on to say in verse four of James, four adulterers and adulteresses.
Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
Whoever therefore, wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an.
Enemy of God.
Here we need to consider as James is writing.
He says the wars and fights that happen amongst us.
So singling out the people of God, the children have got.
There are battles, and they're they're tragic.
Of course there are wars.
There's trouble that happens between us.
And and James says, where does that come from?
It doesn't come from love for one another, right?
From the desires for pleasure that war within our Members, it it is the outpouring.
Of an issue of the heart.
It's an outpouring.
He goes on to say of adultery.
Friendship with the world, which is enmity with God.
And so if we insist on holding on to that friendship, and insist on continuing on with that, we'll continue to cause trouble.
Will continue to cause problems.
Because we're harboring that sinfulness within our hearts.
Pastor Warren Rasby puts it this way.
When people are wrong and refuse to accept logical reasoning and confess their faults, they often turn to violence in order to protect their reputation.
This is the cost cause of most family disagreements, church fights, and international conflicts.
Here's the people of Efram feel wronged.
They refuse to accept Jephthah.
They refuse to confess their faults, and so they instead say we're going to burn your house to the ground.
You guys are fugitives and refugees, and so they come with this great attack and do not recognize their own wrong and so again.
Important to ask ourselves a question?
Am I known for causing trouble?
I don't think it be surprising for us to learn that there are troublemakers.
In the midst of God's people.
But it might be surprising for you to learn that you are the troublemaker.
Something that might catch us off guard, and that's why we need to ask the question and allow the Lord to evaluate and to help us understand how many strained relationships do we have within the body of Christ.
How many burned bridges have there been Pastor Dale Goddard at Calvary Chapel?
Golden Springs said this one time I thought it was real.
Be challenging and so he says.
If there's anyone in the church that you cannot work together with for the gospel, then you need to repent that just flat out there is.
There should be in our lives.
No one that we cannot work together with.
For the gospel that we can't come together with and work on the things of God and join together for the Kingdom of God doesn't mean that you know in everything or for everything, or you know all things all the time.
But at the same time there there needs to be the willingness.
To work together with anyone in the body of Christ for the things of God.
As he brings about those opportunities and so.
Consider what you're known for.
Are you known for causing trouble?
Secondly, moving on, are you known for rough justice?
Focusing now here on the person of jephthah, in verses 5 through 7, here's what it says.
The GILEADITES seized the Fords of the Jordan before the Thermites arrived, and when any Ephraimite who escaped said let me crossover the men, if Gilead would say to him, are you any for might if he said no, then they would say to him then say shibboleth.
And he would say Sibyl laugh, for he could not pronounce it right.
Then they would take him and kill him at the Fords of the Jordan.
There fell at that time 42,000 Ephraimites and Jephthah, the judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried among the cities of Gilead.
Here we have an interesting situation.
The battle has been one.
Jefa leads the gileadites against the ephraimites.
They are victorious, Ephraim is defeated and so now they're running away.
Ephraim is running for their lives.
They've been beaten in battle.
They're trying to get back home.
Now they crossed over the Jordan to go confront Jephthah.
Now they're trying to get back across the Jordan to the safety of their own territory.
But the men of Gilead were a bit faster.
They got to the river first.
And so now they controlled the way back and they set up this test.
Here is a way to determine whether or not it's kind of like you know you're going down the street and then you see the lights.
You see the cones.
You see the barriers and you realize oh, it's a sobriety check, right?
Like there's there's this surprise check.
On the road, now we're going to stop you pull you over and make sure that you are sober in a similar way.
Now there's this surprise check at the river.
We're going to stop you.
We're going to make sure you're not any thermite.
Who's trying to.
Escape and we're going to make sure that you're dealt with appropriately, and so they do the test by this word shibboleth.
And so for a reason that we can't say for sure, we don't know exactly why the ephraimites had trouble with this word.
They had trouble with the SH sound.
Instead of saying shibboleth, they would say Sybil, F.
The word shibboleth was Speaking of the river.
Or Speaking of a stream occurrent and so.
This was a word that was appropriate there as they were guarding the river and using that as a filter to determine whether or not people could crossover.
And so in doing so, they found all of the escaping all of the ephraimites who were trying to get away and survive the battle, and so it gives us the summary there in verse six that 42,000 in total died from the tribe of Ephraim.
Now again, as we look at this, it can be a little bit tough for us too.
Really understand the passage.
Really kind of accept the passage.
For the idea of.
This civil war taking place.
This battle between 2 tribes in the land of Israel.
We can kind of think there's no way for that to be a right thing.
A good thing or something that God wanted.
But as we consider this I I would encourage you to consider jephthah.
He was kind of known as a rough guy, right?
I mean you go back through Chapter 11.
He was a rough guy by necessity.
Because he was treated poorly, kind of kicked out of his family later on because he was such a rough guy that people came back and said, hey, would you lead us 'cause we have trouble and you know, you seem like a guy who knows how to deal with trouble and so why didn't you come help us deal with this trouble and so he was able to come back in and again as we think about the idea and the concept.
But there are troublemakers within the Kingdom of God within the people of God.
You know, sometimes there's also some rough leaders.
There's some those who would come in and and perhaps not be as gentle as some of the others.
He's not, perhaps be as tactful as some of the other leaders and would come and be more blunt, more.
Crude isn't the right word that I'm trying to say, but but hopefully you get the idea right that they would come across in a way that is not so much about, hey, you know, let's just be loving and good friends that sometimes there's some serious threats and some serious issues that are dealt with in a way that.
Perhaps they could have been dealt with better, you know, perhaps you know there there could have been a better scenario under ideal circumstances, but here we are with a leader who is rough comes from a a rugged background, and so he is handling the situation according to his.
Background on where he's at and and according to what he knows at the time.
And again, I think it's important to understand that he's facing a very serious threat.
Again, it says there was 42,000 who were killed.
Which means that there were 42,000 who crossed over the Jordan, ready to kill him.
So as he comes back against them as he holds the line fiercely strongly, he he does so in a way that is in response to the threat that has been brought to him, and so we can easily kind of critically criticize jephthah, or or or think that.
You know that wasn't the right thing for him to do at the same time, judges are judges for a reason.
You know, the Lord tells us in Romans chapter 13 you know that the king or the the judge doesn't wear a sword for nothing.
That that's part of the reason why God raises up judges to deal with issues of sin.
Not just enemies, but issues within the body of Christ and within the people of God.
And so I think there's a strong case to be made that jephthah here brought about justice.
It was rough.
It was not, you know, a gentle leading.
He guys, you know, let me try to show you where you're wrong and and bring you back to the right course and.
It probably wasn't time for that.
They had received that treatment earlier with Gideon.
Now it was time they had their opportunities to repent.
Now it's time really for God to deal with their sinfulness to bring about justice and jephthah does it in a way that is rough to our eyes rough to our ears.
But it is justice nonetheless.
Pastor Thomas Constable puts it this way.
Gideon was a weak man who has transformed into a fearless warrior.
Jephthah was a valiant warrior because of his tragic family life.
He had to become strong to survive.
The story of his life is of God taking a strong man and by his spirit turning him into a usable man.
Whatever our strengths and weaknesses, the secret of our usefulness is, our availability to God.
In the body of Christ.
There is going to be a variety of levels of maturity.
There's going to be a variety of levels of transformation.
And so sometimes we're going to have leaders that are more like Gideon.
Sometimes they're going to have leaders that are more like jephthah.
And sometimes that's the reality that God will not necessarily wait for a Jessica to become a Gideon or wait for a Gideon to become a jephthah, whichever way we might prefer, perhaps, but.
But God uses.
The people that are available at the right time.
We find the leader in Hebrews Chapter 11.
Jephthah is included as one of those who are in the Hall of Faith.
Along with Gideon and Baruch, and Samson and Jephthah, it says in Hebrews Chapter 11, verse 32, and so jephthah here is known for rough justice.
Are you known for rough justice?
You may not be super smooth about it.
You may not be always super tactful.
But you say what's right?
You do what's right.
Now it's appropriate appropriate to consider if you're known for rough justice, to take that before the Lord and say what I think I have known for this.
Is that what you want me to be known for?
C The real question is not whether or not we're known for it, but is that where God wants us to be?
I, I think as we look back at the troublemakers.
Hey, if we're known for being a troublemaker like there, there's no right way to look at that.
It's like, well, God wants me to be a troublemaker, so I'm a troublemaker like that that I would suggest is not the right way to approach it, but when it comes to rough justice like may.
Maybe you know I, I think about Pastor Dale Goddard, who I quoted earlier.
I think about Romaine, right?
We've all heard the stories and the accounts of Pastor Romaine and how he would, you know?
Oftentimes deal with other leaders in a way that you might describe it as rough justice.
He told them the truth very squarely, very bluntly, and oftentimes they were.
Quite offended by it, but it was the truth and it was perhaps what they needed to hear at the time as we look at this, we can kind of wrestle with was jephthah doing the right thing or not?
Even if he was doing the right thing, it's not surprising troublemakers will meet their jephthah eventually, and someone who will hold them account to their nonsense.
And sometimes the Lord raises up a person for that purpose.
I think the question for us is Lord.
Is that how you want me to be known?
Is that how you want me to handle these?
Situations sometimes the Lord does want us to deal.
With sin with troublemakers.
With attacks in that way that it's not always the gentle approach that the Lord wants us to follow.
You know you think about situations and you guys are familiar with situations where church discipline has been required, and that's never a pleasant thing.
It's always a difficult thing and done, you know.
With great regret and yet at the same time, we can't just say well.
We don't really want to do this, and so we're just going to be gentle and not.
Sometimes there has to be that rough justice where we stand and say no.
This is not right.
This is the line we will hold it and we will bring about the justice and the righteousness that God requires in this situation.
Well, as we move on looking at verses 8 through 15, the remainder of the chapter, I would ask the question, are you known for faithfulness?
Check out verses 8 through 15. These next three judges. It says after him, Gibson of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had 30 sons and he gave away 30 daughters in marriage and brought in $30 from elsewhere for his sons. He judged Israel seven years.
Then Ibsen died and was buried at Bethlehem after him.
Elon the Zebulon ITE judged Israel.
He judged Israel 10 years and Ellen Zebulon.
Zebulon Night died and was buried at Aijalon in the country of Zebulon.
After him Abdon, the son of Helen the I'm sorry the pure Athonite judged Israel.
He had 40 sons and 30 grandsons, who wrote on 70 young donkeys.
He judged Israel eight years, then Abdon the son of how well the pure Athonite died, and he was buried in Python, in the land of Ephraim.
And the mountains of the Amalekites.
And so here as we look at these last three judges.
It's interesting to note Jephthah gets.
A chapter and a half write Chapter 11 and half of chapter 12.
We're gonna move on to Sampson this week. Sampson gets several chapters. 13 Fourteen 1516 focused on the life and the activities of Sampson. But here these three judges share half a chapter. Just a couple verses each.
Not a lot known about them.
Many commentators as you look at this passage say they did nothing noteworthy.
They fell short of what God wanted them to do because nothing noteworthy, nothing substantial, no big battles or victories or anything like that was recorded for their lives.
Now I would kind of push back against that idea a little bit, because the whole concept of the judges again is that cycle for the nation of Israel that Israel would rebel against God.
Experience the consequences of that.
The oppression that would come from an enemy they would cry out to the Lord God would raise up a judge.
A deliverer who would then redeem them in a sense from that oppressor.
And then the the morality of the people.
The spirituality of the people would kind of be.
Held in place for the life of that judge.
And so we could look at this and say, yeah, nothing noteworthy about these guys.
But I would also suggest, well, how about?
They kept that pattern from continuing.
Because if you look at chapter 13, verse one as it continues on again, the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the philistines for 40 years.
These three guys did literally nothing else.
Except fulfill their role as a judge and preserve Israel for a little bit of time so that they did not turn away from the Lord during that time.
After this then Samson comes on.
He's the last judge and then the rest of the book of judges is other parts of the the history of the nation.
But but perhaps these three guys, their main purpose was to preserve to kind of preserve and hold the course of faithfulness to the Lord.
Now you could look at some other things as well, and consider that.
Well, just because we don't have a record here of any battles that they won doesn't actually mean that they won any battles or didn't win any battles.
Just because you know something isn't written doesn't mean that nothing happened.
It just means that God chose to give us this much information and whatever else they did.
Whatever else happened we don't know about.
And I think that's appropriate to consider because that is much.
Of what God calls us too.
But much of what God calls us too is not.
Chapters and chapters and chapters of record chapters and chapters and chapters of Glory chapters and chapters, and chapters where everybody knows the story right, how hard would it be to find people who don't know about Samson?
Uh, even unbelievers many times will know the account, not necessarily of course, where to find it, or all of the details.
They may not be accurate in it at all, right?
But but they know the concepts they know about the the person of Samson and and the idea of Samson and Delilah and and.
And that's a such a common thing, right?
But who knows?
About Ibzan of Bethlehem.
Like nobody knows about Ibsen of Bethlehem and yet.
This guy was a judge in the Nation of Israel for seven years.
He ministered to a nation.
He helped preserve a nation.
He helped a people stay on course in a relationship with God and and kept the the things that were not of God.
Kept the people on course in their relationship with the Lord.
We also know he had a big family, right, 30 sons, $30 and and all of that. So maybe that was.
What he was really called to that. The idea here is that faithfulness is the key, right? If being an incredible Family Guy, having 30 sons, and $30 like if that if that was what the Lord called him too.
To have 30 sons and to give $30 away and to bring in $30 thirty dollars from elsewhere to marry his sons.
Like if that's what the lawyer called him too, then he did that great.
He did that perfectly and so nothing more is needed to be said because.
The call that God had for him.
He was faithful in that Elon, the Zebulon Knights, he judged his real 10 years.
10 years he put in 10 years of effort.
10 years of judging, 10 years of leadership to establish.
And work in the nation of Israel, it's.
Not insignificant, not nothing noteworthy, not he should just be cast outright.
God says no, this guy was important.
I want to record him.
I want to put his name in the scriptures.
I I want him to be considered and reflected upon.
Perhaps all that was recorded here is because.
That's all we need to know.
That he was faithful.
He judged Israel 10 years.
And the call that God had given to him.
Abdon the son of hello.
He judged Israel for eight years.
He had sons and grandsons.
Again, maybe family was a big part of what God had called him too.
And and having that you know be a an aspect of the life of Israel.
Maybe a good example for the nation.
Maybe it's a side note to the fact that he was just a prominent person who judged Israel for eight years.
Again, I would suggest.
These guys we could consider them known for their faithfulness they're recorded.
Here in judges so that we might take note and consider these guys put in 10 years, seven years, eight years and served the Lord well in their role.
The apostle Paul says first Corinthians 4 two it's required in stewards that one be found faithful.
What's not required of a judge is that he have some great battle.
And have great victory.
What's not required of judge is that he be, you know, known for rough justice.
What's not required of a judge that he'd be able to, you know, kill hundreds of people with the jawbone of a donkey?
Like that's not necessarily what's required of a judge.
What's required of a judge is for a judge to be faithful.
To what God called the judge to.
In a similar way for us.
We are stewards of the mystery of God.
We're stewards of.
Although God is given to us what's required of us is not necessarily something that others might experience or encounter.
What's required of us is faithfulness to God's call in our lives, and so are we known for faithfulness.
We may not be flashy.
We may not be popular.
We may not be well known.
But are we known for being faithful?
To what God has called us to.
Well, one last thought, I want to consider as we finish up for tonight point #4 looking back at verse five and six, consider what you are known for.
And this time question #4 are you known for love? Look at verse five and six again, it says.
The GILEADITES seized the Fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived.
And when any effor might who escaped said, let me crossover.
The men of Gilead would say to him, are you any thermit if he said no, then they would say to him then say shibboleth.
He would say sibble F for he could not pronounce it right then they would take him and kill him.
At the Fords of the Jordan.
There fell at that time 42,000 ether mites.
And perhaps right now you say Jerry, where on Earth are you seeing love in here?
Well, I don't really see love in the.
Versus themselves, but but looking at these got me thinking about the idea of like speaking with an accent.
Right, you can easily identify people.
From different places in a similar way, shibboleths sublet, you know, we don't speak Hebrew.
So that word doesn't mean a whole lot to us, but you hear the word, y'all.
And you have immediately some context, right?
You have an understanding that, OK, that person is not from Southern California.
You hear someone say dude, then you know, OK, Southern California.
That guys, you know from the beach, right?
So so there's those accents.
There's those ways that we talk about things, ways that we say, things that identify us and kind of place us geographically.
Of course, you know you can think about other.
Nations, you know, different accents.
From Australia, England, you know all over.
I'm not going to try to don't even think about that.
I'm not trying to.
Put on a show here and I'm not good at impersonating accents anyways, so I'd just be offending a lot of people and then they might attack me and try to burn down my house so.
What what it got me thinking though is for us as believers.
Is do we have that kind of accent?
But in regards to the love of Christ, I was thinking about John Chapter 13, where Jesus says a new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
By this all will know that you are my disciples.
If you have love for one another.
And so there's this idea here.
Jesus says, are you known for love?
Because by this all will know that you are my disciples, by your love for one another, that that if there was a river test right where we were stopped and it was questioned, are you a disciple of Jesus?
What like would it be?
Known that you are because of the way that you relate to other believers the way that you talk to the way that you interact with the way that you spend time with other believers is the the love of Christ for one another and accent that we have.
And I identifying mark.
That we have a way that we talk and and it's like oh man, listen to the way those people talk to each other.
It's like like they they they gotta know Christ.
They they have that that accent they have that that influence you know the way that they speak the words that they use like we can tell where they're coming from and and that that.
Life with Christ.
That relationship with Christ is real in their life, by the way, that they talk to one another.
And you know, coming out of the past few years of crazy talk amongst all kinds of people, for all kinds of different, you know, political, spiritual, economical, health, you know.
Things like I think this is one of those things.
We ought to allow the Lord to.
Reflect in our lives and to show us if this is an area where he wants to develop us and grow us again, like the Jephthah does, right?
There are different levels of maturity in the body of Christ and perhaps different level levels of maturity in our life in different.
Seasons of our life, and so perhaps sometimes we're more known for rough justice.
But you know, there's a rough justice that is done in love, right?
And and can be appropriate for the situation.
But at the same time that there should be this love of Christ, that is an accent that just fills all of our words that impacts all of our actions that influences everything that we do so that our behavior is really tainted.
I don't know if that's the right word to use like that, but tainted by the love of Christ.
Let's put it this way, all of our actions are tinted by the love of Christ, right?
They have they have that hue that red hue the the love of Christ that that we operate.
We do everything that we do out of the love that he has for us and the love that he has through us.
For others around us and so tonight as we look at Chapter 12 again, a different kind of passage, different kinds of things, and maybe some challenging areas and and examples for us to pull application from but.
The way that I consider it is consider what you're known for.
Look at these things, allow them to be a little bit reflective.
Am I known for causing trouble?
Am I known for rough justice?
If I am, is that how God wants me to be known?
Is that the reputation God wants me to have, or is that just a reputation that I like to have or want to have or have by default?
And so allow the Lord to direct in that am I known for fearful now.
Am I known for it doesn't matter what other people are doing, it doesn't matter.
You know if it's flashy or if I'm popular.
If I get lots of credit or notoriety or everybody writes books about me or songs about me, what what really matters to me is, I must be faithful to the Lord.
I need to follow what he has set for me and I want to be faithful to that.
And then finally, am I known for love?
To have that accent where I I can't pronounce some words right because I have the love of Christ for others around me and so I am influenced by that.
In my words, in my communication in my actions, am I known for love?
Let's pray would be thank you for your word.
We thank you for the opportunity to consider.
Even these challenging passages and challenging things, I pray God that you would help us to allow them to be a bit of a reflection Lord, that we might be able to.
See our own hearts Lord attitudes and areas of our lives, where, perhaps would you want to reveal and show that there is some areas of concern in areas where you want to address areas that need to be strengthened and reinforced that we would not slip into or slip back to those things that you've pulled us out.
I pray God that you would help us as your people to be known for your characteristics.
Lord, as your ambassadors with your love Lord, standing for truth and accomplishing justice as you lead us and give us opportunity.
But Lord, honoring you through it all and being faithful to what you've called us to, I pray this in Jesus name.