The basic background to this situation in the life of the Israelites related to their abandoning the God of Israel that got them out of bondage from Egypt. They all went whoring with the small gods of the people God drove out for them to dwell on the land that was flowing with milk and honey. It was the usual habit of the Israelites that when they were in deep oppression and depression they would always return to God.The Gileadites were under the oppression of the people of Ammon. They lacked a leader who could lead them to war. The Israelites called on God and won HIS favor.
The idea of revisiting an earlier post is to have a critical look into what aided the continued victory of the Gileadites in battles. Judges 11:1-12 gave us the background to the strength of the Gileadites. Jephthah was earlier disowned by his father’s other sons because he was the son of a harlot. They said “You shall have no inheritance in our father;s house, for you are the son of another woman” This forced him to rely on God himself. “Jephthah fled from his brother’s and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him”. In this circumstance, Jephthah showed himself as a good leader for him to have been able to train the so-called “worthless men” to become mighty men of valor who fought with courage and finesse. All Israel had confessed their sin to God and discarded all their strange gods and returned the God of their fathers. God decided to have compassion on them but no group had the strong army to fight for them. Jephthah, the rejected member of his father’s house became the only credible leader to lead Israel to battle their enemies. His prowess was comparable to David’s situation in which he had only about 600 men to King Saul’s “three thousand chosen men” 1Samuel 24: 2. David was a very strong leader who underwent tough circumstances but overcame difficulties that beset him as God was with him all along.
Jephthah had God-given power, might and compliance with priestly advice and directives that made him obey God. As a rejected son in his father’s house he placed emphasis on training and development not only in the physical but also in the spiritual. His followers were great men of valor and faith. He possibly would not have fought the Ephramites if they had not dared him on top of earlier occurrence of breaking the code of kinship cooperation. Jephthah tied his fate to God. He paid his vow in the most sorrowful and regrettable manner to seal his triumph over household and other enemies.
As usual, in consideration of genuine love of God and ones neighbor or loving ones neighbor as oneself “The Fig Tree Phenomenon” calls for our attention to saying one thing and not truly being exactly that which was said or professed, Mark 11: 12-14. Jesus was in a hungry mood and needed food. The fig tree , not in season is not expected to be as richly green as to suggest that fruits abound. Jesus condemned hypocrisy as represented by the fig tree’s deceptive appearance when in fact it had nothing to offer as succor to the needy. it is a common situation among us as it has ever been.
The scenario is that of false or illusionary hope which can only end in anguish. There are people by their sweet words would appear they have answers for all problems whereas they have none, Such people position themselves in conspicuous places as if poised to help whereas they do not have the means. II Sam. 18: 1-29. This was the case of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. He outran Cushite without having news to bear to the king, of course , he was set aside, as against Cushite who brought the true tidings of quelling the palace coup involving Absalom the legitimate heir apparent who failed to comport himself and could have waited for God’s time to crown him as king of Israel. It was clear David loved him but Absalom for unscrupulous reason assumed what he was yet to become. His ambition failed to be realized. We must beware of “The Fig Tree Phenomenon”.
God loves those who constantly seek His face and walk with Him in obedience. His love radiates anointing to such people. God judges the heart and not the face or an outward show. So it was with the Jews in the days of Moses who died on Mount Nebo. He with love prayed a prayer of inpartation on Joshua. By the same token, Joshua sent out two men to spy the land of Jericho in Joshua 2: 1-24. They resided in the house of Rahab the harlot. It is obvious that the flow of anointing passed to Rahab in fulfilment of God’s promise to settle the Israelites on Canaan land. As people knew about the spies’ presence, they sought to kill them in the house of Rahab.
Rahab planned a strategy for their escape and got them to vow to preserve her father’s household because she knew that the God of Israel had given them the Canaan land. The escapees gave her a scarlet token to tie on the window through which she let them down to escape into the mountain. Both parties kept to the vow to honor the God of Israel. The two spies reported back to Joshua thus: “Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands” Joshua 2:23a. Rahab’s father’s household was spared when Jericho was destroyed. The Jews up to that time were devoted and obedient to the God of Israel and HE never disappointed them. To love, trust and obey will cause the door of divine guidance to open and lead to good success for genuine seekers.
God is love and universal in scope. HE actually loves all whether Jew or gentile. The whole peoples of the world are His. God has no time for checking credentials to ascertain being Jew or Christian or any other religions of the world. In this part of the ongoing series on LOVE, God’s divine love was extended to Naaman, commander of the army of Syria. Syria at the time was enjoying victory over Israel, or seen as ‘enemy combatant’ that was not at peace with the people of God. The king of Syria, through the assurance of the captive girl from Israel sent Naaman to Prophet Elisha who only instructed thus: “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean.”
Naaman thought Elisha was rude for not considering his status but was persuaded to do what the man of God directed him to do. In the end, he got completely healed. Pride and anger nearly deprived him of God’s divine love which was not up for grab or to the highest bidder. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases but it behoves us to obediently tap into this fountain of God’s compassionate love that transcends color or creed. Naaman realized the greatness of the God of Israel that has no equal in all gods in the world. ll King 5: 1-27
God’s love is from generation to generation. The trio of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob demonstrated a two-way love cord that connected the three patriarchs to God’s love. It is highly significant in the life of Jacob, later called Israel. He became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. The patriarchs all loved, trusted, worshipped and obeyed God. Even while they, the Israelites were in Egypt for 450 years in bondage, God never forgot his love bond with the lineage of the patriarchs. In his divine love, God saw the afflictions of His people – the Hebrews – and orchestrated their release from bondage. He used Moses, a Hebrew child but brought up as a prince of Egypt in all their arts and culture to effect God’s will. With filial love for the Hebrews he met out instant justice to a wicked Egyptian task-master and became a fugitive in the land of Midian for 40 years.
God commissioned him to go and secure the release of the children of Israel from bondage. In love God took them to the promised land but got rid of the disobedient generation that left Egypt before settling down in the land of Canaan. Armament in war does not ensure victory, rather God’s mysterious hand upon Israel brought down the walls of Jericho – a highly dreaded and fortified city – all because of obedience to the war strategies God gave them. Divine love when sustained conquers fear, defeat and sorrow in the life of man.