Friday, July 1, 2011


And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 
Hebrews 11:32-34

The Scriptures declare that these heroes were made strong out of weakness.  In order to be a real success, you must be able to be strengthened through struggle.  What we need is a hero who may have felt weak, he may have cried and suffered, but he still made it.

Look at these men mentioned in Hebrews 11:32.  Examine their lives and you will find they were not glaring examples of flawless character; yet they epitomized faith toward God.  Even though most of them experienced failures and flaws, they would have made the front pages of the newspapers in our day for their heroism.  We must be careful when judging the weak moments in their lives and consider the entirety of their lives to see that the dent in their armor didn't affect their performance on the battlefield.
Gideon failed the biblical faith test when he sought a sign.  Samson shined on the battlefield but had struggles in the bedroom.  Oh yes, then there is Jephthah, the illegitimate child who was rejected by his siblings and ostracized by his family.  He went to the land of Tob where he became what we would call a gang leader.  He gathered together the "vain" fellows, a sampling of social rejects, and became their leader.  In spite of his adolescent struggles, and his rash tendency to make wild vows (which cost him the destruction of his daughter's future, he still made it to the roll of the renowned.  He made it because he believed God.  He lifted himself above his circumstances and fought the enemies without and within!
To me, Jephthah's gang reveals the part of ministry that we are missing: He built an army out of rejects.  There is something powerful about being a "chosen reject"; chosen by God but rejected by men.  There is a lostness that grows in the heart of someone who has been rejected by men.   Their rejection creates a feeling of misplacement in the world.  When we have been ostracized by someone or something that we wanted to belong to, our streaming tears cannot soften the hard truth.  Yet, this kind of pain can lead us to a level of consecration that is out of the reach of people who have never been rejected.  Why?  
Discarded by the world, we may turn to our spiritual core.  Once the reality hits us that God purposely chooses to use misplaced and rejected people, we experience a sense of warm gratitude that flows through our human hearts like hot syrup.  It saturates us with acceptance and identity.  

Thank God for Jephthah, who reminds us of the deep, abiding reality that even if we were discarded by others after failure or problems, God is still in the business of recycling human lives!  I must confess that more than once I have seen His hand pick up the pieces of broken lives and make of them powerful forces of faith.  Isn't that the gospel?  Isn't that the good news we are supposed to preach to the poor souls of broken men?  We can see the lives all around us that have been discarded by the world.  

Someone is waiting to hear the message of acceptance and hope in Christ.  We may be the very ones to take it to them today.

Scripture to Claim:
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  (1 Peter 2:9)

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