Judges: NOT Following Where God Leads – Part 8

Judges 11:1-40

Judges: NOT Following Where God Leads – Part 8

Forgetting Who (and How) God Is

I. The STORY of JEPHTHAH the judge. (v.1-40)
A. Mighty WARRIOR and REJECTED son. (v.1-3)
B. Until he had SOMETHING to OFFER. (v.4-11)
C. An ATTEMPT at DIPLOMACY. (v.12-28)
D. EMPOWERED by the SPIRIT. (v.29)
E. A VOW, a VICTORY, and deep DESPAIR. (v.30-40)

As promised, Judges just keeps getting worse and worse. The baseline for the evil that can be done by the people of God just keeps getting lower and lower. Today we see Jephthah, scorned by his family, become empowered by the Spirit and still make mistakes that wreck his own life.

1. Kid’s Question: When have you felt excluded from a group of friends? What was that like?
2. What stands out to you from Jephthah’s story? Why?

II. Typical QUESTIONS from this PASSAGE. (v.1-40)
A. Why MAKE this kind of VOW? (v.30-31)
B. Did he SACRIFICE his only DAUGHTER? (v.35-39)
C. Why WOULD God ALLOW this? (Jud. 2:11-15; Rom. 1:21-24,26,28)

These kinds of passages provoke thousands of pages of writing in Bible commentaries. This one in particular raises questions in our minds. How could something like this happen? In the Bible…in the story of God’s chosen people, the Jews?

3. Which of the three “typical” questions seems the biggest to you personally?
4. Is there anything in your reaction to this text that surprises you?

III. The BIGGER questions we must ENGAGE. (Heb. 4:12)
A. Do we grasp the DESTRUCTIVE nature of SIN? (Josh. 23:13; Jas. 1:14-15)
B. Have we DISTORTED our UNDERSTANDING of God? (Col. 1:15; Col. 2:9)
C. How should we RESPOND to a TEXT like this? (2 Chron. 7:14; 2 Cor. 3:18)

The temptation is to wrestle with these questions that feel important and neglect the questions that strike deeply within our own lives. Jephthah becomes an object of Bible Trivia knowledge and theological speculation than a story that prompts a spirit-led reflection of our own lives. If we aren’t careful the trivia and distract us from the necessary.

5. Jeff spoke of God’s wrath as the reality that God’s ultimate goodness will destroy sin. That seems to be different than our idea of anger. What are your thoughts on this idea?
6. What is your picture of God? What is He like? How can you actually discern if the person you believe God to be is actually who God is?
7. Of the calls listed in 2 Chron. 7:14, which speaks to you most personally at this point in your life? How might you respond to God’s call?
8. What does it mean “to contemplate the Lord’s glory”? (2 Cor. 3:18). What are some practical ways that you can do that this coming week?