Seeing God Where He Is Not Expected
“Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah. Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.”
Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him…
So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the LORD delivers them to me, shall I be your head?” And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The LORD will be a witness between us, if we do not do according to your words.”
Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD in Mizpah.” Judges 11:1-3, 9-11
Judges 11 holds the story of Jephthah, a man whose heart was set on truth and knew the history of his people. So even when the people who had rejected him in his youth came to seek his help in defeating their enemy he agreed knowing he had the Lord at his disposal to help him accomplish the job. Jephthah had the ability to turn around and deny helping our Israel after how they had treated him. In reality, the people of Ammon were the Israelites’ problem, not his. Yet Jephthah agreed to fight anyways. His intentions were not completely unselfish as he bargained to be their “head” if he won in battle, but God was at work in using the human nature of all of those involved for His own purposes.
An important lesson to take away from the story of Jephthah is that God can work through anyone and in any situation He desires. I think too often we limit God and who He can speak through and what He can accomplish. Instead of limiting God we instead need to learn to recognize God so that we can see Him not only in the places we expect Him to be, but also in the places we think we are least likely to find Him.
Henry Blackaby in the book Experiencing God talks about the training process the Canadian Mounties go through when being taught how to identify counterfeit currency. He says that instead of giving the Mounties a variety of different counterfeit bills and coins to study, their trainers only give them the genuine thing. Through this process of studying only the real articles the Mounties come to know the specific details of the currency so well that when they are shown a counterfeit they know immediately it is a fake.
In the same way we as Christians do not need to fill our time studying traps that may pulls us away from our faith or various other religions that may threaten to deceive us. Instead we need to know the One True God so intimately and so well that when we encounter these deceiving ideas we know they are not of God. Our studying under God and living in the pure truth of the Lord allow us to discern what is not of Him.