Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Power Struggles and What's Right

Gilead was the region on the east side of the Jordan River where two and one half tribes (Gad, Reuben and Manasseh) decided to settle when the Israelites were about to cross over into the promised land on the west side of the river.  The Israelites had been careful to go around the regions Moab and Ammon (descendants of Lot) as God had directed. At that time the Amorites attacked them and Israel defeated them and obtained the land which became Gilead.

A couple of hundred years later, these tribes had trouble with Ammonites who attacked them so as to occupy their land. In Judges 11, is a record of Jephthah who arose as a deliverer against the Ammonites.  His life story is interesting.

Jephthah's father had relations with a harlot and Jephthah was the result. His father had other sons and they rejected Jephthah as an illegitimate heir to their father's land. Jephthah left home and became a valiant, mighty warrior. When the Gileadites were attacked by the Ammonites later, they asked Jephthah to come back and lead the cause.

 Jephthah first reasoned with the Ammonites reminding them of the history of their settlement in Gilead:
12 And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land? 13 And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably.
14 And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon: 15 And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon:16 But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh; 17 Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh.
18 Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed (went around) the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab.
Jephthah set the record straight on how it all had happened. He also set the record straight on how the Amorites got defeated:
19 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place.20 But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. (Sihon attacked Israel)
21 And the Lord God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22 And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan.
23 So now the Lord God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?
Jephthah, a valiant warrior reasoned with the Amorites,and stood up for Israel, but the king of the Ammonites did not buy it and tried to take what was not their to take:
27 Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the Lord the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon. 28 Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him.
The Ammonites ended up defeated. Jephthah had a right to defend his people against attack and God was with him.

Light dispels darkness.  There is a great benefit for exposing truth in a loving direct manner. Gossip, projection, power plays, lying and false judgements spread darkness. Truth only has the potential, to dispel hurt and misunderstandings and spread love. The Ammonites did not respond positively to Jephthah's logic and thus ended up where darkness always end up - defeated because of their own actions.




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