There are many things in the world that are easy to say but difficult to put into action. For instance, controlling a painfulmouth in case of failure, starting again, tolerating being laughed at, pondering over, forgiving and forgetting would be good examples. However, if you look at the great men whom God used greatly, you can see that all of them practiced this difficult task. Judge Jephthah was such a person, and he became the supreme leader of Israel by living such a life.
Jephthah was born as the son of a prostitute, but as he grew up, his half brothers harassed and persecuted him. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family, because you are the son of another woman!” (Judges 11:2). However, in the family, neither his father nor anyone else tried to understand Jephthah’s ordeal. Because he was treated in this manner at home, the people in the village also despised him, and the wounds deepened in his heart. When people are in such a situation, they usually blame fate and become pessimistic about their lives because they are immersed in problems. But Jephthah was different. Through the choice of faith, he healed his wounds and stood tall as a leader. “So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a group of adventurers gathered around him and followed him” (Judges 11:3). Here, the ‘scoundrels’ used for the meaning of ‘adventurers’ in the Korean Bible is not a bad word but refers to those who are abandoned by people and alienated from society. Jephthah shared his vision with the adventurers and turned them into soldiers.
‘Think Differently!’ This is the slogan that Steve Jobs put forward when he was kicked out of Apple and then returnedto Apple. If he was sharpening his sword of revenge by touching the wounds he received, he would not be able to think creatively, and the opportunity would not come to him. While Jobs waskicked out of Apple, he prepared to fuse humanistic imagination with cutting-edge information technology, which no one had thought of before. He finally developed technological breakthroughs such as the iPod, iPad, and iPhone, which became smashing hits one after another, raising Apple as a world-class creative company.
You may not be responsible for all of the unfortunate events that have happened, but you are responsible for all of your reactions to them. A famous Japanese comedian confesses that the words of his third father changed his life. What his third father said to him was a very meaningful quip:’The mirror never laughs first!” You can imagine how gloomy his life would have been when the comedian had a third father. But ironically, the words he heard from the third father changed his life.
From a human point of view, Jephthah’s life could have been downright depressing. But Jephthah listened more to God when he was driven away to Tob. So, Jephthah was able to receive God’s revelation, and when the adventurerscame to him, he recognized them as people sent by God and trained them to prepare for the opportunity to come one day. “Some time later, when the Ammonites made war on Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. ‘Come,’ they said, ‘be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites”(Judges 11:4-6).The crisis of the tribe of Gilead and his own people became an opportunity for Jephthah, but the elders of his hometown who had driven him away came to Jephthah and asked for help. Certainly,this was an opportunity that came to Jephthah because he was preparing by listening to God’s Word in his darkest time. Jephthah seized the opportunity to restore human relationships, seized the opportunity to restore lost honor, seized the opportunity to devote himself to his country, and seized the opportunity to glorify God.
Imagine that you’re leaving Florida for your home country and flying over the Tampa area. This plane is in Florida, but people say that it’s a ‘flight to Korea’. You must know that what God sees as important is ‘direction’, not ‘position’. Jephthah’s life attests to this fact. Jephthah’s body was in the land of Tob, but the direction of his heart was always toward God, so he was able to achieve a reversal in his life.