Imagine how it would feel to find yourself being outcast, forced to flee the place you grew up because of the mistakes of your family.
And then imagine those very same people who persecuted you years ago now desperately seeking your help.
Would you give it to them?
This is the story of Jephthah in the Book of Judges and his answer to that question might surprise you.
As we learn in Judges 11, “Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute.”
And as a result of the status of his mother, people looked down on him, placing a lower value on him than what he was worth.
Even his own half-brothers despised him for who his mother was, “Gilead was the father of Jephthah. And Gilead’s wife also bore him sons. And when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.”
Can you imagine how that would feel – to be driven out by your own family and forced to flee the land you grew up in?
Would you be bitter and angry towards your family for their mistreatment of you? Would you be able to forgive them, or would you hold on to that bitterness and anger, and maybe even seek out revenge?
What if years later they came to you desperately seeking your help?
But what if that was God’s plan all along?
That’s exactly what happened to Jephthah.
“After a time the Ammonites made war against Israel. And when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob. And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the Ammonites.”
The very first thing we learn about Jephthah was that, despite the circumstance of his birth, he was in fact a “mighty warrior.”
And now those who had driven him away were in desperate need of his talents.
Jephthah may have been chased out of his home, but as soon as his enemies found themselves in trouble, they came back for him because they needed him.
Sometimes the same people who torment you will eventually need you in a particular season and they’ll regret their mistreatment of you.
But their need for you might just be the method that God uses to fulfill His plan for your life.
You see, Jephthah’s persecutors went from saying, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house,” to, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the Ammonites … and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”
It is through these verses that we see how God restores – and the same goes for your inheritance.
In turn, people can make you feel less of yourself for something you cannot control, but one thing they can never do is strip you away from what God’s already planned for you.
But what if Jephthah had held on to his bitterness and anger? What if he had sought revenge against his tormenters? What if he had tried to take his inheritance on his own strength, without relying on God to make things right in the end?
Only through obedience to God’s plan for us can He fully give us the inheritance He has for us.
That plan calls for us to forgive, it calls for us to pray for our enemies, and it calls on us to rely on God’s justice, not our own, trusting that His plan is good.
While others try and harm us, God is there to help us.
Therefore, I ask that you pray for those who are feeling outcast like Jephthah, and in some cases by their own families. Pray they might be reminded of how God’s inheritance trumps any and every form of persecution the world tries to throw at them.
For, it is through this story that we can be reminded of just how much God cares for us – even when others try and deem us unworthy of His grace.
All we need to do is put our trust in Him.