Picture this. You're a wise person, let's just call you a Wise Man. You hear that a great king is going to be born and you want to get him the kind of gift he'll be talking about for years to come.
We're not talking a Cheese of the Month kind of present. We're talking about the present to end all presents. Oh, and let me add in here that you can't order off Amazon. Why? Cause you happen to live in the days before Ipads, texting and twiffering. (Okay, twiffering is a made up thing, but you get my point.) As a Wise Man in ancient times, what would you gift to the new king who will be called Jesus?
Turn on the tv or computer, talk to your bestie, or look around and you are bombarded with images of suffering. Typhoons, cancer, school shootings, domestic violence, drug abuse...you've seen what I'm talking about.
You're bombarded with bad stuff and it makes you wonder - If God is so big and powerful, why doesn't He just stop the pain? Why does God allow suffering? If He loves us so much, why doesn't He keep the bad stuff from happening?
Sisters... The truth is, I don't know.
“I swear to God”…Don’t!
Do you remember the story of Jephthah from Judges 11? My guess is that few do.
Jephthah was one of Israel’s judges in the period after the exodus from Egypt and before Israel begged God for a king, so they could be like all their neighboring nations. It was one of those times when “The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight” (Judges 10:6) and needed to be rescued. Jephthah was a brave warrior, but his mother wasn't well liked so his stepbrothers told him to get lost. He left and a bunch of “lawless men” joined his gang and began traveling with him. At best, you could think of him as a biblical Robin Hood type of guy.
So when the Israelites needed a commander for their army, who did they ask? That’s right: Jephthah the brave warrior and his gang of lawless men. Have you noticed that God often calls people who are no one else’s first choice?