Sunday School Material 6-18-17: Jephthah





(Judges 11:4-11, 29-31; 6/18/17)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jephthah became the next Judge and made a rash vow. Prayerfully, we will be challenge to do what God is calling us to do and avoid making rash vows.

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Body:

Read Judges 11:4-7

I. Reluctant Ally. In our Sunday School material the elder of Gilead called or Jephthah to be their commander. Jephthah asks about how can they call for him, after they expressed hatred for him earlier. The attacks of the enemies were a great factor in the people’s change of heart.

Applications –

- Treating people right. Notice in vss. 4-7 that the elders had to ask for help from the one they used to mistreat. In like manner, we should be so careful about how we treat people, especially those we think we don’t need. Tomorrow is a different day.

The people we don’t need today may be the ones that we really need tomorrow. And then even if we don’t need the person, we should treat people right anyway. This is what disciples of Christ is supposed to do. Let’s work on treating people right.

Read Judges 11:8-11, 29

II. Leadership Contract. In our Sunday School material there is an exchange about Jephthah really being the head. Assurances are made. There is movement towards the battle.

Applications –

- Pressing past pride. Notice in vs. 8 that the elders did not allow pride to keep them from pursuing what they needed. There are some people who miss out on so much, because they allow pride to keep them from doing what they need to do.

Pride can keep us from admitting that we were wrong. Pride can keep us from asking repeatedly for what we need. As disciples of Christ, we should have a noticeable amount of humility. Let’s work on keeping pride from distracting us from what we need to do.

- Clear agreements. Notice in vss. 9-11 that a great deal of energy was given to making sure there was a clear agreement between the people and the leader. In like manner, it is so important for any relationship to start with a clear understanding and agreement. It is especially true, in the case of a leader and group.

In fact, it is so important that the agreements are often put in writing and called contracts/agreements. Now, what is terrible is when either side betrays what has been clearly agreed upon. Let’s work on having and carrying out clear agreements.

- When God sanctions. Notice in vs. 29 that the Spirit of the Lord apparently sanctions the work of Jephthah. When the Spirit sanctions something, as people of God, we should accept it.

Remember that God the Father, the Spirit, and the Son are one. Think about how we can tell the tree by the fruit that it bears. We also know that the best way to know God and His will is to prayerfully study and obey the Bible.

Let’s work on accepting what God sanctions. This point also applies to what God is calling us to do and what He is calling others to do. If God sanctions the call to service, we should accept it.

Read Judges 11:30-31

III. Rash Vow. Jephthah vows to the Lord in our Sunday School material. He vows to give whatever comes out of his house to the Lord, as a burnt offering. The sacrifice is based on God giving him the victory.

Applications –

- Jephthah’s example. Notice in vss. 30-31 that there are some good and bad things about Jephthah. It is good that he desired to have the Lord to give him the victory and to give a sacrifice to the Lord. However, his vow was unnecessary and bad.

First, we should seek God’s victory in our lives. This is best done by following the Lord’s instructions, which may include battles that need to be won. We don’t want to live our lives according to our will, run into a battle, and then seek God’s victory with our battles.

Second, we should have a giving spirit. The more God does for us, the more we should want to do for God. Think about Matthew 6:21’s teaching about how where our treasures are is also where our hearts are.

Third, we don’t have to make formal vows in most cases today. Our word should be our bond. As disciples, we don’t have to avoid being sworn in for court proceedings or avoid making wedding vows. But when we do make a vow, we should be known for keeping it.

Fourth, we should be extra careful about making promises that have loose ends. Jephthah did not know what would come out of his house, after the battle. It turned out to be his daughter. It may have been his wife, a friend, or anything. Wisdom calls for us to be careful about making promises that have loose ends. Let’s work on learning from Jephthah’s example.

Conclusion: Let’s work on doing what God is calling us to do and avoiding rash vows. God has much for those who obey His will.

Read Judges 11:30-31

III. Rash Vow. Jephthah vows to the Lord in our Sunday School material. He vows to give whatever comes out of his house to the Lord, as a burnt offering. The sacrifice is based on God giving him the victory.

Applications –

- Jephthah’s example. Notice in vss. 30-31 that there are some good and bad things about Jephthah. It is good that he desired to have the Lord to give him the victory and to give a sacrifice to the Lord. However, his vow was unnecessary and bad.

First, we should seek God’s victory in our lives. This is best done by following the Lord’s instructions, which may include battles that need to be won. We don’t want to live our lives according to our will, run into a battle, and then seek God’s victory with our battles.

Second, we should have a giving spirit. The more God does for us, the more we should want to do for God. Think about Matthew 6:21’s teaching about how where our treasures are is also where our hearts are.

Third, we don’t have to make formal vows in most cases today. Our word should be our bond. As disciples, we don’t have to avoid being sworn in for court proceedings or avoid making wedding vows. But when we do make a vow, we should be known for keeping it.

Fourth, we should be extra careful about making promises that have loose ends. Jephthah did not know what would come out of his house, after the battle. It turned out to be his daughter. It may have been his wife, a friend, or anything. Wisdom calls for us to be careful about making promises that have loose ends. Let’s work on learning from Jephthah’s example.

Conclusion: Let’s work on doing what God is calling us to do and avoiding rash vows. God has much for those who obey His will.

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