Talk about a roller coaster ride of emotions over the past couple readings. Jephthah has been run out of town, then sought after, used by God for an enormous victory, and then had to put his daughter to death as a result of his vow to the LORD. Now, his cousins from the tribe of Ephraim are giving him a hard time for something he didn’t do.
The Jephthah we had seen previously was all about negotiating. It seems he has lost his patience. After all that has happened to him, we can perhaps understand why. Israel had won a great battle. Instead of joy and celebration, there was pettiness and quarreling.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed a lot of families broken apart by feuds that could have been avoided. Misunderstandings can explode into ugly confrontations if not controlled. Why is it that the people we should be closest to are often the ones who take the brunt of our anger?
What do you think we are supposed to learn from this? It is never a win-win proposition where jealousy, threats, or revenge is involved. There is clearly no winner here. In fact, this fiasco was very costly for the Israelite family. It’s a situation that just leaves me shaking my head.
Can you remember a time when you were wrongly accused of something or had your feelings deeply hurt? When we remember the sting, we can also remember that it was in the past. We can let it go. That can be very difficult, but when it is something we cannot change (and it’s hard to “unhear” harsh words), it serves us best to forgive and let God bring healing.
Perhaps you’re dealing with some family issues now that are still fresh and raw. Tell God how you are feeling and ask him to help you navigate through these emotions to bring healing and restoration to all involved.
Let’s pray …
Lord, I pray for families who have been ravaged by jealousy and misunderstanding. Tensions have been unusually high during this time of the pandemic. Bring your peace, Lord, to these situations. Help us to be loving and reflect grace when dealing with difficult people in our lives. Refresh me today and speak loudly to my heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.