Judges 12:1-3   The men of Ephraim called out their forces, crossed over to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you?  We’re going to burn down your house over your head.”  Jephthah answered, “I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the Ammonites, and although I called, you didn’t save me out of their hands.  When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave me the victory over them.  Now why have you come up today to fight me?”

Jephthah, like many others of the ‘Judges’, is an amazing trophy of God’s grace.  The son of a prostitute, he was ostracised by all his half-brothers and spent his youth fending for himself among street kids.  In God’s providence, this ‘training’ in ‘the school of hard knocks’ put him in a good position to lead Israel against the attacks of the surrounding nations – but it also put him in constant conflict with the other tribes of Israel who had been put into the humiliating position of having to seek out the help of this ‘outcast’, and had then become extremely jealous of his resounding successes!

Jephthah’s wholehearted devotion to the LORD, and the way he dealt with this unfair treatment from his brothers, qualified him for a place among the ‘Heroes of the Faith’ in Hebrews 11 (verse 32).  God is no ‘respecter of persons’, and CAN and WILL use whomever he will to carry out his sovereign purposes.  We must never limit God’s grace and power; we must never write anyone off as we have the opportunity to impact the lives of young people – there could be a Jephthah among them!  John Newton, the blaspheming, people-trading, drunkard is another, more modern, example of God’s ‘amazing grace’, and how God uses his ‘trophies’ to achieve great things in Kingdom work.
– Bruce Christian