Jephthah, From zero to be Hero



Few days ago I took time to meet my new office staff in Singapore named Zahra. She is from India then move to Singapore to get a better future. I am interested and impressed by her life background. Openly and shamelessly she tells her life bitterness. When she was 22 year old she should know a bad fact. She was an unwanted child to be born. She was born as a result of the adultery. Her parents many times tried to have an abortion yet always failed. As an unwanted child she never gets a proper affection, even handed out to one of her mother’s relatives.  That situation gives rise to hatred and rancor to her parents. But Thank you to God, the good news was she bring her bitterness to God and God enabled, strengthen, and move her heart to forgive them, even God amazingly use her in a ministry at her church in India.

My beloved readers, after I heard her touching testimony, my mind soon drifted to the one biblical figure named Jephthah that experienced the similar thing.  Jephthah’s story was written in Judges 11. Jephthah was “From zero to hero” From nothing to be something. He was born as an illegitimate child, the result of adultery relationship with a harlot. The Jephthah’s story begins with a very contrast fact.

Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah. (Judges 11:1)

Jephthah portrayed as a man that have two life’s side. On the one side he pictured as illegitimate child of a whore and rejected by his society, but on the other side he considered as  mighty man. The author of Hebrew even classifies Jephthah as a hero of faith in line with David, Samuel, Gideon, Samson, and Barak.

… For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:  who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (Hebrews 11:32-34)

As an unwanted and illegitimate child, he then expelled by his parents. “…You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” (Judges 11:2)

Then Jephthah who had been born in the unpleasant conditions must also bear the burden of which is not due to his fault. He wasted; bear hatred whole families and even his own nation as a result of his father’s deeds that should not be inflicted on him. What happens next? Because of all that, Jephthah then fled from his families, went to the land of Tob, and joined to the raider gangs. This is the life he should  bear as a result of his father’s sins. Life is so bitter, but nevertheless he continued to live.

The story continues. At one time, there was an attack against Israel carried out by the Ammonites. The Israelites was threatened and frightened. Apparently this fear makes the elders of Gilead no longer had embarrassed to pick Jephthah and asked him to become their commander to fight the Ammonites.

“Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?”  Said Jephthah to the elders of Gilead.(Judges 11:7)

My dear friends,  there are many valuable  and important things we can learn from Jephthah’s story . Let’s see the first thing. It is about forgiveness.Though Jephthah had hated and expelled from his father’s house, Jephthah was a figure who had Magnanimity. He was a figure that full of forgiveness and didn’t hold grudges. He didn’t  intend at all to take revenge to the elders of Gilead who hate and reject him;  although Jephthah could, he didn’t  take advantage of the situation to hit back them. Jephthah was already implementing what has been commanded by God:

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself… (Leviticus 19:18)

The Bible noted clearly what he did at the time: Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them… (Judges 11:11)

One question to ponder, if one day people who have hurt and hate us come to apologize for everything they did and ask us for help, what would we do to them? Take revenge and hit them back? Could we act like Jephthah with open arms we accept them with love and forgiveness and help them?  I really realize forgive someone that has been hurt us so bad is a difficult thing to do. But today let’s learn from Jephthah as a figure that have full forgiveness and as God also commanded us:

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)

do not let the sun go down on your wrath, (Ephesians 4:26b)

 The second thing we can learn is, let’s put our focus on the underline words below,

“If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head” (Judges 11: 9)

This shows us that although Jepthah was living in the tough world and full of evil, he still had a good relationship with God and He had faith in God. He didn’t say “if I defeat the Ammonites…” but he said “if the Lord delivers them to me…” He realized that if he managed to defeat the Ammonites it all not because of his own strength and ability but it all just because God gives victory to him. Also, though his life was filled with a myriad of pain and suffering, He was a figure who completely surrenders to God. Jephthah continues to rely on God incessantly. Jephthah brought the entire case to the presence of God.

and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord in Mizpah. (Judges 11:11)

This teaches us one thing, no matter how hard our lives, no matter how big our problems, no matter how big suffering should to bear and it all makes us worry and fear, we have to always totally surrender and rely on God. God’s word said:

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

(Psalm 145:18-19)

The third, through the story of Jephthah we could see that God didn’t see the good and bad of someone life background for His work. Jephthah who was born with a bad background has received God’s grace in abundance. Even the God’s Spirit came upon him.

Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah… (Judges 11:29)

God doesn’t look at whoever we are, where we came from, and how is our past.  Jephthah’s Bitterness can be transformed by God when he brought his case before the Lord. Though he lives among the raider gangs even become a leader, but the Lord chose him to be a war commander of Israel.  Here we could learn that a wasted and unwanted people will not forever waste and not appreciated. God can choose anyone no matter who they are for His Kingdom work. God’s word said:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

 The fourth thing, I found an interesting thing from Jephthah’story. Despite he was in very taugh and hard situation, Yefta was able to explore and found his potential.What kind of potential? The leadership! He said:

“If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head?” (Judges 11: 9)

It was true Jephthah was a leader of raider gangs but God even use his leadership ability become a war commander against the Ammonites. I personally learn something, although we have dark background, rejected, and experienced many bitterness of life, God still bless us a potential and gift to develop ourselves to become someone usefull for others. I do believe at the time Jephthah realized his potential and ability as a head. If not, he will not confidently say: “Shall I be your head. No matter who we are, God has given each of us grace, gift, and self-potential that can be developed, as written in Romans 12:6-8:

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

My beloved brother and sister in Christ, this evening allow me to encourage all of us to learn from Jephthah’s life.  Let us learn to become a person who always forgive those who may have been hurt and hate us. Let us always rely on God and cast all worries, problems, trials before the Lord. Let’s more realize that God can use anyone for his work. God can use someone who have dark background of life to declare His glory and mightiness. Never stop to explore our sel-potensial because the Lord has blessed us with talents and abilities that can be used by God to do good for others. Let’s always remember that God can change anyone “From zero to be Hero”, “From nothing to be something” Amen


Karina – Living by faith

Image source: google image

Bible verses source: Biblegateway


84 thoughts on “Jephthah, From zero to be Hero

  1. Amen Karina!
    Thank for sharing the story of Jephthah. I never knew his story.
    I was encouraged reading his story. He had a dark past which wasn’t his fault like you mentioned but God used him. It is so comforting to know that God can and will use anyone! He uses the foolish to confound the wise….Bless you!


    • Dear brother in Christ, Rolain.
      You are welcome, bro. Yes we all have to know that God can use anyone no matter who we are and no matter what and how our life background in the past 🙂 thank you for reading, brother. God bless you abundantly.

  2. Karina, I love the way you bring the scriptures to life. It’s amazing how they are as pertinent today as they were thousands of years ago.

  3. “God doesn’t look at whoever we are, where we came from, and how is our past. Jephthah’s Bitterness can be transformed by God when he brought his case before the Lord. Though he lives among the raider gangs even become a leader, but the Lord chose him to be a war commander of Israel. Here we could learn that a wasted and unwanted people will not forever waste and not appreciated. God can choose anyone no matter who they are for His Kingdom work. God’s word said..”

    This was so beautifully said. Wow. Thank you for your writing. I was so encouraged by that.

  4. It is not often that people choose to write about Jephthah, but I’m so glad you did 🙂 He made the choice to turn to God in a bad situation, which is a great encouragement to us and hopefully to those who have been struggling without God. Thank you for reminding us how much God can use us if we are willing to give everything, even our anger and bitterness, to Him.

    • Dear Lauren,
      Thank you very much for your lovely comment. Jephthah’s story made me learn many things actually and I love to write about his life 🙂 thank you and God bless you, sweet friend .

  5. Pingback: My Article Read (2-3-2016) – My Daily Musing

  6. Very inspirational message of forgiveness. Wish someone would write a novel or make a movie about him and his calling. Thank you for taking the time to write it. Your new employee is a very lucky women to be hired by you, in my opinion. I hope she works out to be another Jephthah.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

  7. What a great story sis! You have used an excellent example of a person from the bible who overcame so much. He could have been bitter and full of rage and never forgiven anyone his circumstances in life, but he didn’t. He followed the laws of God’s command to forgive and has been blessed for it.

    You did a great job here Karin. I’m more proud of you with every post you write!! Oh and by the way, a Happy New Year to you coming on Monday, Feb. 8th! May you and yours enjoy the new year with great blessings from the Lord!

    Brother Steve 🙂

    • Hello brother,
      Thank you very much for your encouraging comment, bto. I have learned so much important thing from Jephthah’s life. And also thank you for your upcomin New Year greeting. I really appreciate it. God bless you, brother.

      • You know I mean every word of it too! You are one of my very special readers and people here. I have the utmost respect for how you handle your life, both personal and Christian!

        God love and keep you Karin…


          • Happy New Year! Hope you are enjoying the celebration. Hope you nor any friends or family were hurt in that Tainan earthquake!

            God love and keep you safe, Karin…

            TTYL, sis!

          • Hello brother,
            Thank you, brother 🙂 I have some families and friends there but thank you to God they are in very well condition just got a bit impact of the earthquake. Once again thank you for asking 🙂 God bless you, brother.

          • Hi sis! Well I’m glad to hear none of your family nor friends were hurt! Those buildings are not the safest and it is strange to compare them with the buildings here in California. Here, such an earthquake as that wouldn’t be much of a big deal at all. Thank the Lord for that!

            All the best to you and yours, Karin, and hope all is going well in both your business and personal life…

            Talk again with you soon…

            Steve 🙂

  8. Thank you for this, Karina. It has great relevance to victims of child abuse. I always find that you think deeply about Scripture. I will have to check, but Leviticus 19: 18 may be the first time in Scripture the directive to love our neighbor is given. ❤

    • Dear sister Anna,
      You are much welcome, sis. In the old testament, yes leviticus is the first scripture that wrote to love ou neighbor, I thought. Once again thank you for the lovely comment, sis 🙂 God bless.

    • Hello sister in Christ Marianne..
      Thank you very much for reading my post. Yes definitely you can share this post to your would be a great honor to me. Thank you and God bless 🙂

  9. Awesome! So encouraging and what I needed to hear. I pray God stir up the gifts and talents in me for His glory and show me exactly what they’re!

  10. I love your opening description of meeting Zahra and finding out about her past. How wonderful that she found her way to your office staff! There are so many Zahras and Jephthahs among us. Thank you, Karina, for this encouraging, inspiring post.

    • Dear sister in Christ Elouise,
      Your are welcome,sis :)Thank you very much for your lovely comment, sis. Yes indeed there are so many other Zahra and Jephthah around us and they can use by God amazingly for His Kingdom work. Thank you and God bless you. Have a wonderful Sunday 🙂

  11. A very good message Karina with much Truth, Forgiveness is very important, bitterness, resentment and seeking revenge eat away all the goodness in us like Cancer.

    My early years started much the same as Jephthah’s life did, I will leave a link below for you Karina and yes Forgiveness was very much needed.


    “Christ”ian Love – Anne.

  12. Karina,an amazing, and wonderfully inspiring write with life nuggets from His living word sprinkled throughout. I am on the mend, and your message blessed my day with a special inner healing. I can always count on having a hearty spiritual meal when I am able to eat the delights from your table. I am blessed to have you as a sister! God bless you and your family!

  13. It’s sad to think that something like a “caste system” is still practiced in areas of India.
    Getting the strength to break away from such a tradition into which one is born is quite a brave move– considering family and/or religious pressures there. Nice post, Karina.

  14. WOW Karina!

    That was a very powerful Bible lesson of God moving in ones life, despite being ‘born out of wedlock- a bastard’ to be a ruler of Israel. This is very much what God wants to do in our lives also, to change us from glory to glory into His image, to make us sons & daughters like Jesus Christ!

    2Co3:18 states ‘But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’.

    Also Heb3:10 ‘For it became (God), for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation (Jesus) perfect through sufferings’.

    But what you have written here ‘From Zero to Hero’ is so profound from the Holy Spirit much beyond your youth and scholarship! God has indeed blessed and gifted you with much wisdom!

    Agape and Aloha,
    Uncle Wyman in Hawaii

    • Dear Uncle,
      Thank you very much for your encouraging comment on my post 🙂 Also thank you the bible verses. It will become my further lesson to me.Thank you so much,uncle. God bless you and your families.

  15. Pingback: “Jephthah, From zero to be Hero” 3/02/2016 Written by Karina Susanto | God's group

  16. Thank you for your like of my post, “Seventh, Sabbath, Shabbat, Shalom.” Your kindness is greatly appreciated.

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