When It's All On the Line
And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me? ~Judges 12:3
Risk is when we have the possibility of losing something important to us. There are risk takers, and then there are those who are risk-averse. The upside in risk is substantial reward. The downside is substantial loss. Jephthah took great risk in going to battle with the Ammonites.
We see the situation.
The Ammonites came against the Israelites to fight them for their land. The Israelites needed a valiant leader, and the elders came to the conclusion that Jephthah was the man who could lead them. Jephthah had never faced a situation like this before. If he led the nation to victory, he would be the national hero and leader. If he did not, he would be the scorn and ridicule of the nation. Tough decisions are the moments that define us. They bring out the best in us. We pray more earnestly. We assess our capabilities and weaknesses. We come to the realization that God is testing us to see how much we have faith in Him. Let us remember that “without faith it is impossible to please him.”
We see the sacrifice.
Jephthah said, “I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon.” Total risk is when we put everything on the line. It is being willing to sacrifice what you have, including your life. When I think about the founders of America, these valiant men put everything on the line. When they signed the Declaration of Independence, they made it clear that they would give everything, including their lives, for freedom from tyranny. God is most pleased when we give Him uninhibited and total sacrifice. In Revelation 12:11, it says that those who will overcome Satan during the Great Tribulation will love not their lives, even unto death. That is the ultimate sacrifice.
We see the submission.
Jephthah said, “…And the LORD delivered them into my hand.” Jephthah accepted the risk in leadership, but he also placed his complete faith in God for the outcome. Faith is obeying God to do His will without letting the risk of loss prevent you from becoming fearful and retreating. Risk is reckless if we go forward in brashness and think that we can accomplish the task without God. Faith is saturating the matter with prayer, praying for wisdom on the steps to take, and letting God work through us. Faith knows that we need God to do what is impossible. With his leadership alone, Jephthah could not accomplish the task. He had to have faith in God’s power to give him the win.
We see success.
The Ammonites were soundly defeated by Jephthah and the Israelites. Jephthah put everything on the line, and God blessed. They defeated a large foe and acquired the spoils of war. They increased their land holdings. They instilled fear in the hearts of the surrounding nations that God fought for His people. When we exercise faith, God is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Jephthah proved that he was worthy to be the leader of the nation. He proved that, despite his family background, he would not let that hinder him from doing something great for God.
Perhaps God is working in your life to put it all on the line. Will you rise to the occasion, as Jephthah did, to let go and let God?
Have a faith-exercised God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Psalms 66-69