By Faith, Live! (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Intro:

I never want to brag or boast of my running; actually I have been struggling with running in the past few months. But a few years ago, especially three years ago, I was really good. I was a good runner. It felt really good to run. I was at my lowest weight and I could go. So, my distance kept increasing and then I signed up for a marathon. I have now ran three marathons. My medals are up here.

I started training and running further and further. It was January 2013 and I would run out in the country and I would be doing so good. My time was good, my distance was good and then I would hit some big hills and some big wind, then I would slow down. That wind was very demoralizing. The hills were very demoralizing. They weighted me down. But I was aiming for a marathon and that was my goal. I wanted to be ready.

I got to the Marathon and I was ready. I went down certain streets and there was a great cloud of people on each side of the streets cheering me on. That was very exciting. That moved me along. The wind was down as well.

Who do you think would win a Sidney to Melbourne Ultramarathon:

How about cliff Young? In 1983, the 61-year-old potato farmer won the inaugural Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon, a distance of 875 kilometres (544 mi). The race was run between what were then Australia’s two largest Westfield shopping centres: Westfield Parramatta, in Sydney, and Westfield Doncaster, in Melbourne.[4] He ran at a slow loping pace and trailed the leaders for most of the first day, but by running while the others slept, he took the lead the first night and maintained it for the remainder of the race, eventually winning by ten hours.

Before running the race, he told the press that he had previously run for two to three days straight rounding up sheep in gumboots.[5] He claimed afterwards that during the race, he imagined that he was running after sheep and trying to outrun a storm. The Westfield run took him five days, 15 hours and four minutes,[1] almost two days faster than the previous record for any run between Sydney and Melbourne. All six competitors who finished the race broke the previous record. Despite attempting the event again in later years, Young was unable to repeat this performance or claim victory again.[1]

Imagine that? Wow?

But generally when we are running it gets harder if we have more weight hold us down. In the early Olympic games they would train with weight and then run naked.

Who here as seen someone run a marathon in a suit and tie?

A few weeks ago I was running with someone and we got caught in a storm, by the end of the run we were weighted down, soaked with water.

I once tried ankle weights, those make running difficult.

In the winter I bundle up and I always think f how nice it would be to lose the layers and the weight.

I many time am pushing Mercedes and Abigail and so I have extra weight to push while running.

Okay, enough about that. My point is in running we must get rid of extra stuff.

Today’s passage pictures the Christian life that way. We must get rid of the extra weight holding us back from serving the Lord.

My point:

God is faithful we can trust Him, by faith live for Jesus.

So, Eyes on Jesus, God is Faithful we can trust Him.

Let’s read: Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

 

  1. First, this passage says we have a great cloud of witnesses.
    1. This great cloud of witnesses are the people that have gone before us, mainly and specifically these heroes of faith which we have been talking about for the past several weeks.
    2. Listen, this great cloud of witnesses are NOT people in Heaven looking down on us. No, not at all. There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that people in Heaven can watch us. Okay. The great cloud of witnesses are the heroes of faith. If you look right here it says Hebrews 12:1, but in reality the chapters and verse numbers were added later and let me tell you, I am glad they were added because it would be quite difficult for me to stand up here and say, “Turn three fourths of the way through Hebrews and join me where it says, “Therefore.” That would be difficult. Chapters were added in the middle ages while a man on horseback rode to Paris. I am very thankful for these divisions, but sometimes they are at the wrong place. This is one of those times.
    3. Chapter 12 goes along with chapter 11.
    4. God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    5. I believe we can make the case that each one of these people from the Old Testament Heroes of Faith would say, “God is faithful, we can trust Him.”
    6. Abel would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    7. Enoch would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    8. Noah, who built the ark when people had never seen rain, would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    9. Abraham, father of our faith would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    10. Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    11. Moses would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    12. Rahab would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    13. Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    14. The prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jonah and the rest would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    15. These are all the witnesses that went before us. They were imperfect, that had flaws, but the pattern was that they trusted God in what God had called them to do.
    16. In context, the people that Hebrews was written to struggled with staying true to Christ. They were Jewish Christians considering backsliding. The author is reminding them by the examples of these Old Testament heroes to stay true to the faith. God is faithful.
  2. Second, get rid of the distractions. This is the second major purpose in this passage.
    1. He says to throw off everything that hinders us. Remember the opening of my sermon about weight? Who runs with a bunch of weight? No, we lighten our load. Likewise as a Christian we get rid of the way keeping us from serving the Lord. This weight may be sin or just things keeping us from following Jesus fully.
    2. We could be dealing with two types of sins:
      1. Sins of commission: these are things we do that we should not do.
        1. Pride
        2. Envy
        3. Lust
        4. Lying
        5. Cheating
        6. Stealing
        7. Hate
        8. Jealousy
        9. Gossip
        10. Idolatry
        11. Adultery
      2. Then there are sins of omission. These are things that you don’t do that you should do.
        1. Not loving God
        2. Not loving people
        3. Not spending time in the Word
        4. Not learning
      3. Other things: there are other things that weigh us down.
        1. These could be things that are not sins at all but are just weighting us down.
          1. This may be not serving our church.
          2. This could be not studying but watching TV too much.
  • This could be some relationship that we are in that brings us down.
  1. The race of the Christian life is marked out for us. We must run with aim, looking towards the finish line. (1 Cor. 9:24-27)
  2. The Christian life is marked out in God’s Word.
  • Verse 2 tells us to keep our eyes on Jesus.
    1. All of those people in the Hall of Faith section failed. They all messed up, but one did not mess up and that is Jesus.
    2. We have our model; Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.
    3. He endured the cross and the shame of the cross and then sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    4. We must run the Christian life as with aim. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus did it right. We must persevere and stay the course.
    5. We must get rid of things that are holding us back and stay focused.
    6. God wants to use all of us, but we have weights in our Christian life and we must release the weights and look at Jesus.

Close:

Jesus wants to use us to lead people to come to know Him as Lord and Savior. These weights are keeping us from leading people to salvation.

There are about 22,000 people in Alliance about 75,000 people in the surrounding area. At least 50 percent of them need Jesus. I think it is actually way higher than that.

That is at least 11,000 in Alliance will die and go to hell because they don’t know Jesus.

At least 37,500 in the surrounding communities will die and go to hell without Jesus.

So, focus on Jesus, live for Him, be a witness for Him.

Popcorn: I have popcorn up here. Let’s say that each cornel represents 100 people, so each zip lock back which I have represents 5,000 people. I have 7 zip lock bags up here and I am going to dump them out one by one onto this table. 7 Zip lock bags represent 35,000 people who need Jesus.

All these people [as I dump a bag out] are going to hell without Jesus.                

So, focus on Jesus, live for Him, be a witness for Him.

Let’s pray the Lord’s prayer:

Our Father, which art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done,

in earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever.

Amen.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Young_(athlete)

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BY Faith, Daniel

Intro:

Dottie Peoples: I see the Handwriting on the Wall

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pseEVLE4ioU

So, today we look at Daniel’s faith and I am going to the passage about the handwriting on the wall. Listen, if you ever think God needs us, He doesn’t, He chooses to use us.

By Faith Daniel, let’s talk about Daniel.

My theme and challenge: Be Like Daniel: Daniel served the Lord all his days, he was bold and he was ready to give an answer.

Let’s read Daniel 5:1-31: Tonya reads:

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.

The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck,and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. So King Belshazzar became even more terrifiedand his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.

10 The queen, hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. 12 He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar,was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”

13 So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 15 The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it.16 Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.

18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.

22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

25 “This is the inscription that was written:

mene, mene, tekel, parsin

26 “Here is what these words mean:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

Be like Daniel: my sermon revolves around the applications.

  1. First, Daniel is bold. We must be bold in what God calls us to do.
    1. Daniel calls out a king and the nobles in sin. Did you notice that? Think about it. There are 1000 nobles and their wives and concubines in this massive thrown room and Daniel is called in and he reads the writing on the wall. But even before that in verses 22-24 Daniel tells the king he is arrogant and he will have to learn a lesson in humility. In verses 17-21 Daniel talks about how Nebuchadnezzar had pride but God brought him down and that is in chapter 4. Then in Daniel 5:22-24:

 “But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

  1. That took guts. Does Daniel realize who he is talking to?
  2. Does Daniel realize that he is out numbered?
  3. It doesn’t matter because— Our God is so big, so strong and so might there is nothing that our God can’t do. The mountains are big, the valleys are big, the stars are his handiwork too. Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing that our God can’t do.
  4. Daniel was bold because he knew that he served a big God, a strong God. In chapter 3:19-25 his friends are saved from a fiery furnace. In the previous chapter he watched God bring down the great Nebuchadnezzar. In the next chapter he will be delivered from the Lion’s Den. In chapters 8-10 he has visions from Gabriel. Yes, there were 1000 nobles and a king in front of him, but he knew that He served the true king.
  5. We must be bold regardless of where we are or who we are talking to as well. We also serve the True King. We serve a strong God and we don’t need to fear. Remember God’s message to the Apostle Paul: Acts 18:9-10: One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
    1. There is a movie with Michael Douglas called, An American President. In the movie there is a lobbyist who was prepared to go into a meeting with the President and tell him exactly what should happen. However, she entered the Oval Office and entered another room at the White House and she is in a meeting and she cannot say it. She says, “I am a little intimidated by my surroundings.”
    2. Look we have no reason to be intimidated by our surroundings. We have Jesus with us.
  • Daniel was not intimidated. But he was ready. He was ready to give an answer.
  1. Also, Daniel is old. We must serve God all our days.
    1. Daniel was likely 80 years old and retired or forgotten, yet he was available and called out sin.
    2. We must live a life after Jesus and finish well. We must not give up.
    3. It seems obvious that Daniel could have known that Babylon was under attack, yet he still came and ministered. He could have known that Babylon suffered a crushing defeat north of their city. He could have thought this was too dangerous, he could have thought he was too old, yet he still came to minister.
    4. Daniel might have known that he was going to be ministering with people in deep sin. He could have known that they were participating in drunkenness and maybe, likely, sexual acts. It sounds like what was going on was actually a drunken orgy, but Daniel went right in and ministered. He could have said that he was too old for this. He did not. He ministered.
  2. Daniel was ready to give an answer. We must be ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15).

 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…

  1. Daniel knew the language of Aramaic.
  2. Daniel had served the Lord and was in a position where God could use him.
  3. Are we ready to be used of God?
    1. Notice how this passage, 1 Peter 3:15, begins with: “Revere Christ as Lord.” Some translations say, “Set apart Christ as Lord…”
    2. Are we doing this? Are we pursuing God? Are we setting Him apart as Lord?
  • Is Jesus Lord of our lives?
  1. How else are we to be ready?
  2. We must study the Word.
  3. We must study culture.
  4. 1 Chron 12:32: men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do…
  5. We must study apologetics.
  6. We must be ready.

There were a number of prophesies about all of this:

Isaiah 13:17:

See, I will stir up against them the Medes,
who do not care for silver
and have no delight in gold.

Jeremiah 50:14

“Take up your positions around Babylon,
all you who draw the bow.
Shoot at her! Spare no arrows,
for she has sinned against the Lord.

Jeremiah 51:31-32:

One courier follows another
and messenger follows messenger
to announce to the king of Babylon
that his entire city is captured,
32 the river crossings seized,
the marshes set on fire,
and the soldiers terrified.”

Let me tell what happened to Babylon:

Having lost a brief skirmish outside the walls of Babylon, Belshazzar had retreated to the city and made light of the coming Persian siege. The Babylonians had 20 years of provisions, and the city was a seemingly impregnable fortress. Nevertheless, Darius diverted the waters of the Euphrates and entered below the water gates. He took the city that same night without a battle and killed Belshazzar. Xenophon noted that the city fell while the Babylonians were in the midst of a drunken feast. The kingdom of Babylon fell just as foretold by Daniel in his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue (2:39). The head of gold (Babylon) had fallen and was replaced by the chest and arms of silver (Medo-Persia) (2:40).

(2014-03-15). The Moody Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 53845-53848). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Close:

Daniel, he was ready. He was ready and available to be used of God and look how God used him. You know that I still hear the phrase about the handwriting on the wall? I still hear people saying, “they saw the writing on the wall.” That came from Daniel.

I believe that God wants to use you. I believe that God wants to use me. I believe that God wants to use us. We all have people who need the Lord. We can be like Daniel.

In your bulletin there is a piece of paper. I am going to give you a minute to fill this in. Please take it out and answer the questions:

Who have your family, friends and acquaintances needs Jesus?

How can you witness to them?

Do you need to be more intentional?

Pray for them…

Please take that home and stick somewhere in order to remind you to pray for these people. Pray that God gives you opportunities to witness. You never know: God may give you handwriting on a wall. Maybe you need to take advantage of what God gives you. Maybe you need to write some letters talking about your faith. Maybe you need to take them out to lunch and talk.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

David and Goliath and the Holiness of God

Intro:

I heard about a Methodist Church that closed down. The church became a reception center and someone said with disgust, “They have the bar, right where the pulpit used to be!”

What is the big deal?

This is a big deal because the pulpit is usually viewed as representative of God’s Word being preached and because of the preaching of the Word happening there, the pulpit is considered

“sacred”

“holy”

“set apart”

We think the same things about our Bible, or we used to. I know of a missionary who was working in a country and she had her Bible on the floor under a chair and as she was sitting she casually allowed her foot to end up on top of the Bible. The people in that country were offended. They were offended because Bibles were hard to get and so they were set apart, holy.

The Bible is holy.

What is your view of God?

Do you view God as holy?

Do you view God as set apart?

Do you think that someday you will stand before God and you will cower in His presence?

I have a dog that is about 15 pounds and I have seen him chase deer. A few weeks ago I saw him chasing turkey. How dumb dogs can be. They don’t realize what they are trifling with. I would say the same with us. We trifle with the Holiness of God and it is a dangerous game. We chase sin, we condone sin, even corporately and we are messing with the holiness of God. Sin, is always, always, breaking the holiness of God. Technically sin is breaking relationship with God. Yet, we act like nothing is wrong. We don’t realize how awesome God is.

Just think of creation:

HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD?

Tony Campolo was once confronted by an atheist who was one of his students. The young man told Campolo, “For me to believe in God, I have to have a God that I can understand.”

And Campolo replied, “God refuses to be that small!”[1]

Crazy Love, Francis Chan writes:

Have you ever thought about how diverse and creative God is? He didn’t have to make hundreds of different kinds of bananas, but He did. He didn’t have to put three thousand different species of trees within one square mile in the Amazon jungle, but He did. God didn’t have to create so many kinds of laughter. Think about the different sounds of your friends’ laughs—wheezes, snorts, silent, loud, obnoxious. 

How about the way plants defy gravity by drawing water upward from the ground into their stems and veins? Or did you know that spiders produce three kinds of silk? When they build their webs, they create 60 feet of silk in one hour, simultaneously producing special oil on their feet that prevents them from sticking to their own web. (Most of us hate spiders, but 60 feet an hour deserves some respect!) Coral plants are so sensitive that they can die if the water temperature varies by even one or two degrees. 

Did you know that when you get goose bumps, the hair is actually helping you stay warmer by trapping body heat? Or what about the simple fact that plants take in carbon dioxide (which is harmful to us) and produce oxygen (which we need to survive)? I’m sure you knew that, but have you ever marveled at it? And these same poison-swallowing, life-giving plants came from a tiny seed that was put in the dirt. Some were watered, some weren’t; but after a few days, they poked through the soil and out into the warm sunlight. 

God is awesome, God is great!

Remember the song I have used:

Our God is so big so strong and so mighty, there is nothing that my God can’t do.

The mountains are big, the valleys are big, the stars are His handiwork too.

Our God is so big so strong and so mighty, there is nothing that my God can’t do.
We sing that song not realizing the incredible implication. If God is big, strong and mighty and if He has a standard and we break that standard, then we better be more than afraid.

Prov 15:33

The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom,

and humility comes before honor.

Prov 19:23

The fear of the LORD leads to life:

Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Rev. 7:11 and 11:16 the people fall on their faces before God. In the Old Testament we would see the same thing.

In John 18:6 the people came to arrest Jesus and they arrived and Jesus said, “Who is it you want?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said, “I am He.” When Jesus said this they fell down. With just a breath of His nostrils they fell down.

In the Old Testament Moses wanted to see God’s glory:

Ex 33:18-20

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

No one can see God and live. God is holy.

Now, I want to look at David and Goliath and I want to show you something about this passage.

As we look at the passage I must talk about correct interpretation. Bible scholars will say it is improper to look at this passage and say that God is going to take care of your giants as well. That is not the purpose of the account. David is fighting for God. In similar ways it is improper to look at the passage in which Jesus calms the storm (Matt. 8:24ff) and say, “Jesus will calm the storms in your life too.” That is not correct interpretation. That is not the purpose of that account.

It seems clear that David is fighting for God’s army. But further, I believe that David is defending God’s honor. David is offended by what offends God and that is blasphemy.

Goliath is an enemy of God’s people and God uses David to take him down. Goliath has blasphemed God. Goliath is calling curses down on God’s people by his “pagan” gods. I believe this narrative is about the holiness of God.

In  1 Samuel 16 God wants to choose a king after His own heart and so David is anointed. In 1 Samuel 17 we see why. David could not sit by and watch this guy curse God’s people and blaspheme God.

I heard a story about a man hiking in Alaska and he got too close to some bear cubs. But momma bear as behind them. This man was mauled and barely lived.

Goliath is like a big man going against a little man, but he doesn’t realize the bigger Man behind the little man. The bigger Man is God.

God is behind David. Goliath thinks he is simply mocking the Israelite people, but he is mocking God.

God’s wrath is mentioned some 700 times in the Bible. Don’t trivialize this attribute of God.

Also, we are to pursue holiness. The Bible says: “Be holy for I am holy.” (Lev. 20:7; Heb. 10:26; 1 Jn. 3:6)

The theme:

David trusts God as he defeats Goliath when Goliath was blaspheming.

The application:

Simply: Don’t mess with the holiness of God as that is what Goliath was doing.

Be ready to be used of God even when confronting sin and remember God is really the One using you. God is really the One fighting the battle. Have no fear.

Read with me 1 Samuel 17:41-50:

 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the  birds and the wild animals!”

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

  1. I want to begin with an overview of the story. As we look at this, notice this is not simply against Israel but against God.
    1. 1 Samuel 17:1-19: Goliath’s challenge
      1. First we have an introduction to Goliath. He would have been about 9 foot and 9 inches tall. There is another interpretation dating back to Josephus that he would have been 6 foot 9 inches tall. In that day the average man was about 5 foot 5 inches tall. So, Goliath is still very tall.
    2. 1 Samuel 17:20-30: David accepts Goliath’s challenge
      1. 1 Samuels 17:20-23: Prelude: David sees the battle
      2. 1 Samuel 17:24-25: David hears the fear in the Israelites and the king’s reward for the one who kills Goliath
  • 1 Samuels 17:26-27: David is shocked by the way this man is able to taunt the Israelites
  1. 1 Samuels 17:31-58: David accepts the challenge and kills Goliath
    1. 1 Samuel 17: 48-49: Goliath is killed
  2. By the way, who is the major player in this passage?
    1. Any guesses?
    2. We might think David, but I am inclined to think this story is about how God won the battle.
  • I do not think that David won by his aim.
  1. They do say that a man could hurl a stone with the slingshot at 100 mph and the stones would be the size of tennis balls, but I still believe it was God that did this.
  2. God gave David the confidence.
  3. God gave David the ability.
  • God guided those stones.
  • God allowed Saul to let David fight the battle.
  1. God made that stone knock out Goliath.
  2. God did it all.
  1. Blasphemy is the major issue
    1. As David came against Goliath, Goliath mocked him first. Then Goliath cursed David by his gods. (verse 43) This means that at this point Goliath is using the pagan gods to curse David. This is not an issue of David, this is an issue of proclaiming a god other than the true God. This is an issue of blasphemy.
    2. By the way, by cursing one of Abraham’s descendants Goliath was bringing a curse on himself. Gen. 12:3: I will bless those who bless you,
      and whoever curses you I will curse;
      and all peoples on earth
      will be blessed through you
      .”
    3. Also: According to the Torah, any individual guilty of blasphemy—even a non-Israelite—must be stoned (Lev 24:16). Perhaps this was an underlying reason why David chose the weapon he did in confronting the Philistine;59 even before serving as Israel’s king, David would prove himself to be a diligent follower of the Torah and thus a man after the Lord’s heart. At the same time, of course, David’s use of the sling and stone also must have been motivated by the fact that he was skillful in their use and the weapon was especially suited for exploiting Goliath’s vulnerabilities.[2]

Lev. 24:16:‘Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.[3]

  1. David was provoked. David was provoked because this giant mocked God and committed blasphemy.
  2. This was not only when David actually went against Goliath. We can go back further in the account. In verses 8-11 he is shouting out against Israel: Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
  3. Then in verse 23 the Bible says that Goliath was speaking the same words and David was hearing them.
  4. In verses 26-27 David responds: What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgracefrom Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?
  5. Notice how David says “defy the armies of the ‘Living God’?”
  6. David is defending God in this passage, but in reality David is really being used of God. Sometimes we think we are the ones making the moves, we are the ones fighting the battle, but if we are doing what God wants us to do, He is the one fighting the battle.
  • Are we offended by what offends God?
    1. If this passage is about David defending the holiness of God, as I believe it is, are we bothered when God is mocked in our society?
    2. There is no big giant out there mocking God for you to literally and physically take out. But God’s holiness is trifled with.
    3. Jeremiah 6:15 and 8:12 says that the people do not know how to blush.
    4. The people are so caught in sin, so desensitized by it, it no longer causes them to blush.
    5. Does sin bother you?
    6. I am going to talk about sin in your life and in your family or friends, because if it is in your home and you are an adult you could maybe say something, but you are afraid. If they are your children or grandchildren you need to say something, you better. Let me repeatedly say that I am not talking about struggles , but condoned, repeated, sin with an “I don’t care attitude.”
    7. Are you bothered when your children or grandchildren use God’s name in vain?
    8. Are you bothered when the television is on at home and people are watching something that would offend God? Are you watching it?
      1. Pornography in the home?
      2. Shows that endorse sex outside of marriage?
  • Shows that endorse adultery?
  1. Shows that endorse homosexual behavior?
  2. Shows, literature, radio that makes fun of people in homosexual behavior?
  3. Racist shows?
  1. Are we stuck in sin and not getting help? When I am talking about sin that needs taking care of I am not talking about sin that you or someone else is struggling with. No, I am talking about giving over to sin. I am talking about condoning sin.
  2. What about addictions?
  3. Are you, or do some in your home entertain lustful thoughts?
  4. What about thoughts of murder and hate?
  5. What about when God is mocked?
  6. What about denying God as the creator, all powerful ruler?
  7. What about denying God as the Savior? Does this bother you?
  8. Pray and ask God to soften your heart to Him. Ask God to make it that you are convicted.
  9. Listen, if I come to your house and make fun of your spouse or your children will that bother you? Then why does it not bother you when your Savior is mocked, made fun of?
  1. Once you are offended, now slay the giant? This may be in your life or those closest to you.
    1. Now, don’t fear. If you are the one dealing with sin, you have a Goliath in your life. With God’s help we can knock it out. Talk with me, a prayer partner, seek God.
    2. If there is a repetitive condoning of sin in your family and this is a “so-called” believer talk to them.
    3. I am not saying, nor will I say, to excommunicate them, or cut off the relationship. I am saying talk to them. They may not know.
    4. I was in JROTC and the instructor said Jesus Christ in vain. He also talked laughingly about drunkenness. I later talked with him. He quoted the one verse that every pseudo Christian knows and often uses wrongly. He quoted Matthew 7:1 that says don’t judge. But the problem with that is that that particular passage is about over scrupulous judging, not talking to someone about sin. Later in the same passage Jesus talks about recognizing false prophets, so then we are judging. Also, when we use the Bible as our guide, God is judging through His Word. This NJROTC instructor later talked to the class about the dangers of drunkenness so there was a positive effect of our conversation.
    5. I have had to be involved in people abusing spouses verbally and in other ways, but I had to say something and work with the family.
    6. As you slay the giant, God is really the one doing the slaying.
    7. Some things may have waited too long, maybe it is past time to deal with this.
    8. Maybe you have family members that have the biggest GIANT, they don’t know Christ and you are there to share Jesus with them. Slay that giant.

I must say that in the Old Testament they were called to do drastic things like stone people to death for sin. We don’t need to even consider this. We must be full of grace and full of truth. They had to do that because they were setting up a Jewish Nation State. They had civil and religious laws in the Old Testament.

This also was showing the intense holiness of God.

God is Holy.

Ps 66:18

If I had cherished sin in my heart,

the Lord would not have listened…

Hab 1:13

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;

you cannot tolerate wrong.

Isaiah 6: even the angels cover their eyes at God’s holiness:

Isa 6:1-5:

 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

We are sinners in the hands of an angry God. The only way to fix this is to repent and turn our lives over to Christ.

Close:

How does this relate to today?

David conquers Goliath.

But why does David conquer Goliath. It is not so simple as that Goliath  was challenging the Israelites. No, he was challenging God. He was even committing blasphemy.

I always thought of this story simply about a common iron age battle. It is not a common iron age battle. I always thought of this story to be about fearless David who was simply not afraid to be the warrior they needed, but that is not the whole truth.

David was convicted to battle Goliath. David was provoked as a young child around 13 years old. He was provoked when the whole Israelite army was not.

David was called by God to confront the sin of blasphemy and he didn’t bat an eye. David was fearless because he feared God and defended God’s name knowing that he was on the Lord’s side, he stood firm in his faith.

In this passage David is confronted. David is appalled at the way the Israelites refuse to respond to defend God. So David responds.

Slay the Giant. This may be not tolerating sin in your life or others in your household. This may be confronting sin.

There was new recently of a pastor of a church in Canada who came out as an atheist some 12 years ago. For some 12 years her church has condoned having a pastor who does not believe in God. Be ready to be used of God to confront sin as David did, but not with a sling and a stone, but with the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

James 5:20

remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Gal 6:1

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

[1] (From a sermon by Jeff Strite, Trusting in Ravens, 8/8/2011)

59 Whether or not Goliath’s blasphemy was the primary reason for David’s use of the slingstone to kill Goliath, the writer of 1, 2 Samuel has certainly gone to considerable lengths elsewhere in the presentation of David’s life to demonstrate that this king was scrupulous in his observance of Torah regulations—with one tragic exception (2 Sam 11:3–4).

[2] Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel, vol. 7, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 195–196.

[3] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Le 24:16.

By Faith Samuel (1 Samuel 3)

Intro:

Night time is way different in my house from say two years ago. Night time is different from three years ago and five years ago, wow! Sleep was easy then. Now, I notice every noise. I think about every noise. In seminary and college I would stay up late to work. It was no problem because I knew when I went to bed I could sleep. If it was two hours I knew that I could sleep soundly. Now, this is not the case. Now, I may head to bed at 1:00 A.M. and I lay down and start to go to sleep and then I hear footsteps. I look over and there is Mercedes, “Daddy, can I sleep in your room?”

Let’s travel back 2200 years and talk about another man and his night, just one particular night. This man was Eli and he was a judge and a priest.

Twas the night of Samuel’s calling and all through the Temple not a creature was making noise except Samuel.

Read with me 1 Samuel 3:

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.

One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God,[a] and he failed to restrain them.14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”

Samuel answered, “Here I am.”

17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.

  1. Let’s talk about Samuel.
    1. It seems that in 1 Samuel 3 Eli and Samuel are laying down for the night.
    2. Samuel would sleep in a room near the Ark of God.
    3. It wasn’t that late yet because the lamps of God were still lit.
    4. In Exodus chapter 27:20-21 God had told them to bring clear oil to keep the lamps burning. The candlestick which was 7 branched was filled with just enough oil to burn through one night.
    5. The Lord gave the Israelites the instructions to make this candlestick in Exodus 25:31-39. Anyways, they were still lit and now God tried to communicate to Samuel.
    6. In 1 Samuel 1 his mother would come to the temple to pray. Hannah was a Godly woman. She couldn’t have children but she wanted to badly.
    7. She came to the House of God every year and would sacrifice and pray for a son. She was praying and wept bitterly. She made a vow to God that if He gave her a son she would give him to the Lord all the days of His life.
    8. Eli saw her praying and her lips were moving but she wasn’t talking. Eli thought she was drunk and rebuked her. It was then that she explained her great distress. She went home and God gave her a son. This son is now Samuel. Hannah weaned him and then dedicated him to the Lord’s service. (That is all from 1 Samuel 1)
    9. Now Samuel was ministering to the Lord with Eli.
    10. He is only 12 years old. Eli was approaching his 98th year and his son’s are not godly men. (1 Samuel 2:22; 4:15)
    11. Verse 1 says that word from the Lord was rare at that time and so were visions.
    12. Think about this, this is critical. God had not communicated to the people.
    13. But on this night something miraculous happened.
    14. Eli and Samuel are both in bed.
    15. Samuel heard a voice calling his name. “Samuel!” thought it was Eli.
    16. Eli hears Samuel’s feet walking towards his room. Eli wonders what is going on.
    17. Samuel asked what Eli needed.
    18. I am sure that Samuel is used to helping Eli in the night.
    19. Eli told him, “I didn’t call.”
    20. It seems that Eli had no idea what this was. Again, remember the word from the Lord was rare in those days.
    21. Maybe Eli thought he might be dreaming.
    22. But Samuel heard it again. Again, Eli hears Sam’s feet entering to his room.
    23. Neither of them knew it yet but it was the Lord.
    24. The Lord said: “Samuel!!!”
    25. Eli told him to go lie down.
    26. Samuel didn’t know the Lord yet and God’s word was not revealed to him yet.(1 Samuel 3:7) That is why he didn’t know it was from God.
    27. The Lord called him again. Again, Eli heard his feet coming to his room. But this time Eli knew it was the Lord. Eli instructed Samuel to say, “Speak Lord for thy servant is listening.” Samuel went back to bed and this time the Lord actually came to Him. Samuel could actually tell that His presence was there. In fact verse 10 it says the Lord came and “stood” and called…” The Lord said, “SAMUEL!!! SAMUEL!!!” Samuel responded speak, for Your servant is listening.” The Lord told Samuel some awesome things that night. Then the Lord begins to powerfully use Samuel.
  2. We must minister as Samuel ministers
  3. Josephus says the boy was probably around 12 years old and he was serving the Lord through Eli. (Also, see Luke 2:42 and Jesus at the temple at 12)
  4. His mom dedicated him to God. (1 Sa. 1:28)
  5. Each time Samuel heard his name he jumped up to see what was needed. Are we that ready to serve?
  6. Are we willing to be dedicated to God? Are we willing to dedicate our children? Are we willing to serve as Samuel served?
  7. Samuel, being a servant and being dedicated to God was able to hear God. There was not a distraction.
  8. What is distracting you from hearing God? Are you in the Word? Are you connected to the Body of Christ?

(The next point is because Samuel didn’t have any distractions He head God’s supernatural calling.)

  1. We must be encouraged by Samuel’s calling
  2. Samuel was called 4 times
  3. The word for “call in verse 4” then in verse 10: on the fourth time God stood beside him.

God speaks through His Spirit in:

In His Word

Through the church

Conclusion:

On July 4 we did things backwards. I told you how Mercedes wakes us up. She comes in our room in the night and tries to sleep next to me. On July 4 I woke her up at about 9:15, so she had been asleep a little while. Then I said we are going to go see fireworks. It took her a minute to wake up and then we walked down the road to see the fireworks. Mercedes asked many questions. “I want to see purple,” she said. Then, “Is the sky going to burn down? Are the houses going to be okay?” But what was profound was the comment, “Everyone has a name.” I asked, “Every what has a name?” She said, “My teacher [Chrissy Rigney] told us that every star has a name.”

Wow! My thanks to Chrissy on that one. But that was Mercedes being aware of God’s presence. Mercedes at a young age is aware of God. We must be aware of God. Samuel was aware of God’s presence.

We must be like Samuel. Samuel was a minister already at age twelve. We must be encouraged that God spoke to Samuel. God will speak to us through His Spirit, by His word and His church.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

By Faith Jepthah

Intro:

Suppose you have had a hard day. You come home and walk in the door, what brightens your day? Who greets you at the door when you get home?

I always knew that dogs greet me at the door. I walk in the door and the dog will always greet me. I grew up with cats and I never once saw my cat greet me at the door. Maybe you have different experiences and maybe your cat greets you at the door, not me. For me, it is the dog that has always greeted me when I got home.

You come inside and you see your hunting dog greeting you at the door with the tail wagging and maybe that makes you feel better when you have had a stressful day. Maybe you walk in the door and you see your little lap dog greet you. Or, maybe for you cat people the cat comes and purrs next to you.

BUT now, for me I am greeted not by a pet, but by my children. Mercedes and Abigail run to the door and greet me. Abigail is saying, “daddyyyy, daddyyy.” Mercedes is saying, “Daddy’s home, daddy’s home.” That can brighten my day. That can brighten any day.

So, there is an account in the Old Testament book of Judges where one of the Judges comes home and his daughter greets him by coming out the door with a tambourine and dancing. In this case, it was not a good thing at all. This judge was named Jephthah and he had made a bad deal with God. He was going out to fight a battle and he said if God gave him a victory he would sacrifice whatever came out the door first. It just so happened that his only daughter came out the door first. Yet, Jephthah was listed some thousand years later in Hebrews 11. Let’s read Hebrews 11 ad the Hall of Faith listing of Jephthah.

Hebrews 11:32:

 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets…

Let’s read Judges 11:29-40:

Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.”

36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.

From this comes the Israelite tradition 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

I could take this text and talk about thinking before we speak. I could tell you why we all have two ears and one mouth and listening is more important than talking.

I could talk about this passage and how it is important to not swear an oath, and I might go that route a little bit. But that is not my main focus.

I want to talk about God’s greatness. We don’t control God.  You see out in the church world there is a belief that some call the Prosperity Gospel. These views control God by saying that He wants everyone to be rich and heal everyone… Some call these beliefs “name it— claim it.” It is as if we can say something and if we just have enough faith God will provide it. That is partially the case here. Jephthah is trying to control God with a deal.

So my theme:

Jephthah trusted the Lord, but not enough. His vow tried to control God and was destructive.

 

Application:

Trust the Lord, but not that simply. Don’t bargain with God.

Let me break that down. I think it is natural for us to try to think, “God I did this for you, why aren’t you helping me?” It is natural to think, “If I serve the Lord He will reciprocate and provide me with…” This is not the case. We have no bargaining chips with God. We are here to glorify God. Our life is about God. Don’t control God. These views are belittling to God. This thinking puts God in a box.

  1. So let’s break down the passage by talking about Jephthah.
    1. Verses 1: he was a mighty warrior
    2. He was the son of a prostitute
    3. His father was Gilead
    4. Verse2: Gidead’s siblings drove him away because he was the son of another woman. Gilead was married.
    5. Verse 3: He went to the land of Tob and “worthless fellows” followed him.
    6. Judges 11:4-11:
    7. Verse 4 the Amorites made war with the Israelites
    8. Verse 5: The elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah.
    9. Verse 6: is when they invite him to be their leader. One must wonder why they ask him.
    10. Verse 6: God did not raise him up as a leader. The people came to him without God
    11. Verses 7ff there is an exchange in which Jephthah responds how they hated him before.
    12. Verse 9: Jephthah says “If the Lord give them [the Amorites] over to me…” At this point he recognizes the Lord
    13. Judges 11:12-28 has history which is recorded in Numbers 20:14-21:
    14. The ESV Study Bible has a good summary: The negotiations between Jephthah and the Ammonites consisted largely of an impressive speech by Jephthah, answering the Ammonite charge ( 13) that Israel had unlawfully seized the territory currently disputed. Jephthah asserted that “theLord, the God of Israel,” himself was the one who dispossessed these peoples from before Israel (vv. 21, 23, 24) and that Israel was not an aggressor (v. 15) but merely a recipient of the Lord’s generosity. The Ammonites had brought this upon themselves by hindering Israel, thus prompting God’s help in dispossessing them (Israel was not to take Ammonite land, since God had expressly forbidden it; Deut. 2:19). However, Sihon, king of the Amorites, had taken some of what was Moabite/Ammonite territory, and then Israel had taken this and other territory of Sihon (see Num. 21:25–26). The Ammonites, if they had indeed been involved at all, deserved what they had coming. Furthermore, the Ammonites never really had true claim to the land to begin with; rather, it was the land of the Amorites (Judg. 11:19–22). Finally, it was a little late to be challenging Israel’s claim to the land in any case, since 300 years had passed since the events in question (v. 26). Jephthah ended his speech with an appeal to God to judge between the two disputants.
    15. Now, towards the end of that section Jephthah appeals that the Lord will be the judge. But let’s see how it pans out.
  2. So, let’s look at the battle and the vow in verses 29-33.
    1. Notice the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jephthah. This does not mean his vow was condoned by God. God empowered him to win that battle.
    2. He passed through Gilead, Manasseh, Mizpah of Gilead to the Ammonites. In these cities he is recruiting an army.
    3. Verses 30-31: the vow: If You give the Ammonites into my hand then whatever comes out of my doors of my house to meet me when I return shall be a burnt offering.
    4. We must take note : It seems that Lev. 27:1-8 tells how he could have gotten out of this vow.
    5. His daughter comes out to meet him with tambourines and dances
    6. She must have gotten word about the victory
    7. His only child
    8. Repeated no sons or daughters other than her.
    9. Verse 35: he is in grief and cannot take back his vow.
    10. Verse 36: She agrees, follow the vow
    11. Verse 37: this may be indicative that this had to do with a life of celibacy: she wants to go for a few months and weep for her virginity with her companions.
    12. Verse 38: he told her to go
    13. Verse 39: she came back after two months and he followed through with the vow
    14. àThe vow is not listed at this point. It does not say that he killed her or anything.
    15. It became a custom in Israel
    16. Verse 40:
    17. The custom was that the daughters of Israel would lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gildeadite four days in the year
  • What does the vow mean?
    1. If you look at the Moody Bible Commentary, which is a good source, it favors that the vow was a vow of celibacy.
    2. If you look back at the vow, notice first person pronouns: my house, my land, me, I.
      1. This vow was not about God it was all about Jephthah.
      2. One reason for the belief that he never intended to sacrifice his daughter is that we see in the vow masculine verb forms and suffixes, but he only has a daughter.
  • It was common to have animals come through the door.
  1. However, M. Bal (Death and Dissymmetry: The Politics of Coherence in the Book of Judges [Chicago: University Press, 1988], 45) is correct in reminding us that in the ancient world animals did not go out to meet returning conquerors.[1]
  2. However, on another view, Recently S. Landers (“Did Jephthah Kill His Daughter?” BR 7/4 [1991]: 27–31, 42) has revived the rabbinic view that because Jephthah’s child was female she would have been unacceptable as a sacrifice (cf. Lev 1:3–10) and that לְתַנּוֹת in v. 40 should be translated “to console” rather than “to lament.” Accordingly Jephthah must have modified his vow and “consigned her to an isolated life as a virgin” (p. 42).[2]
  3. There were other vows in the pagan culture and it seems that Jephthah was very pagan.
  • Indeed his motives and the form of his vow bear a striking resemblance to many vows inscribed in funerary monuments in Carthage by Punic descendants of the Canaanites/Phoenicians in northern Africa. The following votive inscription is typical:
    1. To our lady, to Tanit, the face of Baʿal and to our lord, to Baʿal Hammon that which was vowed (by) PN son of PN, son of PN because he [the deity] heard his [the dedicant’s] voice and blessed him.96[3]
    2. For these people vows to sacrifice children were not rash or impulsive but deadly serious expressions of devotion.97 Jephthah was so determined to achieve victory over the Ammonites that he was willing to sacrifice his own child to gain a divine guarantee. The clause “whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me” envisages the exuberant welcome by children of a father who has been away on a military campaign. For the moment the reader does not know that Jephthah has only one child, that in putting her at risk he also jeopardizes himself, and that, ironically, in securing his own victory he sentences his lineage to death.[4]
    3. Accordingly Jacob vowed to be God’s devotee if God would be with him (Gen 28:20–22); the Israelites promised to return to Yahweh the Canaanite cities if he would deliver them into their hands (Num 21:2); Hannah vowed that if God would give her a male child she would return him by consecrating him to God (1 Sam 1:11); Absalom vowed to worship Yahweh if he would bring him back to Jerusalem from exile in Geshur (2 Sam 15:7–8). For a discussion see Marcus, Jephthah and His Vow, 19.[5]
  1. So, did Jephthah sacrifice his daughter to God? I don’t know. There are so many different views.
  2. Until the Middle Ages that was the predominant view. I do find it interesting that the Moody Bible Commentary takes the belief that he committed her to celibacy and work in the Temple. The Moody Bible Commentary had Dr. Michael Rydelnik as one of the general editors and he is a professor of Jewish studies and Jewish himself. So, given his Jewish roots that is a good source.
  3. But, now you know what happened, so now let’s focus on the application. Don’t try to control God with a vow to begin with.
  1. Applications:
    1. Trust the Lord, but not that simply. Don’t bargain with God.
    2. Let me break that down. I think it is natural for us to try to think, “God I did this for you, why aren’t you helping me?” It is natural to think, “If I serve the Lord He will reciprocate and provide me with…” This is not the case. We have no bargaining chips with God. We are here to glorify God. Our life is about God. Don’t control God. These views are belittling to God. This thinking puts God in a box.
  2. Jephthah made a vow when he shouldn’t have. He should have continued trusting the Lord. we must trust the Lord.
  3. To truly apply this we will not make a vow with God. We will not tell God, if He does something then we will do something.
  4. We must trust the Lord whether He does what we want or not.
  5. Everyone say, “It is not about me.” It is not about us, it is about trusting the Lord.
  6. Get rid of certain views. Just because you follow Christ does not mean you won’t face trouble.
  7. I must not expect God to give me good health for being a Christian.
  8. I must not expect God to give me lots of money for being a Christian.

Close:

 

I believe it is natural to bargain with God. It is natural to think that this life is about us, when it is not. We pray and we seek God, that is what we are to do. I do believe God takes care of us. I know that God hears our prayers.

James 5:16:

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

(from New International Version)

We pray in God’s will. We pray for His Kingdom.

Let’s pray the Lord’s prayer:

Our Father, which art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done,

in earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever.

Amen.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] Daniel Isaac Block, Judges, Ruth, vol. 6, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999).

BR Biblical Research

[2] Daniel Isaac Block, Judges, Ruth, vol. 6, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999).

PN Personal Name

PN Personal Name

PN Personal Name

96 See the popular presentation of the archaeological evidence from Carthage by L. E. Stager and S. R. Wolff, “Child Sacrifice at Carthage—Religious Rite or Population Control,” BARev 10/ 1 (1984): 30–51. This quotation is cited from p. 45.

[3] Daniel Isaac Block, Judges, Ruth, vol. 6, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 367–368.

97 Cf. 2 Kgs 3:27. For a comparison of Ug. and Israelite vows see S. B. Parker, UF 11 (1979): 693–700.

[4] Daniel Isaac Block, Judges, Ruth, vol. 6, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 368.

[5] Daniel Isaac Block, Judges, Ruth, vol. 6, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999).