I was recently talking to a friend about our upbringing and the difficulties we had to deal with as very young children. Her story stayed with me for a while and during my bible reading today God brought this man’s story to my attention.
In Judges 11:1 we find Japhthah being described by God. First of all, how awesome is that. It makes me think, hmmm, how would God describe me? Anyway, back to Japhthah. God describes him as a Gileadite, a mighty man of valor, the son of Gilead, and, oh yeah, a son of a harlot. According to the bible Japhthah is run out of town by his own family because of who his mother was. They did not want anything to do with him. How tragic to be paying the price for your parents sins. Japhthah did not have a say in the matter just like so many children today do not have a say in how they come into this world. They are born into the most horrendous circumstances and are made to pay for their parents’ poor choices.
As the story goes on, the children of Ammon come and make war with Israel. Well, the elders of Gilead go and find Japhthah and not only do they want his help, they offer him a leadership role in this war. (vs6) Long story short Japhthah ends up going to war and with the Lord's help Israel defeats the Ammonites. (vs.32) Yeah!
What struck me about this story was the way Japhthah was brought into this world and how God used him in spite of his lineage. The fact that Japhthah’s mother was a harlot is not something to be taken lightly. I see this as hope for us that have been born in to unfavorable circumstances and through Christ we can be victorious. I was encouraged by Japhthah’s story because it illustrates God’s mercy and grace on our lives. God can use us if we are willing no matter what we have been dealt with in life.