Judges 11:4 And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5 And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob: 6 And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. 7 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress? 8 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. 9 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head? 10 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words. 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.
We have come to the time in our consideration of Jephthah for the men of Gilead to sent to “fetch,” or bring Jephthah back home. He, like our Lord Jesus Christ was despised and rejected of men. He came to his own and his own received him not! (Isaiah 53:3; John 1:11).
Extremely few in our land seem to know that it was us who cast him out! All seem to think that man is doing good from birth, and seemed shocked that we suggest anything otherwise. None seem to realize, even with the gospel having been among us for all these many years that we have come into this world without hope and without God! (Eph. 2:12). For the truth of the matter is that we have spiritually and morally fallen in the fall of our father Adam!
And presently, all outside of the spiritual Father, the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, abide under the wrath of God. And the only reason that all are not cast into outer darkness upon our natural birth is the glorious longsuffering of God in his mercy! How dangerous it is that the human race blindly and ignorantly sins against that merciful longsuffering, choosing to ignore both their condition and his gospel! John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
The concept of repentance in modern day religion is so far removed from us that we read of Jephthah’s response to the men of Gilead’s request and attribute it to nothing but a desire for retaliation on his part. But, dear Reader, if we attribute that to Jephthah, we must also wrongly attribute it to God as well!
For in Judges 10:13,14 we read of God stating to Israel: Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. For God here sets forth the same thing to Israel as does Jephthah! Both remind Israel that they did wrong and that must be dealt with before a deliverance is possible!
The only thing that saved Israel in that day from God’s total abandonment is the same thing that will save America today! – Complete and total repentance! And this does not simple entail an emotionally felt sorrow for our mistakes! Baptist preaches want people to feel guilty, just as do the Roman priests! For the Baptist churches are dependent on the offerings of “penance,” as well as is the Roman system! But we are not talking about penance! We are speaking of REpentance!
This includes that which we read of Israel in verses 15 and 16 of Judges ten! And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. The only way that the Lord would send forth the Deliverer, Jephthah, was as a result of this genuine, godly sorrow, which included a confession of, and a total abandonment from, their idolatry!
Listen to God’s word concerning the repentance require of us today. It is defined in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. He had before written to them a severe letter concerning their sin. And this made them sorry. Then in this second letter he writes: Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corin 7:9-10).
Our Lord Jesus tells us that we must be radical in the separation of ourselves from sin and it’s habit upon us. He actually stated that it must be as radical as a man cutting off his hand, or plucking out his eye! (Matt. 18:7-9).
Dear soul, it is only, and exclusively a godly sorrow that worketh repentance to salvation! And the only place one can obtain a “godly sorrow,” is from God! – not from the church! – not from any religious order! – not from inner emotions of guilt! – and not from Dr. Phil! We must get back to the Person of God, whom we have abandoned in our practice of organized, traditional religion!
But let us not fail to carefully observe that last, little phrase in Judges 10:16, listed above. It states in a very few words a very great and important doctrine concerning repentance! It simply reads,and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
That “his,” is referring to God! Wow! We just read of God’s wrath and determination to abandon them to the idols of the neighboring tribes in verses 13 and 14! But after a sincere repentance which included a turning from sin, and not just a little, wimpy, “I’m sorry,” God is said to even be grieved for their misery!
Did you know that the English words, And it repented, spoken by God in Genesis 6:6 come from the same Hebrew word also translated, I will ease me, of Isaiah 1:24? Genuine, godly repentance has the effect of comforting and easing God concerning our misery from sin! Listen to God speak of punishment against evil doers: Ezek. 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Isaiah 1:5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
And that same Hebrew word gives us the words which God commanded his prophet to accomplish in his preaching to them. They are the words, Comfort ye, comfort ye, as found in Isaiah 40:1. And just what was it that God gave as a reason for that comfort? It regarded the proper dealing of their sin! Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.
Even the Apostle Paul received comfort that his preaching to the believers in Thessalonica had been effectually received by them in seeing both their turning from idols, and a turning to the true and living God! 1Thess. 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The saddest and most dangerous thing I can imagine is for poor souls having been devoted to their religious programs, strongly involved in the good works of charity to alleviate the sufferings of their fellow men, showing up in eternity expecting a fully paid for retirement, but hearing the Sovereign Christ say to them personally, “I never knew you. Depart from me ye that work iniquity!”
And throughout eternity, with no possibility of parole, nor for an appeal, they shall contemplate that it was at this point of failed repentance where all went wrong! They made things right with the required emotional sorrow from their priest, or pastor. But they never made things right in genuine, godly sorrow, which would never have been regretted! And those awful words of Christ shall eternally resound in their souls, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! God have mercy!
Pastor Gene Breed, August 9, 2012