April 30 - Called to Serve

By Lillian Sparks

Today's Scripture: Judges 11:1

Central Thought: The grace of God is sufficient for the most wayward and hopeless—taking the weakest to confound the mighty.

    Did you ever feel as if you didn't quite measure up? Every time you went for a job interview or filled out an application, you worried that someone would ask you about your past experiences and where you grew up. Jephthah was that kind of guy. His story is the story of every rescued sinner—he was lifted up from the dunghill and set among princes (Psalm 113:7). Even the writer of Hebrews lists Gideon and Jephthah in his honor roll of fame as those who had 'subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, and obtained promises.”

    Jephthah had three strikes against him. Even though he was considered 'a mighty man of valor,” he was the son of a prostitute and, like Abimelech, was a half-Canaanite. His right to an inheritance was destroyed by his father's sin. Then he was thrown out of his home by his jealous half-brothers, and all family ties were severed. Rejected and disowned, Jephthah ran away and plunged into a lifestyle of reckless selfishness. Some labeled him a freebooter or felon. He sought to hide the failures of his past with the excitement of sinful pleasure.

    But God had a different plan. He saw something of value in Jephthah that, if redirected, could be of immense value to the cause of God and His people. In response to the Ammonite invasion of Gilead, the Israelite leaders camped at Mizpah and began a search for a qualified leader. The call came to Jephthah, just as the call of salvation came to us, to join the forces of the Lord's people and fight the Lord's battles. Like the Christ-despising Saul, Jephthah saw the light and made a covenant to serve the Lord.

    What can we learn from this lesson? God sees people differently than we do. People look at the brand-name clothes, degrees on the wall, and the cars we drive—God looks at our hearts. God will not despise a broken and contrite heart. After Jephthah yielded himself to the Lord's service, then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him with anointing and power. We may be insufficient in our own abilities, but God's grace and power is more than sufficient. Whatever we need—wisdom, strength, holiness—God's provision is imparted by the gift of the Spirit.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, help me to know that You have a plan for my life. Help me to realize that my birth, childhood, and past experiences are all part of that plan. Your grace is sufficient to lift me above any negative influences and set me on a path of service and fulfillment.

Today's Bible Reading: Judges 11:1-12:15; John 1:1-28; Psalm 101:1-8; Proverbs 14:13-14