Devotion: You will come back from this
By Dianna Hobbs // Your Daily Cup of Inspiration
I am cross-examined regularly by my two detective daughters, Kyla and Kaiah. Though they aren’t actual officers of the law, at least twice per week, they team up to solve the recurring, mysterious case of Why Mom is once again preparing breakfast in the dark.
The interrogation always begins with some variation of the same question: “Why didn’t you turn the light on?”
Too bad I am unable to offer a good explanation, just a baffled frown followed by a dismissive chuckle. Why doesn’t the thought of flipping the switch ever enter my mind before the private eyes corner me, asking me to shed some light on the issue?
To clarify, it’s never pitch-black in the kitchen. It’s not as if I am wrapped in a thick blanket of darkness, with one arm extended, carefully shuffling, trying not to slam into a wall or some other sharp corner. It’s not that bad. There is a small window above the sink, but frankly, it doesn’t let in enough sunshine to completely chase away the shadows or justify my failure to use electricity.
Hopefully, in the future, the lightbulb will turn on in my brain and remind me to flip the switch on the wall. If I do forget, I can surely count on officers Kyla and Kaiah to point out the obvious.
It’s nice to have someone around to help you remember things, especially those things that make you better and more productive, right? But what about the ill-intentioned folks that highlight your shortcomings and deficiencies, only to hold them over your head and make you feel less than worthy?
This is what the half-brothers of a man named Jephthah did in Judges 11. The Bible says Jephthah was a “mighty man of valor,” but his siblings looked down on him because Jephthah’s father, Gilead, mated with a prostitute and impregnated her. Although Jephthah shared the same father with his brothers, their mom was the legitimate wife of Gilead, while his mother was a harlot. So they looked down on Jephthah, making sure to remind him that he was illegitimate. How cruel!
Judges 11:2 tells us, “When they were grown up they drove Jephthah away,” and told him, “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family because you are the son of another woman.”
So Jephthah ran away and went to live in the land of Tob, where he started hanging out with a gang of rebels and scoundrels that followed him around. Honestly, things looked really bad for Jephthah, but God hadn’t forgotten him. There was purpose on Jephthah’s life. He was a skilled fighter, and his opportunity to use those skills was about to present itself.
The Ammonites started a war with Israel and suddenly, the elders of Gilead needed the mighty warrior they had slighted and discarded. In verse 6, desperate for Jephthah’s help, they found him in the land of Tob and said, “Come be our leader so that we might fight the Ammonites.”
Jephthah replied in verse 7, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?”
Despite Jephthah’s understandable skepticism, he accepted the role and became the ruler over those who once looked down upon him. How’s that for a comeback story? Who would have anticipated that this man would become one of the Judges of Israel?
Fascinatingly, Jephthah’s name means “whom God sets free,” or “the breaker through.” He certainly lived up to that name! For someone reading today, God is about to set you free and give you a breakthrough. You may have experienced a terrible setback, but you’re coming back from this. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, how poorly others may have treated you, or what disadvantages have held you back up to this point, God is liberating you for His glory.
Verse 29 says “the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah,” and the Lord gave the Ammonites into his hands. He devastated 20 towns! Not only that, but Jephthah—the one his brothers viewed as contemptible and dispensable—is also mentioned by the Apostle Paul as one of the great heroes of faith in Hebrews 11:32. Jephthah’s name and legacy have gone down in history.
His story should encourage you not to get down and out about what you see today. Sure, you may be in a low place, but you will come back from this. It’ll be alright. One thing I know about God is that He loves getting glory through the lives of those others count out. He specializes in elevating the lowly, blessing the disregarded, favoring the disadvantaged, and orchestrating comebacks on behalf of the downtrodden.
Consider Jesus, who had the greatest comeback of all when He rose from the dead on the third day. The good news is that, according to Romans 8:11 NIV, which is what I’m stirring into your cup of inspiration, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, rejoice in knowing that the resurrecting power of Christ is resurrecting you. The Lord is bringing you up from this valley of affliction and delivering you from trouble. He’s doing it to remind you and others that through Him, it is possible to come back from absolutely anything!
Now let’s pray.
God, thank You for assuring me that I will come back from this setback. I receive Your word by faith, anticipating breakthrough and freedom. According to Psalm 71:20 NIV, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.” I believe it. In Jesus’ name, Amen