Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 628 · 2 months ago

The Book of Judges #17

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Judges 11:1-40

Word. Tonight, and now again, Lord, we come before your throne. Is Your people, Lord, gathered together in the assembly of the saints, the Assembly of the righteous ones, are here. And Lord, part of what we want to do is hear your word. And Lord, I pray God that you would take the words that I have prepared through this week and used them indeed to speak to the hearts of your people. Lord, indeed impress upon us the foolishness of what we see in our text tonight and help us to understand that we should not emulate some of the things that we see. But Yet, God be, thank you for your faithfulness as it comes forth in the text, and we pray we will see that and we pray God, everyone here will be encouraged, exhorted as well, but also comforted, and we pray that your word would have its perfect work, for it is your word. But God, guide me so that I do not speak awry or that I do not speak that which would not give glory to you, for we asked this now in Christ name. Amen. So we are reading a long text tonight again. The book of judges lends itself to long text, and so I am going to be reading the entirety of chapter eleven tonight, which is, like I say, a very long chapter. But here's God's word now. Jefftha, the Gileadite, was a mighty warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was a father of Jeffah, and Gilead's wife also bore him sons. And when his wife's sons grew up, they drove Jeffah out and said to him you shall not have an inheritance in our father's house, for you are the son of another woman. Then Jeffah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tobe, and worthless fellows collected around Jeffdah and went out with him. After a time the ammonites made war against Israel. And when the AMMONITES made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jeffah from the land of Tobe and they said to jeff that com and be our leader, that we may fight with the AMMONITES. But JEFFA said to the elders of Gilead, did you not hate me and drive me out of my father's house? Why have you come to me now when you're in distress and the elders of Gilead said to Jeff Thah, that is why we've turned to you. Now you may go with us and fight with the AMMONITES and be the head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. Jeffa said to the elders of Gilead, if you bring me home again to fight with the ammonites and the Lord gives them over to me, I'll be your head. And the elders of Gilead said the Jeffa, the Lord will be witnessed between us if we do not do as you say. So Jeffa went with the elders of Gilead and the people made him head and lead her over them. And Jeffa spoke all the words before the Lord at Mizpah. Then Jeff Thah sent messengers to the king of the ammonites and said what do you have against me that you've come to fight against my land? The King of the AMMONITES answered the messengers of Jeffah because Israel, on coming up from Egypt, took away my land from the ammon to the JAVAC and to the Jordan's. Now therefore restore it peaceably. Jeff again sent messengers to the king of ammonites and said Tom Thus, says Jeff, the Israel did not take away the land of Moeb or the land of the AMMONITES. But when they came up from Egypt and Israel went through the Wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. Israel then sent messengers to the King of Edem saying let us pass through your land, but the king of edem would not listen. And they also sent to the King of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh. Then the journey to the Wilderness and went around the land of Edem in the land of MOEB. Arrived on the east side of the land of Moeb and camped on the other side of the Emmen of the Arnam, but they did not enter the territory of MOAB, for the for the Iremmand was the boundary of Moab. Israel then sent messengers to Saihan, King of the Amorites, King of Heshbon, and Israel said the Plice, let us pass through your land to our country. But SIHAN did not trust the Israel to pass through his territory. So scion gathered all his people together and camped at Jeh has and fought with Israel and...

...the Lord, the God of Israel, Gay Scion, and all his people into the hand of Israel. They defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of Amorrights who inhabited that country, and they took possession of all the territory of the Amorrights, from the aren't onto the JABBAC and from the wilderness to the Jordan's so then, the Lord, the God of Israel, dispossessed them rights from before his people of Israel. and Are you to take possession of them? Will you not possessed what Kimash, your God, gave you to possess? And all that the Lord, our God, has dispossessed before us, we will possess now. Are you better than Bailk, the son of Zippor, King of MOEB? Did he ever contend against Israel? Did he ever go to war with them? While Israel lived in Heshbanh and's villages and in our roar and his villages and all the cities that are on the banks? They aren't on three entred years, why didn't you deliver them within that time? I therefore have not sinned against you and you do me wrong by making war on me. The Lord, the judge decide This Day between the people of Israel and the people of Ammon. The king and the AMMONITES did not listen to the words of Jeftha that he sent to him. Then the spirit of Lord was Pon Jeff then he passed through Gilead and Madison passed on to Miss Pov Gilead. From Miss Pov Giliad he passed on to the AMMONITES and Jefftha made a vow to the Lord and said, if you will give the ammonites into my hand, then whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the ammonites shall be the Lords and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. So Jeffa crossed over to the AMMONITES to fight against them, and the Lord gave them into his hand and he struck them from roar to the neighborhood of minnet twenty said INA and as far as Abel Karamin with a great blow. So the ammonite were subdued before the people of Israel. Then Jeffa came to his house at Miss pod behold his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and dances. She was his only child. Besides her, he had neither son nor daughter. And as soon as he saw her, he tores close and said, alas, my daughter, you have brought me very and you become the cause of great trouble to me, for I have opened my mouth to the Lord and I cannot take back my vow. And she said to him, my father, you have opened your mouth to the Lord, due to me, according to what has gone out of your mouth, now that the Lord has avenged, you on your enemies, on the ammonites. So she said to her father, let this thing be done for me. Leave me alone two months. Then I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions. So he said go and he sent her away for two months. She departed, she and her companions, and wept for her virginity on the mountains. And at the end of two months, you returned to her father, who did with her according to the vow he had made. She had never known a man, and it became accustomed in Israel that the daughters of Israel went, year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah, the Gileadite, four days in the year. Thus ends the reading of God's word. Please be seated. Well, last week we looked at two relative unknown judges of Israel and then the rest of Chapter Ten del with Israel's negotiation with the Lord over the ammonite threat. Tonight again we have a longer text, of course, as you've just noticed, and we're gonna be looking at a very skilled negotiator by the name of J ff, who does well up to a point until he picks the wrong party to negotiate with. I know that I have just read the text and it's a long text and I'm going to basically tell you the story and hopefully if any parts of it were unclear. I want to do what I've done on previous Sunday nights and basically just tell you what's going on in expositive. The text somewhat simple matter, but then go to applications, and there's many. I had to cut out several sections of my sermon tonight because there's so many applications that can be made out of this passage of scripture. But that's what we're going to do. So we'll begin with looking at verses one to eleven. It's been noted by some that the only book of the Bible that ends with the question mark is the book of Jonah. Well, the chapter ten of judges doesn't quite end with a question mark, but it does end...

...with a question that is followed by a statement. The question is, who's going to be the man who's going to fight against the AMMONITES? That question is now going to be answered for us. In chapter eleven there's a man of Gilead who has described as a mighty warrior. The name is Jeff Thuh. Now we don't know for sure. There's discussion in the commentaries about guile lead and whether that's the land or whether that's his father. You can read the text both ways. Uh, and we don't know, and that's okay. We don't need to know that. But most would believe that probably uh, it's it's the father, the actual father, and Um, and then that he was named after the ancestor. We have a lot of repeat names and judges, the names that showed up earlier in the in the Bible and now are coming back and some of the earliest sons of the twelve tribes of Israel and they come back here. Now we've seen some very flawed individuals in the book of judges and the trend isn't going to change in this chapter. It seems like the best judges in the book of judges are the people we really don't know, hardly anything about. Um, and maybe that's not the case, but at least we're just told what they did, basically and they're gone. So, uh, it seems like they were pretty good people. But uh, the others, we have a lot of flawed judges, or have and so this story of Jeffa is certainly not a pretty story, and it start starts with the account of his birth. We're told that he is the son of a concubine or prostitute, same as we were told about Abimelech earlier here in this book. And in verse two, then Gilead's wife gives birth to two legitimate sons, uh, that are the sons of both Gilead and his wife, and so they cast jeff out of their house because he is not legitimate. So in verse three, Jeff The flees to live in the land of Tobe, which was a town on the border of Syria and we see more bad here, because it says, uh, these are the kind of people you don't want your children hanging around. It says worthless fellows collected around jeff the and went out with him. So that doesn't bode very well at all. It isn't clear, and English is not even really clear in the Hebrew, but it appears what's going on here is that Jeff is leading these men on raids and he's going against various people and raiding them. So you could, you could look at him as a Robin Hood, I guess. I don't know if Robin Hood or Jeff Are Really, uh, good individuals per se, but you could, you could look at him that way, I guess. So you know, I can't justify what he does, but then again, a man does have to eat, so who knows what's going on. But in verse four, what has been building since the last chaff there now comes to fruition, and that is that war with the ammonites is now about to happen. Now there is something in verse five I found confusing and I consulted several references on this and I really didn't get any satisfaction at all from any of them, and that the question I had was, are the elders of Gilead in verse five the same as the brothers in Verse Two who drove Jeff The out of their out of their land? It does at least appear from what Jeffah says and the conversation that goes on, although it isn't stated, it does seem that indeed at least those brothers were part of the elders of Gilead and it were not also told. Why did they decide that jeff the was the man that they needed? But apparently he had been quite successful as a renegade and his reputation as a fighter and a warrior had increased and now they were convinced that he was the man they needed. So, beginning in verse six, we're going to learn something about Jeff...

...that he's very, very good at and he is a very good negotiator, as I mentioned. So in verse six the elders of Gilead come to jeff then they offer him the position leader of the army, a very noble position, that that is for sure. But in response Jeffice says Basically, Oh, you didn't need me before, but now all of a sudden you need me. Huh. And that's what he's saying to them, and he refers to what they did earlier, like I love this, because didn't you used to hate me? You know, uh, you know, you, you drove me out and you drove me out of my father's house. Aren't you the same people that did that? And in theirs eight, they basically Oh, forget about that, Jeff, so that that doesn't matter at all. Don't just just forget about all that. We didn't mean anything by that. And then they up the offer to make it even more appealing. Not just leader of the army, but leader of everybody in Gilead. And he offers that and they offer that to him. So in Verse Nine, Jeff, this says, all right, if I go ahead and need your army and the Lord delivers them into our hands, I will be your head. He's leary of the offer, and he should be, because he's been betrayed before, and so he's very careful about doing this, and so he invokes the name of the Lord there in verse nine, making a situation where these elders are going to be forced to make an oath. And so in verse ten, it appears from what they say they basically swear or take an oath that they will do what they said. If indeed, Jeff the leads them in victory over the AMMONITES, he will be head over Gilead. They say. The Lord will be witnessed between us if we do not do what you say. So in verse eleven, it appears that the people of Gilead are so excited about uh jeff the coming to help them against the ammonites they don't even want to wait until the battle. He said, if, if they deliver, know, if if the ammonites are delivered, then you can make me the head. And if you ever go no, we're not even gonna wait for that, we're gonna just make you the head right now, and that and that's what they're going to do. And they do it and again jeff the repeats to them what he says he's going to do. So we move on to the Second Section of the chapter, which goes from chapter versus twelve. Now that Jeff the negotiator has finished his negotiations with the men of Gilead, he now has to begin his negotiations with the ammonites. In Verse Twelve, He sends a message to the King of the AMMONITES, saying what do you have against me, as you're attacking my land, and then sending a message like that before he decides to do anything, he's actually imitating Moses, who did the same thing with the children of Israel, before they actually went in and invaded and fought against Sihan and the Amorites. UH, they sent messages offering peaceful solutions, and that is what it appears that Jeff is doing here. He's given am and an opportunity to get out of this and uh, in this negotiation will see. He's he's a good lawyer, he's a definitely he does many things. He cites case law, hesite President, he does all of the things that lawyers are supposed to do, and he does it in three different ways. He comes up with arguments. Now some say, well, you know, and maybe they're more Senecal, which maybe I am too, but they say, you know, he really wasn't interested in peace because, after all, they already committed to fight the ammonites and he'd already said that that if the Lord gave the ammonites in their hands. So so it doesn't seem like he's really serious about his negotiations. But he's doing his very web and his commentary points out, he's probably seeking to have the moral high ground so he can go back to that and he's also perhaps trying to buy time as he's trying to bring his army together. Now the problem that needs to negotiate in concerns a piece of land that the king of the...

AMMONITES is saying belongs to them, even though Israel possesses it. And this story, and that where this starts, is way back when Israel came out of Egypt and according to this gang, they took away the land that rightfully belonged to him. And this was a piece of land. It was bordered by three rivers. Wasn't Pittsburgh, Jackie, but it was bordered by three rivers, was bordered by Arenan, the river, on the south and it was bordered by Jabbak on the north and by the Jordan's on the West. And so, in versus fourteen and fifteen jeff the demand or denies that Israel has actually taken that lander, ever took it, and saying that he's actually telling the truth and what what he's saying that this, I think, is somewhat applicable to our times. He's saying to the king of the AMMONITES, Hey, you know, you're doing a little history revisionism right here. You know what, what's your talent? Isn't exactly accurate as to what happened. So let me give you the true history of what took place in that time. And so he's going to talk about that. So his first argument is the historical argument that he begins in Verse Fifteen and goes through verse twenty three, and so he begins by an accurate telling of history, which we always can use. And it began when Israel comes to the border of freedom and asked the king of Edom for permission to pass through the land and at the same time they make the same request of the King of Mohab, but both kings denied the request. So Israel goes through the Wilderness and they come to the east side of Moab and actually camp on the other side of the Arnan. So they never really entered Moab or Amman. Now there is some discussion on some piece of property there that goes on, but I'm not going to take time to talk all about that. But at that point they make the same request to the king of Amorites, a man by the name of ssion, and he not only denies their request, but he actually sends an army to fight against them, which was a bad move, for Israel totally conquered the amorrights and they took possession of that land, but they never entered. I know this can get confusing. Amor rights, ammonites, potato, potato, but they never actually enter the land of the AMMONITES. They just possessed the land of the of the Armonite so numbers and Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword and took possession of the land from arn onto the Jabbock, as far as the M and as far as to the AMMONITES, to the AMMONITES, for the border of the AMMONITES was strong. So Jeff is basically saying to the king here this land that Israel actually got by right of conquest, which was the right you're now claiming is your land. Well, that was a historical argument, but now he moves on to a theological argument. In Verse Twenty Four, he refers to a God who is really the God of Moab. But there's there's a of course, a real linking between ammon and MOAB, and and so it's it's not unusual that one or the other is worshiping the other's Gods. And so he refers to a God by the name of chemists and he says, you know, shouldn't you be happy with the land your God has given you, like we're happy with the land our God has given us. and Um and and so some say, well, isn't Jeff here giving credence to this God by mentioning it this way and comparing it with with the Lord? But no, I think he's just using the false belief of the ammonites to make his argument. Uh, saying because you do believe in his God and you think that the gods give you the land that you have, then you should be happy because that's the land that you have. But he has one more argument versus twenty and twenty six, and that is an argument based on recent precedent and is a very simple argument. He says, look, you've had three hundred years. If you wanted...

...to take this land, okay, anytime in the past three hundred years, you're gonna Marshal Your forces and if you really thought that was the land was yours, you could have went and taken it, but you've never ever done it. So now all of a sudden you think this land belongs to you. It doesn't seem to me as if this land is really important because of that. So in versus twenty seven and twenty eight, Jeff, that will reach the high point in the chapter. And Uh, he's saying, if you're not going to let are not going to listen to my very well reasoned and cogent arguments, then we're just going to have to let the Lord himself decide, which is a good thing to say. It is a declaration of war. He is saying that. Yes, if that's if you're going to refuse these arguments, the only thing we can do is go to war. And he's basically saying we'll leave it in the providence of God and we'll find out whose God is the stronger God. Well, things are going to start to get a little worse. But first in verse twenty nine, before it gets worse, God enters the picture. For the first time in the chapter. God actually enters the picture to do something. We haven't heard anything from God except for his name has been invoked a couple of times, and it does. He enters the picture by a phrase that we find other places, that the spirit of the Lord comes upon Jeff Though, which means that God is equipping him to indeed win the battle. And we are told that Jeff that then passes through various places, probably as he goes recruiting men to his army to fight against the AMMONITES. But then verse thirty thirty one, something that just comes totally out of the blue and makes no sense at all. Why does he do this? It's unclear. It says he makes a vow to the Lord. He didn't need to make a vow to the Lord. The battle had already been decided. God had already put his spirit upon him. Everything was done. There was no need for him to make any kind of a vow. God had chosen him, obviously, and he had been put him in charge. He had showed by his providence that he had put him in charge of the people that used to hate him and drove him out of the land. All of these things, all of these good providences, are happening, and now the spirit of God is upon him to lead him to victory. But you know, when you rely on negotiation, you just never want to quit and you want to put one more negotiation and so he makes a vow to the Lord, not even a good vow, but a vow that's going to turn out to be one of the most terrible, if not the most terrible, vow in history. It's often thought, Oh poor old Jeff Thah, you know, he could have no way of knowing that he would end up sacrificing his daughter by making his owl. I'm going to be a little harder on him than that as we look further into this text. Now there are some that say he actually expected that it would be an animal that was going to come out of his house, but it is extremely unlikely from those that have researched this, that the animals would have lived in the house with Israelites, and so it doesn't appear that this isn't like dino the dinosaur coming him Fred and jumping on him and licking him like that. It's nothing like that was going to happen. And he also doesn't use the neoter case and the Pronoun, which would be the case that you would use if you were speaking about a beast, but he uses a personal more Pronoun to speak of a human and probably the most convincing argument that we have is that if he really was making a vow expecting an animal sacrifice, it is no doubt that when his daughter came out, he would have said, well,...

...that's that's not that's not an Adam. Also, we're not counting her, and he would have done that. And so we're now told that in verses thirty two and verse thirty three, that Jeffa has a victory, and we're told about the extent of it as well. But then we start the perilous path downward for the consequences of his vow. He comes home and who comes out to meet him but his daughter, like Miriam, with the timbrels and dancing and rejoicing that God had given her father the victory. And as she does, we in the text we feel the angst because we know what's coming and it bothers us that she would be coming out dancing. But that's what she thinks is going on. But we feel what's going to happen, and so to her it is a joyful time. Amine has been defeated, her father has been victorious, but suddenly everything changed just in verse Thirty Four. The other thing that makes me be a little harder on Jeffa than I've used to be. is his words in verse Thirty Five. I confess, as I read those words, it's really hard for me to think anything pleasant about Jeff Thah. You would think you'd say something like Oh, my daughter, I have done a very foolish thing, oh my daughter, I have done a horrible thing. Oh, please forgive me for what I have done. But he basically puts the blame on her. He says, alas, my daughter, you have brought me very low and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. No, Jeff Thah, wrong, it's your daughter. It's not your daughter, it's you. Does have caused this. And the words of Jeffthah's daughter in verse thirty six and thirty seven, as opposed to the words of Jeff Thah, make me think very, very highly of her. She recognizes as vow, she understands that God has fulfilled his part by avenging them on her enemies. So she simply asked one simple request that she may go to the mountains with her compatriots and mourn her virginity for two months. And the last word that her father speaks in account to her is go. And she does go and she will die childless. Now I'll confess to you tonight. For many years I've been a champion of the view that actually what the sacrifice was for the sacrifice of virginity, that J feft daughter was going to have to remain a virgin for the rest of her life. And there may be some of you that hold that opinion. But as I've looked into it much closer this time in looking at it, I have to say I believe it was exactly what the text appears to tell us, that his vow was that he would indeed sacrifice, literally sacrifice the first one that came out of his house. And there are several reasons. One is, if it's just to virginity, why would you need to go to the mountain for two months? You'RE gonna have a lifetime to do this, so you wouldn't have to do that at this time. So why do that? And I believe it was a sacrifice. But like the woman in the Gospels who anointed Jesus, and Jesus said this would be a memorial to her wherever the Gospel was preached, so this daughter of Jeff that would have a memorial, as the women of Israel would go up every year and remember her. And again it's not stated that she went with them every year, but it reminds us that she's no longer there. The question we have to ask is why, when his daughter came out, didn't he simply break his vow? Why didn't he do that? Well, you might say, well, past...

...don't you know that scripture exhorts us to pay what we vowed? I do know that, but I know a few other things as well. Number One, I know that we don't have to perform a vow if it's a sinful vow, that God does not want us to compound a bad vowel by by doing a sinful action. And human sacrifice has always been at the pinnacle of of terrible actions and horrible sins. To do something like that, God said, it never enters his mind, is a terrible thing, and so he wouldn't have to do that. And and again, I really find no way to exonerate jeff either for his vow or is keeping that vow. And if you still don't believe me, let me ask you about another vow where a father also vowed to kill his son. The father's name was Saul and the vow was that whoever it Eaton was going to die, and Jonathan had eaton and therefore Jonathan was going to die because the king and made a vow. But the people said that stupid. We're not going to keep that vowel. It doesn't make any sense on a day like today, and that vowel was broken. The right way then, to emulate Caleb in verse one, where he says, whoever conquers this territory, you can have my daughter as a wife. Now that's a much better solution than Jeff Tha. So again I say to you I don't really have much sympathy for Jeff the now, as I said, I struggled in deciding what I need to cut out to make application tonight, because there's many that that could be made. But let me give you the ones that made the cut. UH, different commentators see a comparison here that I confess I've never seen before in this story, but several of the commentators actually mentioned it. So, Um, it's pretty interesting and I think that they are. The comparison is the comparison between Jeff Tha and his negotiations with with Gileadites and that and God and Israel in their negotiations in the previous chapter. In the previous chapter, Israel, like Jeff's brothers, reject God uh and reject him first, but then, when they're in trouble, they turned back to him, just as the elders of Gilead do uh here to to jeff the. God initially rejects Israel's please, even as jeff the initially rejects Gilead's please. The Israelites then plead to God that they have changed their attitude and want him to be their leader again. The GILEADITES make their plead to jeff that they have changed their attitude towards him and want him to be their leader now. The difference that is noted between the two is jeff the finally does promise to rescue Israel under certain conditions, while God actually makes no such promise like that. So it's at least an interesting comparison to read those two uh sections of judges together. Now Jeff felt, like I said, he's a hard guy to get a hand on, right, a handle on. It's really hard to understand him completely because there are some high points, maybe not as many as we like, and definitely some low points, and you know, we have those wonderful words where he says he's leaving the outcome of the battle, the Lord and the spirit of God is coming upon him and he delivers Israel, and then we have that awful, needless, stupid vow. But I do want to remind you, as I reminded you a couple of weeks ago about lot, that jeff the does appear in Hebrews Chapter Eleven. Is One of the heroes of the faith. Again, the last word God speaks of JPEF are good words of who he is. But, as I mentioned in the beginning of the service, a big lesson in our text is how important our words are. I confess in my life...

...my tongue has given me a great deal of trouble. I don't know about you, but I've said a lot of things that I wish I had never said. The exact reason why J F F makes his vow, or what he thought was going to be the result, is basically shrouded in mystery. But the thing that is clear is there was no reason for him to make this. It was an addition of words that wasn't needed. It was a vow that should never ever have been made. Jesus taught us in Matthew Twelve. I tell you, on the Day of Judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you'll be justified and by your words you will be condemned. James, of course, who gives us the most famous words? Perhaps on the tongue in chapter three, says we all stumbled in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he's a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also, though they are large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, but a boast of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire? And the tongue is a fire world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell for every kind of beast and bird, reptile, sea creature that can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being contained the tongue. It's a restless evil full of deadly poison. We need to be careful of our tongue in the words we say, and we have to be especially careful about swearing or taking a vow as Jesus tells us in a sermon on them out. The scripture says Jesus said we're going to be judged on the last day by our words. But the sad truth is, although that's a horrid thought, the truth is we're often judged in this life, partially as well, by our words. I'm not sure about you, but I've woken up in the night times shaking because of words I said forty years ago that still haunt me to this day. Not mean words, not that, not terrible words, profanity laced words, words that some several, were meant in jest but hurt someone very deeply and it's really breaks you what you think about how those words go on and on. And I know God forgives and I understand that, as I said in the message this morning, but I think sometimes times, and maybe you do too. Why did I ever say that it was wrong with me at the time. Why? Why wasn't I thinking that, even though I thought it was something funny or that it wouldn't be taken in the wrong way? ECCLESIASTS five two says don't be rash with your mouth, and we need to be careful. JEFFA was a very skilled negotiator. He negotiates with his family, negotiates with the leadership and the guilt, negotiates with the enemy. But where he did wrong was he finally decided to negotiate with God. There is a need in our world for skilled negotiators. Preparing the sermon, I thought I'M gonna look up and find out who people think were the greatest negotiators that ever lived. I kept coming upond the same three names as three that people thought were the best, and they listed Nelson Mandela, Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Kissinger. I don't know if they're the REBST, but they're pretty good and probably belong in that list.

We have to know something about the art of negotiation in our lives. I don't know if you know this is an old story and maybe you've heard it, but man walks into a store and asked the owner of the store. Do you sell salt here? And it's a little mom and pop grocery store. The owner says, do we sell salt? Look, he proceeded to show the customer an entire wall of the store stocked with nothing but salt, table salt. I had a salt, sea salt, rock salt, garlic salt and seasoning salt. Wow, said the customer. That's a lot of salt. You think that's something? said the owner. He led him to a back room filled with shelves, bins and cartons of salt. The customer says, man, you really do sell a lot of salt. The man said no, actually, I don't sell any salt. The Guy that sells me salt he can sell salt. Well, that's that's the negotiation, and Japeth is that salt seller. He is the guy that can negotiate himself out of any situation, it seems, and he does so very well until he takes on the one who is a much better negotiator, and that is the Lord. When I think about his useless vow, I think about Jacob and I was reminded in my mind of these words, because they've always struck me as pretty ironic says, Jacob made a vow in Genesis. If God will be with me and will keep me in the way that I go and will give me bread to eat in clothing to wear so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God and this stone, which I have said it for a pillar, shall be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give a tempt to you. Now I don't know how you take those words and I don't know if I'm taking him right, but I'm thinking if I'm God and Jacob's going well, if you do this and you do this, he'll get to be my God, and I'm thinking God saying, Oh, great, you know. Thanks, Jacob, thank you very much, but it's really much better for us to let God be God and let God do what he wants to do. We don't have to negotiate with God and simply submit ourselves to his will. And the last thing I'll notice that close. Yes, I believe Jeff the did sacrifice his daughter and that's a horrible thing, but it was a result of an unnecessary vow, words that should never have been spoken. But can I close by reminding you of one who didn't make a vow per se, but out of his love and grace and mercy, he sacrificed his only son, and in accepting that son, we can live forever. Let's right, Lord, we thank you for your word, even the hard words, even the words that are difficult for us to understand or to comprehend or, Lord, to try to figure out what's went on and why. But Lord, you are God and we learn of our own nature and father tonight I pray especially for us, as perhaps many of us have the same problem that we struggle with words and our tongue and getting out of hand at times and saying things that we just wish I wish I'd never said them. Lord, help us and let us be, like ecclesiastic said, not rash with our mouth, whether we're dealing with you or fellow brothers and sisters or others in the world. Help us, God, to Tame our tongue. We know we will probably Never Tame it in this lifetime, as James says, but you can keep us, Lord, from the kind of foolishness. They can get us into great trouble and hurt other people, and so will we pray...

...that you would help us, but most of all, to night. We Thank You for your only begotten son that you gave willingly for us that we might be saved. We praise you for that, Oh God, in Christ's name, Amen. H.

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