End of Self Love
Giles at Bowens Mill Convention
like you to turn in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians chapter 5. There’s
a little verse in this chapter which points out to us how serious
the subject is that’s being talked about quite a lot in these days;
and that subject is the loving of our own lives.
I were to ask you, “Why did Jesus come? Why did He die on the cross?”
You would probably quickly come back with an answer like, “Well,
to save us from our sins.” But there’s an answer to the question
that’s given here in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, which really homes
in on what we have been talking about in these days. Look at verse
15. It’s talking about Christ and it says:
Corinthians 5:15(a) ‘And that He died for all, that they which live
should not henceforth live unto themselves,’
you ever noticed that before? It says right here, quite specifically;
the reason that Jesus came and died was to stop people from living
unto themselves. I think that puts the context of loving our own
selves into a category of “very serious and very deadly”. The Spirit
of God is here saying, through Paul, that the reason why Jesus came
was to get the people out of loving themselves. It makes it clear
that, in the heart and mind of God, self-love is something that
is so desperately wrong and thoroughly deadly that He had to give
Jesus and the life of Jesus to get us out of it. Of course, the
verse goes on:
Corinthians 5:15(b) ‘but unto Him which died for them, and rose
is a verse that’s really talking about love. It’s talking about
focus. It’s talking about direction and purpose.
Brother Buddy’s opening on Wednesday evening, he pointed out to
us that when Satan came to test and to tempt in the garden of Eden,
he didn’t offer the woman a choice between serving, obeying, and
loving God or serving, obeying, and loving Satan himself. What he
offered was the choice between serving, obeying, and loving God
and serving self and loving self. That was the thing that took the
woman out and took the human race into death and disobedience. Sin
and death passed to all men and it was all in the context of a woman
who loved herself. You know the temptation; it was very clear in
how it was presented to her. The fruit was desired to make her
wise. It was good for food. It was all about self. She took
of that fruit because she fell in love with herself.
have people, as you come across them in your lives, in whom this
is a particularly evident problem; although of course, it’s a problem
with everybody. Jesus just didn’t die because it was an occasional
problem; it was a universal problem. You’ve come across people in
whom love of self is so obvious and you would have to agree with
me that it is a very sick, very perverse and a particularly nasty
expression when you see it in a person; a person who can’t talk
about any subjects but themselves; a person who, when you meet them
or greet them, is never interested in asking how you are; they are
only interested in talking about themselves, their own ailments,
their own condition. People like that become very wearing. You think,
“My God, hasn’t this person anything else they’re interested in?”
died because it was a problem that was universal. It was a problem
that we were all in; that we were living for ourselves. And He said
living for yourself is death; I have to save you out of it and Jesus
came that we should not henceforth live unto ourselves.
mentioned here sometime previously, maybe in April or October, about
the book of Judges and how the story that we have through the book
of Judges is really the story of the Church. It begins in the time
of Joshua, whose name means Savior and whose name is the same as
Jesus. It runs through to the time of the kings; King Saul first
and then afterwards, King David. So, it really covers a period of
history between the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ when
He came to seek and save that which was lost - when He came as Savior
- and it runs through the Church age to the time when He’s going
to manifest Himself as King and Lord of all.
very, very sad book of Judges talks about the various attacks and
assaults that comes upon the people of God through this Church age.
It’s a book that goes progressively from higher to lower to lower
to lower as the different assaults come along. It could probably
be more accurately called not just the book of Judges, but the book
of Deliverers because time and again, in fact 12 times altogether,
God raises up deliverers to help God’s people to come out of the
assault and the sin that has taken them away from the blessing of
God. The assaults are very much attacks that we are all familiar
know the story of Ehud and Eglon. It’s really a story about the
battle against the flesh. The story of Jabin and Barak and Deborah
is the story about the carnal mind. There is the story of Gideon
and the battle against the Midianites. The word “Midian” means strife
and division. It’s a story of the assault against the Church; the
assault that comes to separate us one from another.
want to take us into the book of Judges and talk about the assault
which has been our theme in these days, the assault of love of
self . I think we find the story in the book of Judges
and we’ll see how the Lord sets out for us how it is to be dealt
would like you to turn in your Bibles to Judges chapter 10. You
see in verse 6 the extent of the problem.
10:6 ‘And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of
the Lord, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria,
and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the
children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook
the Lord, and served not Him.’
a pretty long list of gods they served. At the end of the book of
Joshua, Joshua asked the people whom they were going to serve. And
the people said in response to his question, “God forbid that we
should forsake the Lord to serve other gods.” That was their declaration,
but they made a mistake in their declaration. The question is not
whether we will forsake the Lord to serve other gods. The question,
or rather the answer that God is looking for, is whether we will
forsake other gods to serve the Lord. You see, He’s not looking
to be one amongst many; He’s looking to be the one who is exclusively
God. So, He is looking for us to forsake other gods.
are so many people around today who would say, “Well, yes, I love
the Lord”, but we know there’s not an exclusive devotion to Him
that is in their lives. He is one amongst many interests. He’s one
amongst many attractions. Their time is taken up with many other
things as well as a certain portion that’s given to the Lord. Their
money is given to many things as well as a certain portion that’s
given to the Lord. But that isn’t what He’s looking for in these
days. He’s looking for a people who will forsake other
gods to serve the Lord. Their declaration was an inaccurate
one; it wasn’t what God was looking for. He’s isn’t looking for
a people who will say, “We won’t leave the Lord, but we want to
keep with our other gods!” He’s saying now, “Are you going to be
a people who forsake all other and only worship the
Lord your God and Him only shall you serve?”
said that they would not forsake the Lord, but didn’t say that they
would forsake the other gods, here is the end of the matter: the
other gods overwhelmed them and they forsook the Lord and served
10:7-8 ‘And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He
sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands
of the children of Ammon. And that year they vexed and oppressed
the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel
that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites,
which is in Gilead.’
we find in this chapter is that although the children of Israel
were serving many gods, the oppression that came against the nation
came, on this occasion, from the Ammonites. It could have been any
one of them, but God decided that the instrument in His hand was
going to be the Ammonites.
you probably know already where the Ammonites come from. When Lot
had been delivered out of Sodom and his wife had looked back and
turned into the pillar of salt, Lot and his two daughters had escaped.
The two daughters had looked at their situation and said, “It looks
like the end of the line for us.” So, what they did was—first the
elder and then the younger—went into their father and in an immoral,
illicit, and incestuous relationship, they lay with him and they
both conceived. The older one conceived a son called Moab and the
younger one conceived a son called Ammon. It’s the descendants of
Ammon that are the problem in the passage in which we are looking.
is a word that means “from their own kindred” or “inbred”. I believe
that the Ammonites are a picture of being in love with yourself.
There couldn’t be anything more incestuous and close than being
in love with yourself.
sure that we’re agreed here that one of the most perverted forms
of the expression of what the world calls love in this day and age
would be incest. Sadly, very commonly, as you meet people and you
start to unfold the problems that they are still carrying, too often
a problem has been an immoral and incestuous physical relationship
within the family when people were young. We accept together how
disgusting and how horrible that is.
believe it’s expressed to us in this people called the Ammonites
and its manifestation in our own lives is love of our own selves.
This isn’t put in the Book just so we can have a history story.
The manifestation in our own lives is love of our own selves. God
is setting about and purposing to deliver a people out of self-love.
In the context especially of the time and the generation we’re in,
Paul writes to Timothy and calls these “perilous times”, times of
great danger, because at this time more than any other, men are
manifesting love of their own selves.
don’t have to be very perceptive and very discerning to look out
there and see what’s going on. Look at the entertainment, sports,
news, politics, economics and you can see that everything is tainted
and damaged by people who have no motivation in their lives but
self-profit and self-interest. It’s a deadly and horrible thing.
wants to separate us and deliver us out of love for ourselves. If
we’re willing to give ourselves to the Lord for this to happen,
we’re going to be part of a wonderful deliverance and part of a
people who indeed have come into something really, really glorious
person who God raised up to set His people free from Ammon was the
man, Jephthah, and he is introduced to us in the following chapter.
11:1-3 ‘Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and
he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah. And Gilead’s
wife bare him sons; and his wife’s sons grew up, and they thrust
out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father’s
house; for thou art the son of a strange woman. Then Jephthah fled
from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were
gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.’
as I read these stories, I’m always asking the Lord, “What is this
talking about? What is the relevance to me? Why is it in the Book?”
As I’ve looked at this, I can only see in this man, Jephthah, a
type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me tell you why. Let me point
you to some of the evidence here.
of all, his name Jephthah means “he opens” or “he will open”. Would
the Lord Jesus Christ perhaps be an opener? Has He done any opening?
How about this? This is from the Bible. This is some of the opening
that Jesus has done: He’s opened ears, He’s opened eyes, He’s opened
prison doors, He opens and no man shuts, He opens the mouth of an
ass, He opens the windows of Heaven, He opens the grave, He opens
the rock, He opens the earth, He opens the womb, He opens hearts.
Would He perhaps be a person who opens?
fact, I believe that all of us are sitting here today because the
Lord Jesus Christ has been an opener. He opens hearts! That’s why
we’re here! We’ve just been hearing how we were dead in trespasses
and sins; we were shut up at that point and excluded from salvation
until He came and opened those gates for us. He gave us
opportunity to enter in and opened up our hearts that we might receive
from Him the grace and the faith that were necessary for us to apprehend
this. He has opened for us! I’m so glad for the opening of the Lord
by grace that it’s come to us! We were thoroughly shut out of this;
in fact, we were doubly shut out of it because we were Gentiles,
most of us here. I don’t know if there’s anybody who isn’t. That
gives us double exclusion because we were strangers from the commonwealth
of Israel; yet God in His grace and mercy has opened this to us.
we have gone on from there, having our hearts touched and our lives
opened up that we might have a relationship with Him and a consciousness
of Him and be able to have our ears opened that we might hear Him
time and again in His mercy, He has opened the windows of Heaven
to us and poured us out blessing. I believe, even in these days
that we’ve been together, we’ve been under open windows from Heaven
while He has been pouring out blessing to us.
conscious that the scripture doesn’t say that He’s going to drip
out blessing. I don’t think that we’ve had drips of blessing
in these days.
Ireland, they have what they call “soft days”. Soft days are when
you open the door and you look outside and the skies are gray, which
is very common over there, and there’s just this drizzle which can
drench you through in no time at all. They call it a soft day. We
haven’t just been in a drizzle of blessing in these days and in
our lives thus far. He has opened windows of Heaven and
poured out blessing upon us. At times, perhaps just
now and again, you have experienced times where you thought you
couldn’t contain it. If you haven’t, I have to still give you encouragement
this morning that God’s purpose for us is that He wants to bring
us into a place that He shows us so much of His goodness, His grace
and His mercy that we’re not able to contain it.
was really grateful to listen to Brother Buddy when he said how
there is still a longing in his heart for more. I say, “Amen!” to
that! “God, there’s a longing in my heart for more!” There’s going
to come a day when we’re going to say, “God! I can’t take any more!”
Because we’re not able to contain it! The Opener is going to open.
He will open—Jephthah.
says, too, that he was a mighty man of valor. Amen! Hasn’t the Lord
Jesus Christ shown Himself as a mighty man of valor! He has been
the David to the Goliath. He has gone out there where no one could
stand in the battle and no one else did stand in the battle
and He has fought and He has won and we are rejoicing in His victory.
Our only hope of victory is in His victory.
the scripture goes on and says that He was the son of a harlot.
How does that apply to the Lord Jesus Christ? In the Hebrew way
of looking at things you never lost your ancestry. Time and time
again in scripture you find genealogies. When there was the restoration
from Babylon of the children of Israel, there were people who came
along and said, “We belong! We’re priests!” But they couldn’t prove
it by their genealogy. What was in the background was so important.
Where did Jesus come from? He was the son of a harlot. He came from
Rahab the harlot who married Salmon and their child was Boaz who
married Ruth and whose son was Obed; whose son was David. Right
there in Jesus’ genealogy, He was the son of a harlot.
Jesus was on earth, the Jews pointed a finger at Him and tried to
prove their self-righteousness and said, “We be not born of fornication!”
They, of course, were looking at the situation with Mary and Joseph
and the fact that they knew Jesus was born out of wedlock; they
were pointing a finger at Him. He’s not ashamed of that. He’s glad
in His own heart to welcome in those who have offended. We’re blessed
today that He’s willing to take and be identified with them. While
being separate from sinners, He was still a friend of them.
says he (Jephthah) lived in Tob. That means “good”! It just simply
means “good”. I look at Jesus and He said, “I am the good
shepherd”. In the book of Acts, it says He went about doing good.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth
that which is good. Did He bring forth that which was good? He did!
The word of God—the gracious words proceeded out of His mouth. The
actions that He did were the righteous acts of faith and obedience
of His Father. He lived in a place that was good .
then scripture says at the end of
11:3(b) ‘and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went
out with him.’ (N
‘vain’ means empty, worthless, idle.)
does that relate to Jesus? Well did not the twelve (disciples) sometimes
appear to be more hindrance than help? What profit does there seem
to be to the Lord Jesus in His three and a half years of ministry
from having those twelve that He had to drag along with Him the
whole time? At one point, He has to say to Peter, “Get thee behind
Me, Satan! For thou savorest not the things that are of God, but
of men!” What profit? What help did any of them give Him?
yet, at one point, in the book of John we read how He lifts up His
hands to Heaven and He said, “I thank You, God, that you have hid
these things from the wise and revealed them unto babes.” When Jesus
was here on earth, He was like David who had the discontent and
the distressed and the debtors—those who were in debt—who came to
Him and gathered round to Him in the cave of Adullam. Jesus did
the same. And look at us here today! What did you bring to the party?
Well, if you brought anything to the party, you surely realize by
now that it was best left outside.
gathered vain men unto him. I’m saying this because I just want
to establish for you that Jephthah is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ.
already talked about Ammon a little. Let’s read verse 4:
11:4 ‘And it came to pass in process of time, that the children
of Ammon made war against Israel.’
believe Ammon, the son of the incestuous relationship between Lot
and his daughter, is a picture of a people who are in love with
think it would be helpful to turn to 2 Timothy to which I referred
earlier. I think these are instructive verses for us because they
describe as being specific for the last days. We know and believe
that these are the days of the end of the age.
Timothy 3:1 ‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times
Dangerous! These are dangerous days, people. This is not a time
where everything is just going to go along in peace and safety.
This is a time when sudden destruction is going to come! These are
times of great danger for you and me! You might still have a little
bit of money in the bank or a few savings, but the fact is, these
are perilous times! There still might not be a rocket flying over
from Iran or North Korea or wherever the problems are in the world.
We don’t know where the next trouble is going to come from. I come
out on these trips and I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be home again!
You just don’t know where the next attack is going to be. These
are perilous times! And they’re not just perilous in the physical
and the natural spheres. There’s an assault of the demonic against
the Church; there are seducing spirits; there is deception that
is sometimes so subtle. It’s absolutely true that apart from the
gracious work of the Spirit of God, we’d all be caught up in it.
of the deceptions, if you look at them carefully, have this theme
woven into them:
Timothy 3:2 ‘For men shall be lovers of their own selves,’
theme of self-serving is God serving the creature rather than the
creature serving God. That’s the theme in almost all the deceptions.
Timothy 3:2-4 ‘For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous,
boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful,
unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers (
this means breakers of covenant ) , false accusers,
incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors,
heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from
such turn away.’ (italics Andrew Giles)
was thinking about ‘lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God’
because it’s setting two objects of our affection side by side.
Jesus said very clearly to us, ‘You cannot serve two masters.” You
can’t go after these two things in parallel. This isn’t some tandem
that we can ride on and have both of these as passengers at the
same time. Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. He said
either you’re going to hate the one and love the other or you’re
going to love the one and hate the other. In fact, one of the places
where this comes, He says:
6:24, ‘or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.’
talking about God and mammon. He said either you will hold
to the one and despise the other or you’ll do the reverse.
If we’re going to “ hold” to God—I looked up the word “hold”
because I wanted to know what was expected of me if I were going
to be one who loved God. Strong’s Concordance said, “to keep yourself
directly opposite to one”. In other words, right in front of them—right
in their face! “To hold to Him firmly; to cleave to; to pay heed
to Him”. That seems to me a very exclusive vision that’s being presented
to us. You’re putting yourself right in the face of God and saying,
“God, I’m going to hold to you!” As a horse has blinkers
(blinders is another term) to keep his vision from outside distractions,
may we have blinkered vision for God! Or else, He said if you’re
going to hold to the one, you’re going to despise the other.
Despise is “to disdain; to think little or nothing of”.
we are in this time where our love is being tested. In this time,
the critique of the human race and I believe the critique especially
of the Church is “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”.
What Jesus is saying is He is looking for a people who are right
in the face of God and blinkered (blinded) to everything else and
they are standing in front of Him and saying, “Only You. Only You.
I only want to see Your face. I only want to hear Your
voice; nothing but.”
children of Ammon are a people who dispense with that. I believe
it’s particularly a church problem of saying, “God bless me.” It’s
all about me.
know the prayer of Jabez. Jabez prayed, “Oh, that Thou would bless
me indeed.” It’s a lovely prayer and it’s a prayer that has spoken
to many and I don’t in any way want to speak against it, but you
know how a few years back a little book was written about the Prayer
of Jabez. It became a big seller. Not only did the book become a
big seller, but around it became a whole lot of other things: the
Prayer of Jabez for Young People; the Prayer of Jabez for Ladies;
the Prayer of Jabez Bible Study; the Prayer of Jabez t-shirts. The
whole works happened!
just suppose for a moment, instead of the Prayer of Jabez, it had
been the Prayer of Samson. Do you think it might have sold? Do you
know what Samson prayed? “Let me die!” There’s a great money making
opportunity for you. I’m throwing it out there. You can see what
you can do with it. (laughter) How about the Prayer of Samson? Don’t
say I didn’t do anything for you.
see, it’s love of self that’s behind so much of that. God sent His
Son to bless us by turning us from our iniquities. That’s the blessing.
That’s really the way God wants to bless us at the moment; to get
us out of love of self. So much of
the exposition of the word of God in the book, Prayer of Jabez,
and the way it was taken on, was about “Lord, do it to me.”
make us a people who are blinkered; to look only to Your face; that
we stand opposite You and the other distractions don’t come and
shine in on the retinas of our soul.
warfare. This is war against Israel we are talking about. Go back
to the book of Judges.
the way, I missed one of the comparisons between Jephthah and Jesus.
Jephthah was thrust out from his brethren and that’s also happened
to Jesus. He ‘came to His own and His own received Him not’.
people then come to Jephthah who has probably been a little bit
of a Robin Hood in the time in between. He’s had these vain men
with him and they’ve had to live and probably gone on excursions
like a little bit of a guerilla band. He obviously did quite well
at it; somehow his reputation reached the people of Israel who were
being oppressed by the Ammonites. The people of Israel came to him
and said, “Jephthah, we want you to be our captain.”
11:6 ‘And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that
we may fight with the children of Ammon.’
“captain” is a person who heads things up in times of war. I understand
it’s a military term in the Hebrew. Jephthah said, “Hold on a minute.”
11:7 ‘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?’
you ever done that? When do you pray the most? When do you go to
the Lord and say, “God! I need Your help!”? When you are in distress.
We say, “Oh, Lord Jesus! I can’t deal with this thing! This is too
big for me! Help me in this!” We say, “The money is running out!”
Or, “I can’t get along with my wife!” Or, “I’m really concerned
for my children!” When things are going wrong, the prayer goes up!
And Jesus says, “Is that all you want? You just want Me to bail
you out in the battle times?”
people who were talking to Jephthah got the message and they said
11:8-9 ‘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. 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 ?’
“head” is a ruler in time of peace and war. So the question
comes up here as: Is your relationship with God one that is for
emergency times only? Sure, I love the fact that He is a very present
help in time of trouble and I’ve availed of that help so many times.
Probably many times I’ve availed of it when I’ve got into trouble
by my own deliberate waywardness. He’s been there; a very present
help in time of trouble and He’s come and been a captain. But, the
question that is underlying all of that is: What about what’s going
to happen in the times of peace? The conclusion is in verse 11:
11:11 ‘Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people
made him head and captain…’
I amongst a people today who are willing to have the Lord Jesus
Christ not only to be their help in times of emergency and desperate
times, but also to have Him as the Lord over every portion
of their lives? Don’t answer me because what you say in a meeting
is not very relevant. You can make a commitment in times like this,
but you know it’s in the walking out that we’ll prove it.
we willing to have the Lord Jesus Christ to be head and
captain? He’s asking me that question. It’s a daily question. It’s
a question for the times of plenty and the time for hardship. It’s
a question for the mountains and the valleys. It’ a question for
the summer and the winter.
and captain; they thought they could get away with just
making him captain. He said, “No, if you’re going to be delivered
from Ammon, I’m going to have to be head and captain.”
you just go to the Lord Jesus Christ in times of desperation, really
all you’re looking to have is a Band-Aid so that you can go back
into the easy life. That really is what you want when you love yourself.
You want to get back into the times of tranquility and peace so
that you can sit back and enjoy yourself.
says it’s not all about you. If you really want to be free from
Ammon, I need to be your head and captain. I need to be
your Lord twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.
must know this more than I’ve ever noticed. There must be so much
self-interest in our praying sometimes.
son, Matthew, was going to be here for this convention, but the
engine of his car blew up on his way here and he had to get towed
home. I had to take my disappointment to the Lord because my grandchildren
were going to come. (Congregation groaned “Ohhh”) No, please don’t
say, “ohhh”. I’m learning slowly to say, “Thank You, Lord” to whatever
His will is.
Matthew was very little, I’d watched parenting and experienced it,
of course. I was thinking that people made a real “meal” of this
parenting thing; it really wasn’t as hard as everybody made it out
to be. I had read that Abraham commanded his children; God liked
that. I realized what was really necessary was a clear command to
the children - and that is necessary. There are many parents
who don’t do that. God wants to see children commanded. That, of
course, puts everything in black and white and you either get a
response of obedience or one of disobedience. I needed to be alert,
I thought, to the times when the response was one of disobedience
to the clear command and then I could deal with it by the obvious
method of the 5-fold ministry (hand) on the backside. (laughter)
I thought it really isn’t that hard, but you know there was something
of self-interest in all of that and I recognize it now. I thank
God for the grace that’s redeemed Matthew out of the situation that
I created. The self-interest that was in it was that I wanted to
have good children for my glory. I wanted others to look
at these models of good behavior. I wasn’t really disciplining my
son for his own sake; I was disciplining him for my sake
and that’s horrible! That’s self-love manifest through your own
children. That’s an abuse and yet I was doing that. God has been
merciful to me.
our praying and our dealings with God, self-interest is woven in
at so many places. When we come to Him and ask Him to meet our needs,
how often are we doing it just out of self-interest? I find it quite
hard sometimes to write the emails when I come back from a trip
to Africa because I don’t want it to sound like it’s all about me,
because it really isn’t! I stand there in awe and watch what God
is doing and I’m so blessed to have eyes that can see these things
when God is at work. Joe LaTour will tell you that God does these
things in spite of us and not because of us. I don’t want, at anytime,
for you to think, “Wow! Aren’t those ministry wonderful!” Because
I tell you, God is showing us, I believe all of us very, very clearly,
that it’s not about us; it’s the grace, the power, the goodness
of God that is doing these things. I sometimes think, “How can I
write these emails?” It’s all about God; it isn’t us.
have had so much self-interest and promotion of self and love of
self that’s come through in our relationship with the Lord. We’ve
wanted Him to do things so that we can boast about them. We want
our churches to be big numerically so that we can say, “Look! My
community has this many people in them.” “My church has grown by
this much!” It’s horrible!
wants to be head and captain; head and captain; head and
captain. It says at the end of verse 11:
11:11 ‘…Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh.’
means “watchtower”. It was first mentioned in the scriptures when
Jacob and Laban were parting for the last time. They put up a heap
of stones there and I think it was Jacob who called the place Mizpeh
and Laban called it Gilead. Mizpeh means watchtower and what they
said when they parted was, “The Lord watch between you and me.”
The Lord is looking. The Lord is looking. They drew a line
and they said, “We’re not going to cross this line in anger. If
we cross this line, it’s always going to be in peace. God is watching.”
is watching! Do you know how we’re going to be judged? You understand
this? It’s according to our works. Every idle word
that men have spoken; they are going to give account in the
Day of Judgment. Does that send some sort of shiver through you?
Things that are done in secret are going to be shouted from the
housetops. God is watching! Every time you get down on your knees,
maybe every time you make a contract in your heart and you say,
“My God, I give my life to you.” God is watching! He’s expecting
performance of that which we say we are going to do. There isn’t
anything off the record when it comes to God.
talk to each other and we say, “This is off the record.” I go to
Brother George and I say, “Brother George, I want to say this with
you, but don’t tell anybody.” There’s nothing off the record
with God. It’s all there. And every time we’ve said, “Jesus, You
be Lord”, it’s on the record.
then goes into some dealings here with the Ammonites. He communicated
with the children of Ammon.
11:12 ‘And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children
of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come
against me to fight in my land?’
Ammonites did not live in the territory that was ever designated
to be part of the Promised Land; they lived outside of that territory.
What they were doing was making incursions into the land of Israel
and attacking within the land. They were attacking the tribes that
were on the east side of Jordan and particularly in the land that
was taken from the Amorites.
Jephthah is talking to the king of Ammon says, “This land that you’re
trying take, you have never owned.” The king of Ammon was saying,
“This is my land.” And Jephthah says, “No. This was never
your land.” Jephthah gives three reasons the Ammonites should
not take the land that had been taken by Israel under Joshua from
the Amorites. You have to hear and see the difference between the
Ammo n ites and the Amo r ites.
Ammonites were incursing into the land that had been taken by the
Amorites. The Amorites territory was part of the Promised Land.
comes up with three arguments to the king of Ammon why his battle
is a wrong battle; why he is fighting a wrong battle.
The first argument; he said, “This land was not taken from you;
it was taken from the Amorites.”
word Amorites means “prominence”. It has a sub-meaning of “publicity”
and “boasting”. It has to do with pride—prominence—pride. Would
you think at all—is it possible—that love of self might want to
manifest itself in pride? Hand in hand, aren’t they? They go together.
Jephthah says, “The territory of pride is not an area where I’m
going to let you work.”
recently had a foot washing ceremony at home and it got me studying
the subject of foot washing. In the Old Testament, the area of foot
washing is rather interesting. Foot washing took place a number
of times and what happened is they brought water to the people whose
feet needed washing and they said, “Here you are; here’s the water.”
They supplied the water for the washing of the feet, but they did
not wash the feet. The only person who got close to doing it was
Abigail; when after Nabal had died and she had been called by David
and brought to be his wife, she said, “This is just a great privilege.
I’m not worthy to be the one who washes the feet of your servants.”
We don’t find out that she ever did it, but that’s the closest we
get to somebody saying, “I’m willing to lower myself to the point
of washing feet.”
in the Old Testament, foot washing was something that you did to
yourself with water that was supplied to you. In the New Testament
and there’s a new level of humility that is brought in by the Lord
Jesus Christ when He gets down in front of His disciples and washes
their feet. This level of lowering and abasing self is something
that comes to us in the New Covenant. It was never possible until
the Spirit was given. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, people
are not going to go that low. There’s pride that’s in our makeup.
The pride of life that’s been there since the Garden. People under
the law just don’t go that low. It takes a work of grace in our
lives that we’re willing to get down and to serve in that humility.
I looked at the whole matter of foot washing, I concluded that Jesus
was not out to establish another type of church service. In fact,
I don’t mind that we do it as a part of communion and foot washing.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it. That was not Jesus’ motive in
washing His disciples’ feet. Actually, He does not say, “What I
have done, you do”; He said, “ As I have done, you do.”
What He had done was He had come before them as a slave and as a
servant and bowed before them and said, “I have set you an example
of being the lowest servant. Now you do it.” It was not so that
we should have a special service when the organ music plays and
everything else goes very quiet and we get the towels out.
Romania they are quite big into foot washing. In one of the churches
we go to they seem to do it regularly, but only the church leaders
get to experience it. The church leaders ought to be the ones who
are doing it to the people if they want to do it because the purpose
is a demonstration of humility and service.
was not trying to say, “Let’s add it as another sort of church service.
We have the praise service; we have the young people’s meeting;
and now let’s have the foot washing.” He is saying, “I want you,
my disciples, to know the glory of serving, of getting down low,
of humbling yourselves.”
in following the Lord Jesus Christ that this love of self is dealt
with. Some of the ways it can be dealt with is by humbling ourselves
before one another, refusing the spirit of the Amorites which is
saying, “I’m something special”, and getting down before one another
and serving the brethren.
serve the brethren by cleaning the bathrooms. We serve the brethren
by doing the things that are not just our duty to do; where we go
further than our duty and we do the things that we choose
to do—we get to do—because of the love of the brethren.
I believe one of the reasons that community is such a special place
is God gives us special opportunities to serve the brethren, to
manifest the nature of Christ, to get the nature worked in us in
when you are just in your nuclear family—you be where God wants
you to be—but when you’re just in your nuclear family, there are
not that many opportunities not to serve yourself because you are
your family; they’re your flesh and blood. But when you get into
community—wow. Who left all those dishes there to do? Who was it
that left that mess there? Who was it that didn’t do this? Who was
it that did do that and left a job? Oh, it’s all over the place.
So God gives us service, service, service and he puts before us
service so that the Amorite kingdom is not able to be taken by the
also had another argument as to why the Ammonites should not take
the Amorite kingdom is in verse 26.
11:26 ‘while Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer
and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts
of Arnon, three hundred years? Why therefore did ye not recover
them within that time?’
Second argument: Jephthah said, “This has been Israel’s possession
for a long time; 300 years. You don’t have the right to this. If
you had the right to this, why didn’t you do something about it
earlier? We’ve had it for 300 years.”
just feel something in this is significant in that number 300, because
300 is a number that speaks of the remnant—the sons of God—like
Gideon’s 300—that final firstfruits company that God is gathering
together. It just seems to me that God is saying, “I have always
had a people. All through the centuries I’ve had a people; there
has been a line of this people who are totally devoted and committed
to have their love only for Me. There are those who have laid down
know, we have a heritage. It’s not a heritage that came through
our natural genealogy, but a heritage in God and there are those
who have gone before. Hebrews 11 tells us about some of them, but
the rest is in the next chapter to come. Its unwritten verses could
take us through the last 2,000 years of many actual people whose
stories have never been told and yet they have been there.
able to say, “I’ve always had a people. This land has always been
Mine. There has always been somebody here in these cities.” Perhaps
there’s a sense of privilege; a sense of responsibility; a sense
of awe that comes when you realize about those who have gone before
and paid the price. Here we are and if the book had been written
of these saints of the last 2,000 years and your name was in the
next chapter, you would say, “Wow, do I really belong in this line?”
God is saying, “That’s what I want for you. That’s the calling.”
issue is, do you love your life or don’t you? Remember in Revelation
it says that ‘they loved not their lives even to the death’ and
that’s how they overcame.
Then the third argument that Jephthah has is that God gave us this
land. God gave us this land.
11:23 ‘So now the Lord God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites…’
gave us this land. You wouldn’t have any chance in this if God wasn’t
at work in our lives and in our midst. This self-love and the pride
that it works in tandem with are so engrained in the membranes of
the individual of the natural man that we would not have a chance
of pleasing God but for the fact that God in His grace was willing
to work in our lives.
don’t know if it ever amazes you that God has set about this project.
I like a quiet life. God has set about this project of taking a
people that are nothing but self-interested, self-loving sinners
and saying, “I’m going to perfect them.” Perfect them on this side
of the veil. That’s a project that is mind-boggling. That is not
the recipe for an easy life. He’s taking rebels; He’s taking people
that have been passionate in their love for themselves and saying,
“I’m going to break that and I will turn their hearts like rivers
of water and make them passionate instead in their love for Me.
I’m going to put blinkers (blinders) on their eyes so that all they
want to see is My face.”
Lord says, “Seek ye My face.” And my heart says, “Thy face, Lord,
will I seek.” How can that ever happen to this heart? It’s God that
has to do it. He’s the one who’s giving us the land.
11:29-31 ‘Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah and he
passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead,
and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.
And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt
without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, then
it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house
to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall
surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.’
first of all, let’s not just skip passed the fact that the Spirit
of the Lord is involved in this. The Spirit of the Lord came on
Jephthah. The Spirit of the Lord came on Jesus. The Holy Spirit
descended upon Him like a dove. Is that where it stops? The Spirit
of the Lord has come on you and on me so that we might have exactly
the same equipment—exactly the same power—endued with power from
on High that He has.
temptations in the wilderness, and I believe all through His life,
included the pride of life and He overcame it by the power of the
Spirit. He went to the cross in the power of the Spirit. So, as
we face the same opponent, we have the same resource.
read about the victory and then we’ll read about the vow in a moment.
11:32-33 ‘So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to
fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.
And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even
twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very
great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before
the children of Israel.
really great, decisive victory was won. The cities spread over about
a 60-mile battlefield and there was tremendous victory. Yet, the
precursor to this tremendous victory was a double-headed prayer.
There were two things that were involved with this victory. First
thing was the fighting of the battle. Jephthah says to the Lord,
“We have to go out and fight this battle, but if You shall without
fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands…”
there’s an aspect of the victory that involved the Lord Jesus going
out there and doing a work on the cross. This battle had to be fought.
There had to be a Man who was the first Man from amongst the whole
of creation—the firstborn—who would go out there. And because He
was not living in love of His own self, He was willing to give
His life. Not just give His life to those who were nice; not
for those who were lovely, but for those who were enemies, rebels,
dead in trespasses and sins. So much was He willing to give Himself
in obedience to the Father and out of love of the Father.
Bible says, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man would
lay down his life for his friends.’ Now at that time, we were His
enemies! What love He had! That was the first aspect of this victory;
someone went out and fought the battle.
was a second aspect of this victory. In the Jephthah vow, he says,
“Lord, if you do that, I am going to give as a devotion—a devoted
thing to You—the first thing that comes from my house when I return.”
suppose I have thought in times past as I’ve read this story that
perhaps he expected when he came that the family dog would come
out. “Sorry, Rover, but I made a promise.” But, do you really think
it would be an appropriate thing to say to God before you go into
battle, “God, if you give me victory, it’s goodnight for Rover.”
It doesn’t really work does it?
else do you keep in your house? Sheep? Cows? No, come on; you don’t
keep those in your house. What did he expect to come out of his
house? If you were reading this in Spanish, you would read it differently.
It doesn’t say in verse 31, ‘ what soever cometh forth of
the doors of my house’. In the Spanish Bible it says, ‘ who soever
comes forth from my house’. The commentators, who I don’t agree
with very much, all agree together and it seems right to me that
Jephthah was fully aware that what he was doing was committing himself
to human sacrifice. He didn’t go into thinking that something else
was going to happen; he knew that what was going to happen was human
course, the commentators are all horrified by this; totally horrified,
because they say that is Molech—that is sin, but they don’t understand
quite a few things. First of all, what they need to understand is
that a previous verse said, ‘The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah’;
so this was not a man speaking his own mind; this was a man speaking
in the Spirit of the Lord. Because of the pride that’s in men, they
don’t put their hands up and say, “I don’t understand this”, they
would rather work and work and work and try to say that the guy
Jephthah got it wrong; he was a fool. Well, he wasn’t a fool. He
was being inspired by the Spirit of God to make this vow.
notice in this story, which continues and Jephthah’s daughter is
sacrificed, that there is no condemnation expressed in the scriptures
against what he did. If we’re going to join with most Bible commentaries
and say, “That was wrong”, what we’re doing is we’re doing something
that Scripture itself doesn’t do. I believe that most of these men,
students and scholars that they were, have little understanding
of the plan of God as He has shown it to us. We are privileged.
read the story through to the end. We need to fill in the gaps.
11:34-40 ‘And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold,
his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances:
and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes,
and said, Alas, my daughter! Thou hast brought me very low, and
thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth
unto the Lord, and I cannot go back. And she said unto him, My father,
if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according
to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the
Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the
children of Ammon. And she said unto her father, Let this thing
be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down
upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. And
he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with
her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. And
it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto
her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed:
and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, that the daughters
of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite
four days in a year.’
made a vow. Turn with me to Leviticus 27 where we can just quickly
look at what the law said about vows. Leviticus 27 is a chapter
where God prescribes for Israel what’s to happen in terms of vows.
27:1 ‘And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children
of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow,
the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation.’
means special, wonderful, marvelous. “Thy estimation” means “your
in 27 verses here, God says you can value the people and then He
goes ahead and does it for Moses: this much for a man, this much
for a woman, this much for a child, this much for a female child,
this much for an old person—male and female. Then, He says this
is what happens to beasts and property and all the other things.
Next He says, “If you want to redeem any of the things that are
vowed, you can redeem them but you add one fifth to the valuation
and you pay extra. With all these things that were vowed—that were
set before the Lord —that could be given to Him in terms of marvelous
and wonderful commitments to God- there was an escape clause. Hallelujah.
many times have you said to the Lord, “I will”? “I’ll never do it
again, Lord.” Or, “Lord, I’ll do this for You.” “Lord, you can have
remember, years ago, when I was Youth Leader in the Baptist Church
and we ran a Youth Club. Some of the kids off the streets came in
and after awhile they started to get a bit violent. I, being a coward,
didn’t like this and I began to be scared and wondered if I was
going to be a target for their violence. I got down before the Lord
one evening when we were going to down to this Youth Club and I
can still picture the chair I knelt in front of. I said to the Lord,
“Lord, if they kill me, that’s alright. I just want to serve you.
I’m willing to give my life for You.” Do you know how many times
I’ve taken it (my life) back?
many times have you given your life to the Lord? We have a Community
in Blessington, and it’s better than it used to be, but we used
to have family meetings that were difficult. There would be a person
who was in “the chair” for the family meeting—and sometimes it felt
like the electric chair. I, often, was the target. It got to the
point, in fact, where Kathy didn’t come because she said, “I just
can’t take it.” I didn’t like family meetings. I would do anything
to avoid having to arrange a family meeting because it often became
unpleasant. Then, I found the answer! I went back in front of that
chair—actually it was that same chair that has stayed with us all
these years—and I said, “Lord, I’m willing to die.” And you know
family meetings suddenly got easy, because I went to them having
already made the sacrifice! I said, “They can kill me!” Whether
they killed me or not, after that it didn’t matter, because I’d
already come to the end of the matter. Nothing worse can happen
than that, can it? It was easy after that! I had already made the
decision. But, how many times since have I taken my life back and
fought for my rights and got involved in arguments?
Tony Cardenas shared with us during this convention and gave us
such a good line and so many excellent stories of how God had taken
him to places where he had to lay down his rights.
have to stop fighting for our rights! It’s to do with love of self!
But, praise God, in these verses in Leviticus, He says you can redeem
a vow! Where does redemption come from? God said, “In all these
things there’s a price that can be paid. I’ll add a fifth to it
and it can be paid.” Five is the number of grace. He says, “OK,
you made your commitment and you broke it, but there’s Someone who
has paid the price.” I’m grateful.
there comes later in the chapter a change because there’s a different
sort of vow.
27:28 ‘Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote
unto the Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of
the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted
thing is most holy unto the Lord.’
holy”—that phrase is Holy of Holies. God is saying there is
going to be a people who make a vow of dedication and they won’t
back out of it. It’s not going to be that somebody has to come along
and bring a redemption price because the vow is broken. This is
a devotion and a dedication out of which there’s going to be no
said regarding Jericho, it’s devoted; it’s dedicated. But, Achan
said, “Oh, no. Oh, no.” And Achan paid the penalty because Jericho
said regarding the Amalekites, they’re devoted and Saul said, “Oh,
no. I’ll keep the best.” And Saul paid the penalty because Amalek
is looking for a people who will be serious enough with Him now
to say, “I want to be devoted. I don’t want to retreat out of this.
I don’t want a let out clause. I don’t want to write a rider in
the agreement that says, “I am totally devoted to you, Lord, until
I change my mind.” Haven’t you had that in your agreement? He’s
looking for a people who say, “I want to be devoted; totally dedicated;
do you know what this is? This is the means by which you and I deal
with the love of self. This whole story in Judges is a story of
a man and his daughter who were battling against the enemy of self-love.
go back into the book of Judges. Jephthah’s daughter was devoted.
She represents, I believe, a corporate company of people who are
saying, “God, it’s You; it’s nothing else; it’s You. I give my life
to You. I do not want to retreat from this promise.”
Jesus died on the cross, do you think He knew that He was bringing
forth a people who were going to make this devotion? I believe He
did. I believe He knew before He went to the cross that there was
going to be a people who would come after Him; who would walk the
same path that He walked. He said, “Follow Me.” Where did He walk?
He walked to the cross. He said, ‘If a man would come after Me,
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.’
virgin daughter of Jephthah, I believe, is representative of that
people. The Lord Jesus Christ when He went to the cross knew that
He was involving another people who He was promising to bring to
the Father; who were going to be totally dedicated and it was going
to cost them their lives.
(Jephthah) came back from the battle and she came out—this virgin
daughter—she was dancing; she was playing the tambourines. The virgin
daughter of Jerusalem in the Bible - you can read about her in Jeremiah-
is exactly the same. This virgin daughter represents the Church.
She doesn’t represent all the Church. She represents a remnant in
the Church. I believe what she represents is found in this congregation
because this is a people with a calling to be part of this girl.
Sennacherib came against Jerusalem and Hezekiah was there in the
city and all the huge forces of Sennacherib were on the outside
and Hezekiah was seeking the Lord, the word of the Lord came to
be given to Sennacherib, “The virgin daughter of Jerusalem despises
you” (2 Kings 19:21). It’s a group of people who are in the Church
today who are saying to this enemy who is the love of self, “Love
of self, I despise you! I am willing to give my life rather than
to bow down at the altar and under the dominion and the oppression
is one of the most disgusting forms of love that has ever been expressed
in the human race and it’s found in us. The answer is to die.
said when he sees her, “You’ve brought me very low.” The word for
“low” is “I’m bowed down”. The phrase in the book of Philippians
where it says, ‘every knee shall bow’, is actually a quote from
the Old Testament and it’s this word. Jephthah says “I’m bowed down”
in the Hebrew. What Jephthah is saying is, “This is real
worship. I’ve brought my own life and I’m also bringing my daughter.”
heard it so many times in this convention; God’s seeking worshippers;
He’s looking for worshippers. He’s not looking for people who sing
songs in meetings. He’s looking for a people who, like He did, offer
his life as a sacrifice—a sacrifice of blood on the cross. That
was worship. He’s looking for a people who will come along behind
Him and follow in His steps and do what He did. When He finds that
people, He says, “This isn’t just bowing; this is bowing very low.
This is worship of worship.”
is what God is seeking. He’s seeking a people who will stop loving
themselves and will start to love Him; because He died, that people
‘should no longer live unto themselves but unto to Him who loved
them and gave Himself for them’.
also says, “You’re one of those who trouble me.” I love it because
you know in the middle of my struggle—and let’s not pretend that
this is easy—in the middle of the struggle, Jesus feels everything
that I feel. The Bible says that He’s there in the presence of God
making intercession for us. Jesus already said, “All power is given
unto Me in heaven and in earth” so, why would He be praying when
all power is given to Him? Really, there is an aspect of prayer
to it, but there is more than one meaning in the Greek and what
it says is that He’s ready “to get involved in what we are in”.
The intercession is an engagement of the Lord Jesus Christ in our
here’s Jephthah and he knows what his daughter is going to have
to go through and He says, “I’m feeling your trouble! I’m involved
in it! I’m committed to this with you! You’re not standing alone!”
Hallelujah! The presence of God is with a people who are giving
themselves to say, “I don’t want anymore to be a lover of my own
life! I’ve been there! It disgusts me! I want to turn from it, Lord!
I really want my life to be one that is devoted. I don’t want a
let out clause!” And the presence and the help and the feeling of
our infirmities are there in the Lord as we go through this.
she gives herself and she gives herself, really without complaining,
to laying down her life because it’s the will of her father. She
asks for these two months in which she can go up on the mountains
and be there with her fellows.
asked the Lord about this and I expect there’s a whole lot more
to this, but I was thinking how before Jesus went to the cross—before
He made this commitment Himself—the Spirit took Him up a mountain.
There on the Mount of Transfiguration, two people came to Him and
they talked to Him before His own laying down of His life. They
had fellowship with Him and they talked to Him concerning the exodus—the
decease—that He was going to accomplish. I thought, “Lord, You are
so good. You are requiring of us this commitment, this devotion,
this dedication of our whole lives without a release clause. You’re
looking for a people who say, ‘I’m willing to die’ and what You
do is You put us together with our companions so that we can talk
together about it and be established and encouraged together on
and Elijah talked to Jesus and I think they probably said to Jesus
things like, “Hey, going to death isn’t that bad because look what’s
on the other side. We’ll tell you a little bit about the other side.”
They strengthened Him because they had been through something—not
everything by any means, but something—that He had experienced.
Moses had been involved in an exodus.
as we’re gathered together with our companions here and we’re sharing
together and encouraging each other and saying, “We can do this.
We’re the people. This is our calling. This is where God is taking
us”, at the same time I’m aware that the Lord Jesus Christ is also
here in the midst and He’s saying, “I’ve done it and I can talk
together with you about this exodus and it’s alright; you can do
it; My presence is with you. I’ll take you through and it’s worth
it”; as One who has gone before and left footprints for us on the
11:39(a) ‘And it came to pass at the end of the two months…’
two months in which they talked about the wonderful work that Jesus
had done and the wonderful empowering of the Holy Spirit, the anointing
for burial, and they communed together.
11:39(b) ‘that she returned unto her father who did with her according
to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man.’
you ready for the Lord to do what you vowed? Do you really want
Him to be serious with you and take you through what you’ve committed
to? He’s heard what you said. He’s looking for a people who say,
“Yes, Lord, I meant it. What I did back there in my lounge for the
Youth Club; what I did back there facing the family meeting; what
I’ve done at the altar here; what I’ve done at other places, Lord,
I really meant it. Do it to me. Take me there.”
11:39(end)– 40 ‘And it was a custom in Israel, that the daughters
of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite
four days in a year.’
word “lament” occurs two times in the Bible. The other time it’s
translated “rehearse”. I don’t know why it’s translated “lament”
here. In the Spanish Bible, it’s the word “to repeat”. One Jewish
rabbi says it means, “to celebrate”; another Jewish rabbi says it
means, “to praise”. I can’t find anybody who says it means “to lament”.
It sounds awfully like a pity party. This isn’t a pity party; this
is a praise meeting.
are the daughters of Jerusalem. This is the rest of the Church.
This is the rest of creation. This is everybody else who needs somebody
to go ahead and show them where they have to walk, saying, “Hey,
we have seen the fruit of this!” This is the whole creation which
is groaning in travail, now at last seeing the manifestation of
the sons of God.
number “four” occurs here. The number “four” speaks of the whole
creation. It talks about things that are universal. The blessing
of a people who will give themselves to this is not just upon that
people; it ripples out and impacts the whole of God’s creation.
That’s why when Jesus went to the cross, He knew what He was doing
and He said, “And you’re going to have to come after Me and take
up your cross.”
interesting thing here, I believe, is it says these daughters of
Jerusalem didn’t lament, they repeated!
the kingdom of God, in the eons that are to come—going on into infinity—when
God has cleaned up this heaven and earth and brought in a new heaven
and new earth wherein dwells righteousness, there will be no
love of self ! It won’t be there in the
Divinity; it won’t be there in the Sons of God; it won’t be there
in the rest of creation!
you just imagine for a moment a heaven and earth populated by people
out of whom has been taken every vestige of self-love? Wow! Just
think for a minute what society would be like if there was no love
is going to be the first partaker of the fruits this side of the
veil. Somebody—some people—are going to say, “Yes, Lord, I’ll do
it if that’s what you want from my life; I’ll do it.” And, it will
cost you your life. I make no bones about it this morning; it’s
going to cost you your life. This is the way of the cross! But somebody
is going to do it and creation will not escape from the bondage
of corruption until a people come forth who are willing to pay this
there a virgin daughter of Jephthah in this place today?
any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, pick up his cross,
and follow Me.’
daughters of Jerusalem—after Jephthah’s daughter had done it—they
would go and they’d say, “Let’s repeat it. This is so good.” They
celebrated by saying, “Let’s repeat it. Let us do it. We don’t want
to lose this.” Because they have seen that it works.
has called us to a walk of faith. We have not seen, yet, that it
works. We have just the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. This creation
needs to see it and they won’t see it until somebody else does it.
The word of God is established by two witnesses. The word of God
hasn’t been established, yet. Jesus has been a faithful and true
witness but that’s only one witness. Why doesn’t the world fall
and embrace Jesus and bow the knee now and say, “He is Lord”? Because
the word of God has to be established in the mouth of two witnesses.
Where’s the second?
we were baptized in water back in the Baptist Church, there was
a little saying that the pastor had as we went into the waters of
baptism. He said, “This is the way the Master went. Should not the
servant tread it still?”
establish this. Let’s be the people that establishes this by being
the second witness; following the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross
and through the cross until the daughters of Jerusalem come up and
they say, “Let us repeat it!”