Judges 12 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional

“The Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived. And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, ‘Let me cross over,’ the men of Gilead would say to him, ‘Are you an Ephraimite?’ If he said, ‘No,’ then they would say to him, ‘Then say, Shibboleth!’ And he would say, ‘Sibboleth,’ for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites.”

Some people are not content to sit at the right hand and the left of the Kingdom, but insist on occupying the throne itself! That describes Ephriam, perfectly. After having brushed-off Jephthah’s plea for help in the fight against Ammon, Ephraim has the gall to charge Jephthah “Why didn’t you call us to go with you?” In their pride, they are “somebodies” and you don’t treat somebodies like that.

Jephthah, having been a nobody (11:1-3), was likely unimpressed with somebodies. Jephthah reminds Ephraim that he had, in fact, summoned Ephraim and they had left him in the lurch. What Ephraim did not do, however, Adonai did!

Perhaps, Ephraim was expecting the psychology of Gideon (8:1-3). What they got was the sword of Jephthah! The whole thing escalated when the Ephraimites began flinging racial slurs at Jephthah’s Gileadite men. Jephthah returns the gesture by a little prejudice of his own. All of the sudden, the “high classed” prideful Ephriamite dialect becomes death signal. This is much the same way the genteel Virginia accemt must have been detectable to the Pennsylvania Yankee soldier during the American Civil War, where privileged plantation owners might have tried to deny their allegiance when confronted by a Union soldier.

Basically, we have an indictment against pride. And it is not unique to ancient Ephraim. The human spirit that feels it must dominate, must control and be recognized is alive & well in our culture. It flourishes in our Messianic culture. How we want to be the ones on Yeshua’s varsity squad! How difficult it is for me to rejoice in G_d’s saving work when I am not a celebrity in the middle of it. We don’t like to play the game unless people will appropriately stroke our egos for doing so.

So we must fight against taking the credit for accomplishing what can only be accomplished by the Rucah haKodesh (Holy Spirit). We must remain humble and remind ourselves that, while we may be co-inheritors with Messiah, we are also “slaves” with a Master and we are nothing apart from the redeeming atonement of Messiah Yeshua.

~Steve Wiggins
Daily Devotional, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014