Serious Mistakes (Part 2)
The Scriptures was given to us so we can learn from it. It is said that “History repeats itself”. I’ve seen this happen many times. But one thing is, we never learn from History. Despite of so many examples, failures, deaths, heartaches, we still commit the same mistakes. So today we are going to talk on some more mistakes committed by famous Bible characters and hopefully learn from it.
I. The Strange vow of Jephthah and its consequence
1. Jephthah was mighty man of valour though he was a son of an harlot (Judges 11:1)
2. Because of his illegitimate birth, his half-brothers cast him out denying him of his inheritance. (Judges 11:2)
3. He fled to the land of Tob where he gathered a band of men. He was summoned as a deliverer over the Ammonites.
4. The secret of Jephthah’s victory was revealed at the beginning of the battle’s account. “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him”
5. In the Old Testament times the Holy Spirit came upon people to empower them for tasks (Ex. 31:3, Judges 13:25, 14:6 etc.)
6. Before going to war with the Ammonites, he made an unusual vow to God. He would offer as a burnt offering to Yahweh whatsoever should first come from his doors to greet him upon his return (Jg. 11:29-31).
7. The vow was made because of his strong desire for victory. He knows that if victory were to be gained, God must effect it. This shows his dependence on God.
The way in which Jephthah kept his vow has been the subject of debates. Did he slew his daughter as a human sacrifice or did he devoted her to God’s service for the rest of her life in perpetual celibacy for the Tabernacle? I would side on the later for few reason. First, Jephthah knows that human sacrifice is contrary to the Mosaic Law (Lev. 18:21; 20:25; Deut. 12:31; 18:10) and Israelite practice. Jephthah respects and fears God and he would not go against God’s law. Third, the Gileadite elders would have objected and no priest would officiate burning human sacrifice in the Tabernacle. Fourth, the fact that he permitted her daughter to bewail her virginity for two months suits the idea of her soon being devoted to God in perpetual virginity. There may be more reason but the most important here is do not be rash in making a vow. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Many sick people make a promise or a vow to God just to experience healing but when they get healed, they forget what they have promised the Lord.
II. Jonah’s Disobedience and its consequences (Jonah )
1. We all know that the prophet Jonah was disobedient at God’s call at the beginning of the Book. (Jonah 1:3)
2. He experienced miraculous answer to prayer while he was inside the belly of a great fish (Jonah 2).
3. He preached repentance and saw the whole city of Nineveh humble themselves from the king down to the least (Jonah 3:5) of its citizen.
4. If the book of Jonah have ended in chapter 3 verse 10, he would have looked very successful
5. Instead of rejoicing for the salvation of sinners and for being spared from their immediate and tragic doom, he was displeased (Jonah 4:1).
6. We see here how he still harbour resentment and ill feelings to the repentant Ninevites, his discontentment for God’s decision, his death wish, and anger (Jonah 4:2-4).
7. Divine Reproof
Here is a man who obeyed the Lord but whose heart was not in it. He may have preached the greatest revival sermon in the Old Testament but hate the people whom he was preaching. Even though Jonah’s heart was not in his ministry, the Lord blessed His Word anyway, and the people repented despite Jonah’s effort to hinder them. It is possible for the Lord to bless a ministry without blessing its minister. When our heart is not right with God, we will miss the many wonderful benefits that can come from our service. However, God can and does accomplish His works. God did this for His great love for the people and His compassion for the innocent children of Nineveh. God’s reproof was direct and simple. He used the gourd to show how Jonah have lost his sense of values. He rejoiced over a simple plant that God sent to shade him, but refused to celebrate over the revival they have experienced. When the gourd died, Jonah wept over it, but felt no sorrow for the lost soul in Nineveh. He has forgotten how to be lost and how the Lord had saved him from the belly of the fish. He lost his joy as God ‘servant. As we read the book we find that everything obeyed God. Except Jonah—the wind, the worm, the gourd, the great fish, even the lost people in Nineveh. What a tragedy and shame for a God chosen servant who justifies his anger and self-pity. He could have been used mightily by the Lord to teach godliness to Nineveh and to let them know about the God of Israel. Unfortunately, the ending of the book of Jonah was very obscure. We do not know whether he repented, changed his attitude and serve the Lord with gladness. You have to make your own conclusion.
III. The Ruler of the Synagogue Rebuked by Jesus Himself (Lk. 13: 10-17)
1. This event happened on Sabbath day as Jesus is teaching on one of the synagogues.
2. A woman which have a spirit of infirmity eighteen years and could not lift up herself came. (Lk. 13:11).
3. Jesus called her, healed her, and she glorified God (Lk. 13:12-13).
4. The Ruler of the synagogue became angry because the healing was done during Sabbath. (Lk. 13:14).
5. Jesus rebuked him for his legalistic attitude and for his hypocrisy.
The ruler was unable to discern between good and evil. He did not see that God is in the synagogue. The ruler actually is not the pastor or the spiritual leader of the people. He was just in charge of the public services in the synagogue. He leads the people in prayer and choose who would read the scriptures, making sure that the services was done decently and in order. He was so busy with his responsibilities and failed to see that God is in his synagogue yet he did not even notice. He failed to see also that Satan is also in the synagogue. Jesus tells us in verse 16 that the woman had been bound by Satan, who used demonic force to cause her physical sickness. The thing is the ruler lacked compassion for he would lose his ox or his ass and let them drink on Sabbath than see this woman who is a child of Abraham, made in the image of God, be healed. Jesus called him and his friends’ hypocrite, a pretender; a false professor. The Greek word hypokrites referred to a play actor who wore a mask to represent an identity other than his own. They wore a mask of spirituality and godliness but it’s just an outward show. The result is “all his adversaries were ashamed and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.” (v. 17).
Let us not be harsh in making a vow. Better to not make any vow than have one but fail to do it. God can use anything to accomplish His will and His works. Let us serve Him with joy and gladness. Be obedient to His call and be compassionate to people who are suffering. Do not be a hypocrite. We can all avoid serious mistakes if we let Jesus Christ rule in our hearts. If you haven’t trust the Lord Jesus Christ, now is the time.