MAIN TEXT: JUDGES 11:1-12:1-7
INTRODUCTION: My dear friend I would like you to know that the God of Heaven has a plan for your life which supersedes EVERYTHING in your past that might have been PAINFUL, DISAPPOINTING, SORROWFUL, HURTFUL, TEARFUL and less than what you had expected. God is able to use you in spite of your rough beginning and anything that might have touched your life in the past my dear friend.
You need to know that it is NOT so much how you start that matters but HOW YOU FINISH/END.
The Bible declares in Ecclesiastes 7:8 that “The end of the matter is BETTER than its BEGINNING.
Judges chapter 11 gives us a record of a gentleman by the name of JEPHTHAH who had a VERY ROUGH BIGINNING and yet he was used very powerfully by God.
Let me bring out THREE things about Jephthah that speak to all of us today;
- JEPHTHAH WAS ILLEGITIMATE . IN JUDGES 11 VERSE 1 We are immediately told by God’s Word that
“Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah.(NKJV)
Jephthah was a son of a COMMON HEATHEN PROSTITUTE.
Jephthah was born as A CHILD OF SHAME
Jephthah was born as THE FRUIT OF IDOLATRY
Jephthah was born as an ILLEGITIMATE SON
This means that Jephthah had a STIGMA FROM BIRTH and JEPHTHAH WAS BRANDED AS AN OUTCAST.
Why should such a verse be found in THE BIBLE? And how does it relate to you and me TODAY?
This verse (verse 1 of Judges 11) is in the Bible to help us UNDERSTAND THAT
- Not everyone enters this life with the same ADVANTAGES.
- Some people are born with PRESTIGE while others are born with SHAME.
- JEPHTHAH (in God’s providence) happens to have been BORN the son of a HARLOT (prostitute)
- But NOTICE that the Bible DOES NOT put a blame on Jephthah for the way he was born. WHY?
BECAUSE (i). To whom you were born DOES NOT DEPEND ON YOU
(ii). Where you were born DOES NOT DEPEND ON YOU.
(iii). Why you were born DOES NOT DEPEND ON YOU.
(iv). When you were born DOES NOT DEPEND ON YOU.
My dear friend, the devil is a liar. He wants to blame you with GUILT and RESPONSIBILITY for things that DO NOT belong to you.
The devil will tell you that you WILL NEVER RISE HIGHER than the HERITAGE which was delivered to you. BUT I say to you that YOU ARE DESTINED FOR GREATNESS. God does not evaluate you based on where you are coming from BUT based on where He is taking you. People might make conclusions about you based on where you are coming from. BUT I say to you that there is NO FUTURE IN YOUR PAST AND THEREFORE YOUR GREAT DAYS ARE NOT BEHIND YOU BUT RIGHT AHEAD OF YOU.
The devil will tell you that the spiritual level of your life was pre-determined by the family you were born into (he will say to you “IWE NI FINO FINE CHALIPWA”). BUT I say to you that MY GOD IS ABOUT TO DABWISHA your family and everyone else because of what He will do in you, for you and through you in spite of your rough beginning and all the negative things that have happened in your past (the tears, the disappointments, the heartbreaks, the letdowns etc).
The devil will tell you that NO ONE GETS MARRIED IN THIS FAMILY – everyone goes through the WINDOW or just gets IMPREGNANTED. But I want you to KNOW and NEVER FORGET that you can become the CHANGE you want to see in your family and the God of Heaven is about to change the story of your family.
The devil will tell you that NO ONE LIVES ABOVE 40 IN THIS FAMILY. BUT I say to you, “You shall live and not die and you shall declare the works of God”. AMEN! And my God will satisfy you with LONG LIFE according to the promise in His Word.
The devil will even tell you (if you are married) that MARRIAGES DO NOT LAST IN THIS FAMILY. BUT I say to you that your CASE IS DIFFERENT. I declare that you are isolated from the negative implications of the legacy/ heritage of your family. If you are married I declare that your marriage WILL BE DIFFERENT IN JESUS’ NAME. If other family marriages have been characterized by separations, confusion, fighting and ending in divorce, your marriage will be characterized by PEACE, AND IT WILL BE SUSTAINED BY THE HAND OF GOD – DIVORCE IS NOT YOUR PORTION.
I also decree by the Spirit of God that No one will HOLD YOU DOWN when God wants to LIFT YOU UP. AND no one will KEEP YOU BEHIND when God has decided to take you FORWARD
AND no one will STOP YOU when God has decided that you will MAKE PROGRESS.
LISTEN MY FRIEND:
What God did in, for and through JEPHTHAH in spite of his rough beginning, God is equally able to do in you, for you and through you.
THE TRUTH IS THIS:
No one can DETERMINE or INHIBIT your spiritual progress but you yourself.
No one can HINDER the spiritual character of your life BUT you. Do not let anyone or anything Stop YOU. From God’s point of view, YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE.
This leads me to the second thing I would like to share with you from the life of Jephthah:
- JEPHTHAH WAS REJECTED. In JUDGES 11:2 the Bible declares that
“Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.”(NKJV)
- Because Jephthah’s father had other sons by his lawful wife, these other KICKED Jephthah out of the house when they grew up.
- Jephthah (for no fault of his own) was REJECTED, EXILED AND EXCOMMUNICATED.
- Jephthah was DISMISSED by his own flesh and blood
- Jephthah was barred from the congregation of Israel.
- Jephthah was told, “You will never inherit your father’s estate”.
Listen my dear friend: The devil will be lying to you he says that “You will NEVER RISE above the sting of your past”. The devil will lie to you by saying that “your past adversity will cripple you for life”.
THE TRUTH IS THIS:
- God will use your PAST AFFLICTION to ADVANCE His work inside you, and
- God will REVERSE the devil’s intentions to destroy you.
- And God will INCREASE YOU more and more into the likeness of Jesus.
In the end of the story, we discover that the very people that rejected Jephthah followed him at Tob and begged him to come and deliver them from the enemies. God anointed Jephthah and used him very powerfully as the TENTH Judge of Israel.
My dear friend, you are NEXT IN LINE to be used by God in spite of your rough beginning. In God you can finish STRONG even if your BEGINNING was rough. I declare that YOU WILL BE USED BY GOD IN SPITE OF YOUR ROUGH BEGINNING! God bless you abundantly. AMEN!
Bishop Stanley Simunyola was born and raised in Zambia, and completed both his primary and secondary education in the city of Kitwe on the Copperbelt Province. He received Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior in 1986 while studying and preparing to be an Accountant. However, his plans to become an accountant were dropped when he experienced a ‘divine interruption’ where he sensed a vivid call to serve the Lord in full-time pastoral ministry. He was obedient to this call and pursued pastoral training from Makerere University (Kampala-Uganda) through the United Church of Zambia University (then UCZ Theological College) in Kitwe.
His first pastoral appointment was with the United Church of Zambia where he served for two years in the North-Western Province of Zambia. He led five congregations in two of Zambia’s rural districts namely Zambezi and Kabompo. In April, 1984 he joined Grace Ministries Mission International (GMMI). He successfully pastored five churches under GMMI including Chililabombwe, Chingola, Ndola, Exploits Centre (Lusaka) and Dominion Centre (Lusaka).
Stanley and his wife Susan were also involved for a number of years in the training of Pastors and their spouses at the Grace Theological College where he served as Faculty, Lecturer, Dean of students, and later as Principle. Additionally, Stanley served as Mission’s Director (Coordinator) for Grace Ministries Mission International GMMI.
In 2006, Bishop Stanley Simunyola went for further studies in the USA where he obtained a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Upon his return from the US, he was appointed third (3rd) Presiding Bishop of GMMI, a responsibility he held until April 2016 when he finished his six-year tenure.
He currently serves as Senior Pastor of the Achievers’ Cathedral, a branch and mother church of Grace Ministries Mission International located along Kafue Road (behind Roto Tank Irrigation Centre by John Laing) in Lusaka, Zambia. Stanley is the author of the book, ENJOYING GOD’S FAITHFULNESS which is about to be launched.
He is a Counsellor, a Mentor, Author and a coveted Conference and Crusade speaker. He likes moving with the picture of his wife and in a number of places he is referred to as “the jumping preacher”. By God’s grace, Bishop Stanley Simunyola, with his passionate Evangelistic thrust, has preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to a few nations on the African continent as well as both in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Stanley and Susan are blessed with three lovely children namely Caleb (23), Shalom (20) and Prayer (17).