Judges 12

Today's Passage: Judges 12 

The dark days for Israel continue to march on. Once again, Israel finds themselves in the middle of another civil war, this time with Jephthah at the helm as a judge over Gilead. The character of the judges (for the most part) is abysmal, and the results of such leadership should serve as helpful reminders for us when in the middle of conflict.

A call to arms isn’t always the answer.

The Ephraimites were called to war on the heels of being disgruntled that Jephthah didn’t ask them to fight alongside him against the Ammonites. This rash behavior on their part seems to be a strategy for this tribe and its results are pretty evident at the end of this chapter. Poor leadership within set them up in the end for massive fatalities as 42,000 soldiers from Ephraim died.

Perhaps this story is to remind us that firepower isn’t always the answer to conflict resolution. Is there another way to find peace or bring restoration besides fighting?

The level of inner conflict for Israel only highlights even further the lack of good leadership and the consequences of people choosing their own way. Haven’t we yet learned that this never goes well?

When there is no leadership at the helm, we are destined for conflict. If Jesus isn’t sitting on that kingly throne of the heart, we will forever be prone to war with whatever our heart desires. If Christ isn’t king, our own hearts will reign. With that setup, we too shouldn’t be surprised when civil war breaks out. What kind of civil war might we face?

•  Fighting with our own spirit and flesh (Romans 7)
•  Fighting within our families (see David and Absalom for example)
•  Fighting within the faith family (Paul’s letters consistently address church quarreling)

There is a time for war, sure! When it comes to fighting sin, we must fight; taking up arms is part of sanctification. However, we are also commanded to flee at times too. Knowing when to fight and when to flee is a key part of leadership.

When we don’t get our way or are offended by someone, don’t be quick to war. There will always be another opportunity for conflict around every corner, so why not take the road of humility and peace? Take it from Ephraim, who would have been better served taking up arms with Israel, not against them.

Written By: Drew Dukes

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