Grace transforms, uplifts in a hostile environment

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Story for today from Book of Judges

By Shirley Jones

Jephthah, the son of a streetwalker, was born out of wedlock. Raised in a hostile, abusive environment, he eventually was thrown out of the house and became a rebel gang leader. But things changed when the Israelites needed a guy with guts to defeat the Ammonites. They told Jephthah, “Come. Be our chief … and you may become head over … Gilead” Judges 11:6-8. So, true to form, he led them to victory and became their leader. You can read his story in Judges, Chapter 11-12.

Talk about a turn around. Jephthah belonged on a throne like Al Capone belonged on the police commission. He had no right to be there except for one thing. God’s grace. God loves to take the thing that’s dragging you down and use it for his glory. He turns losers into winners. He lifts “the poor … out of the garbage dump and gives them place of honor” 1 Samuel 2:8.

The truth is, in God’s eyes we were all misfits until he reached down and saved us. Paul says, “Don’t fool yourselves. No one who is immoral … will share in God’s kingdom. Neither … any thief … greedy person … drunkard nor anyone who curses and cheats. Some of us used to be like that. But …Jesus … washed us and made us acceptable to God.”

Are you beginning to grasp it? The only difference between us and Jephthah is that God chose to reveal his past so we could benefit from it. Today he chooses to hide ours under the blood so nobody ever need know the kind of person we really were before his grace transformed us.