MLToday: [Judges Chapter Twelve]: Put Ephraim to the Sword! In this chapter we find again that Ephraim comes out and demands glory and recognition for a battle they didn’t fight. Ephraim in the book of Judges stands as a type and figure of false friendship. When you are insecure and in need your discernment becomes weak and you allow people near you that are not true in their friendship. People who say they stand with you but only show up after the battle is won. Those who claim to be in covenant but never come through for you in a time of you. Toward these your only recourse is the SWORD of the WORD of God to break the power of the familiar spirits that operate in these relationships.

Today: [Judges Chapter Twelve]: Put Ephraim to the Sword! In this chapter we find again that Ephraim comes out and demands glory and recognition for a battle they didn’t fight. Ephraim in the book of Judges stands as a type and figure of false friendship. When you are insecure and in need your discernment becomes weak and you allow people near you that are not true in their friendship. People who say they stand with you but only show up after the battle is won. Those who claim to be in covenant but never come through for you in a time of you. Toward these your only recourse is the SWORD of the WORD of God to break the power of the familiar spirits that operate in these relationships.

[Jdg 12:1-15 KJV] 1 And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire. 2 And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands. 3 And when I saw that ye delivered [me] not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me? 4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites [are] fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, [and] among the Manassites.

You will remember from the previous chapter that Jephthah was an illegitimate child, rejected by his family and then later called to deliver them from the Ammonites. In so doing he becomes a judge in Isreal and as is their custom the Ephraimites come out AFTER the battle and challenge Jepthah for not including them in the battle (now safely won). In your life if you have successes you will have people with an Ephraimite attitude who will want to share the glory but refuse to fight the battles. These are the people who come out of the woodwork after the victory is won and proclaim “we were with you all the time!” Ephraim did this time and time again beginning with Moses on the other side of Jordan. The interesting thing is that they are the largest, most formidable tribe in Isreal. They could easily at any moment risen up and defeat any enemy that came against God’s people. Yet they stayed behind, held back, and were consistently reticent to throw their support into any contest that wasn’t already decided.

You can look around your life and think “if that person, or family or ministry would get behind me I know we could easily overcome the obstacle in front of us…” Let me save you some trouble – if they were anything but an Ephraimite they would have ALREADY been at your side. They will NEVER support you in the battle. The only time they will approach you is when there is nothing to lose so they can burnish their tarnished reputation with the glory of the successes God has given you.

One lesson for you to learn when you are treated this way is to say to yourself “when I am in this situation I won’t do it that way…” In human affairs (and Christianity is not exempt) everyone is willing to stand with you in your successes but not in your failures. They will fellowship your assets but not your liabilities. This is not the Christ-like attitude. Remember the words of Paul:

[Rom 5:6, 8 KJV] 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. … 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Learn to stand with those who stand alone because one day you will be in their position. Faith works by love. If you are walking in love you will stand in faith and fidelity with those who are struggling. You will stand in the way of the problems coming their way and take the heat for them. You will refuse to say “not my problem…” Kitty and I have had many people come to us in our successes with the attitude “… if God isn’t mad at you I can’t be mad at you ….” So the attitude was they waited to see us fail and when we didn’t then and only then were they willing to connect with us (and for what purpose?). The support of people who stand by you only because you are blessed is of no more value than the resistance of people who reject you when you are struggling. Learn to judge righteous judgment and save yourself the hurt feelings and wasted time that will always result from these contaminated, ungodly relationships.

5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was [so], that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, [Art] thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; 6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce [it] right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand. 7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years.

In every situation where the Ephraimites strutted out demanding glory they had not fought for – the leader (Moses, Joshua and Gideon) never dealt with them. They were powerful and influential. Their numbers eclipsed the combined numbers of many of the 12 tribes put together. Finally Jephthah says “enough is enough”. Why did Jephthah finally act? Because the Ephraimites maintained and declared “the only reason they are successful is because they were taking advantage of us in the first place…” We’ve had people do this. They never stood with us. They held back while it was in their power to support and aid us in our struggle. Then after we succeeded they showed up expecting us to thank them and honor them and attribute God’s glory to them merely because they didn’t actively resist us. You have to identify these attitudes in people and not grieve over them or waste time trying to curry their favor. This is who they are and what they do. The reason they treat you the way they do is a reflection of their opinion of you and their irritation that God blessed you and not them. You have to decide ahead of time two things: you are not going to be an Ephraimite when others are in their battle; and you are not going to be distracted by the people, groups and ministries around you who tempt you with the promise of support that will never come.

The Ephraimites were tested in the battle as to their identify by how they pronounced the word “Shibboleth”. This word comes from a root word meaning to “flow”. The Ephraimite is a person who only values what is flowing their way. TEST THE FLOW. This attitude permeates everything they do. Their whole moral value system is entrenched in self interest. If you suggest they should look to the benefit of others they will stand aghast and accuse you of asking them to do something immoral. Their entire value system and character is rooted in “what’s in it for me” and wrapped up in a religious garment of hypocrisy and false humility. Identify them and put them to the sword… not the sword of destruction but the sword of discernment by God’s word. The word is the LOGOS (Bible) and Rhema (Prophetic word). How do you do this? When you meet them in the way – share with them the prophetic word of all the good things God has said over you and watch their reaction. It will be thinly veiled contempt because the only prophetic word or scriptural promise they can get behind is the one that blesses them and advances them ahead of you and anyone else. Share with them the Logos (a scripture from the bible that has blessed you). They will nod disinterestedly and change the subject – after it isn’t ABOUT YOU it’s about THEM that is their top priority.

Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in [one of] the cities of Gilead. 8 And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9 And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, [whom] he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Bethlehem. 11 And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years. 12 And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun. 13 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel. 14 And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years. 15 And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites.

The last judge mentioned in this passage is Abdon who reigned in Israel for eight years. Eight is a number of new beginnings. God wanted to give Abdon a new beginning but look what happened: He fraternized with the Ephraimites and surrounded himself with false friends who never really supported him. Eventually Abdon was buried in Ephraim. His name means “Servile Praise”. He lived his live trying to please the Ephraimites and his destiny became an abortion. When the new beginning came it was too late for he had surrounded himself with people who only got into the flow that benefited them and no one else. Do not allow yourself to become an Abdon. Break the contaminating soul ties of false friendship and step out boldly like Jephthah did and put Ephraim to the sword. You will be catapulted into your promise when you do.

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