"The men of Ephraim called out their forces, crossed over to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, "Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We're going to burn down your house over your head." Judges 12:1
Whatever you feed grows.
It's like the analogy of a dog fight. One owner feeds their dog really well, while another owner treats their dog poorly and gives it barely enough food to survive. If the dogs were to get in a fight, which one would win? The one that was fed. The same goes with us. If we feed our Spirit, we grow into maturity in Christ. If we feed our flesh, well, not such a pretty picture. Much like a starving dog I suppose.
This is crazy that the men of Ephraim want to burn Jephthah's house down! (Poor Jephthah, hasn't he had enough of a bad hand dealt to him to now be betrayed once again by people who are suppose to side with him. Reminds me of another who was betrayed by a friend, a King who was tempted in every way like us, yet without sin.) How in the world do people get to the point of being so nasty and awful?
Well, here's a really embarrassing analogy. We had a little family day at the children's museum over the weekend. It is really an amazing place. Jungle room, fire truck, a pretend vet, a little grocery store, a bubble room, train room... It's basically a kids dream. Well, Friday it was super packed and Uriah, who is 3 and not great at staying in control of himself hit a girl because she didn't share with him. Totally uncalled for. He knows he is never ever suppose to hit girls. I totally would have dealt with it properly except... the way I found out it happened was because the girls mom started yelling at Uriah. Hello mama bear. I picked up Uriah (since he started balling his head off being yelled at by a stranger) and walked over to Austin. Ok, get ready for it, the feeding the flesh part. I was in control at that moment until I said, "that is crazy, you just can't do that." (Talking about the yelling lady) There was just something about saying it that caused my emotions to grow into a stronger belief. So then I said it again, feeding my flesh even more, "You just can't yell at someone else's kid." (This time with more sass and loud enough so she could overhear.) She over heard me and said, "You got a problem?" (Matching my sass) Well, the flesh was fully fed and right there in the children's museum and there was a yelling match in front of all the 3 and 4 year olds. Me! A missionary, was yelling at this lady! Ok, seriously how embarrassing!!! Austin stepped in with his wise self and recovered the situation. He talked with the lady and helped Uriah apologize. Oh my, after the fact I honestly can't remember being that embarrassed in a really long time.
So what's the point? Besides giving you an opportunity to feel good about yourself because you've never got in a screaming match at a kids play area, this is what I believe happened with the Ephraim guys. They had a little thought, "I can't believe he left us out" and instead of taking that thought captive they fed it, "Yeah, what a jerk..." and it grew. And grew. And grew. Till it like all other sin gives birth to death.
So really, we don't have to look far to find nasty and awful. It's right in front of us, waiting to master us. "sin is lying outside your door ready to attack. It wants to control you, but you must master it." Gen. 4:7
My weekend was a good reminder to be on guard against not only the enemy, but my flesh desiring to have it's way. Let's cling to Jesus and before it's too late call out to Him for help, taking every yucky thought captive.
Laura, the creator and host of Missional Women is married and has four kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 11 years serving with Master Plan Ministries. Laura is the Staff Women's Development Coordinator and has discipled over 150 girls, led over 30 Bible studies and speaks 10-20 times a year. Laura is an award winning author of a 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, recently released Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook,twitter, pinterest and youtube.