Scripture: Judges 11:12 Then Jephthah (leader of Israel) sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and said, “What is there between you and me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?” 13 The king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel, on coming from Egypt, took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably.” 14 Once again Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites 15 and said to him: “Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites, 16 but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. 17 Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Let us pass through your land’; but the king of Edom would not listen. They also sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent.
Observation: The Ammonites were a nation of people threatening war with Israel. Why? The Ammonites felt they had been robbed of ancestral lands some 300 years earlier and wanted their land back. Jephthah didn’t dispute the fact of Israel’s occupation of formerly Ammonite lands, but took issue with HOW the occupation went down. Read the rest of chapter 11 to see what I mean. As is so often the case in life, the two sides had very different interpretations of events.
Application: It’s interesting to me how often problems arise because people interpret things differently. I see it one way, you see it another. The story today reminds me how important it is to try to understand another person’s point of view. We can avoid many problems if we are willing to listen.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to listen to other people. Really listen. Amen.