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Once upon a time when there was war in Israel, the elders of the land went searching for Jephthah the illegitimate who had been driven out of town by the gang of his ‘legitimate’ half-brothers; they did not want his illegitimate status and rising popular profile to threaten their inheritance. What did the elders want from Jephthah the outcast? They needed the leader in him, to lead them to war against their enemies.

They did not go shopping for weapons, they did not go shopping for an army. They needed a commander for their army; a leader to harness their present potentials for achieving victory. What is a mighty army without a commander? What is strength without leadership? Victory was going to depend not merely on the men and materials they had amassed, but actually on finding the right leader.

Jephthah responded, and led his people to the victory they had desired, but not with extra spears and arrows that he had come with. He used what they already had, which had been awaiting appropriate leadership. It is the mystery of the good coach, who brings out of the team what they already possess. Thus, the same players can win or lose a game depending on their handler. In other words, weapons are not sufficient to win our wars, and strength is not only in the weapons possessed; it is also in the leadership acquired.

5 And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob: 6 And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that WE may fight with the children of Ammon (Judges 11:5-6).

They did not ask arms from Jephthah, they simply requested his leadership. They said, “You lead us, so that we fight. We are able to fight, but not without the right leader. We are doomed to lose a battle we otherwise could have won, without right leadership. For us to be able to do the fighting, Come, and be our captain, even if you do no fighting yourself.”

Leadership is no less strength than arms and numbers. There are fights that we cannot fight if we lack leadership. That is where elders are important, who can see beyond size and the zeal of restless youths.

They told him, "Come and LEAD US, SO THAT WE CAN FIGHT the Ammonites” (Judges 11:6, Good News Translation).

That is the cry in the realms of the spirit for the Church in Nigeria; the cry for a leader. Will it matter if he does not meet some of our conceited denominational values? Will we receive him if he threatened our ‘inheritance’ with the ‘illegitimacy’ of his mother’s status, of which he had had no control? A household that casts out their would-have-been deliverer will remain everlasting slaves, because he will have been missing when the enslavers come from whom he should have delivered them, and woe to that household in that day if they have no elders to repair what blind youth had spoiled (Judges 11:1-11). A people who must betray and banish their Joseph because of envy against his dreams will be eliminated by the future famines from which he had been destined to save them, or they will otherwise die slaving in Egypt seeking alternative help. Again, that is where fathers are important, like Jacob who “observed the saying” while Joseph’s brethren burned with murderous envy (Genesis 37:11).


From The Preacher's diary.