A J-BAR PRAYER
Father, we come before you now on bended knee, hoping to honor you with our integrity. Please make our judgement as sound as steel and be our hands upon the wheel. Give us strength and vigilance on our routes and help us to serve others, as You did, Lord, without any doubts. Remind us to be gentle, humble and kind, and help us when we stumble in body and mind. Please shelter our families whilst we are away and bring us safely back to them at the end of this day.
Judges 12:4-6 – “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.’
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; 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.”
Jephthah was one of the Judges of Israel, men whom God used during this certain period of time to protect his people, free them from bondage, guide them in the way, etc.
So Jephthah gathers all the men of Gilead to fight against the Ephraimites.
They are winning in the battle but some of the Ephraimites are escaping so they come up with a plan. They set up border crossings at the passages of Jordan and whenever someone said they were not from the enemy, they were given a test.
One word: Shibboleth. Because the Ephraimites were not familiar with the word or perhaps their accent, whatever the case they could not pronounce it properly. Because of this, many men lost their lives all because they couldn’t say the word that needed to be said.
We speak many words; in fact, studies say the average person speaks at least 7,000 words a day. But like the Ephraimites, it is the words we struggle to say that can matter the most:
“I was wrong.”
“I need help/I’m not okay.”
“I don’t know.”
Sometimes, it is the positive words that we struggle to share with others who need to hear them, such as:
“I appreciate you.”
“I’m proud of you.”
Hebrews 13:16 states “But to do good and to communicate, forget not.”
The words we say, or don’t say, may make the difference in someone else’s life, and definitely in our own.