“Now Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. And the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim. . . “
During the time of the Judges, the nation of Israel was in peril; they had unprotected borders, faced attack from their neighbors, and had constant warfare from within, due to the nations they had failed to drive out of the land. At a time when the people should be joining together to deal with a common enemy, the tribes began to fight all the wrong battles. The enemies of Israel must have been so pleased when they heard that Ephraim and Jephthah had gone to battle against one another, instead of joining forces to deal with the real issues facing the nation.
Sadly, this is not an isolated event. The people of God are under constant temptation to spend their energies fighting all the wrong battles. Certainly there is a need for doctrinal purity within the church, and it is important to warn God’s people regarding false teaching. However, many Christians tend to spend all their time emphasizing what is wrong with every other church, movement, or pastor, while neglecting the real battle of bringing the gospel to the world. I have known Christians who never miss a Sunday, would pass a theology class with flying colors, could debate doctrine with seminary professors, but who have not brought an unbeliever to church with them in years.
We need to be careful that as we grow in our understanding of the Word of God, we use our weapons wisely.