• William T. Howe Ph.D.

March 22, 2021

Daily Reading: Judges 10-12

Judges 12:1

And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.

Big talk, little do. That's what we called it when I was a boy. These are people that always talk big but could not back up their talk with action. The tribe of Ephraim is the epitome of this silly phrase. They were filled with big talk, but little do. So much so that it finally cost them mightily, 42,000 of them died in one day.

Consider the story of the Ephraimites in the book of Judges.

Their trouble started in Judges 1:29. Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. If they were such great warriors that they deserved the honor they craved they should have driven out the Canaanites. After all, God commanded them to do so, He would have empowered them to do so, but they didn't.

Having failed militarily themselves, they murmured against Gideon. Judges 8:1 And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply. Gideon handled this accusation with tact and diplomacy. Ephraim had a small part in the conflict with the Midianites, yet they seemed to want the glory for themselves. By the way, Gideon did call them to assist in the war, but they were indifferent at best.

Then, the men of Ephraim came up against Jephthah. Jephthah was not Gideon. Gideon was more of a diplomat whereas Jephthah was pure warrior. The fact is, they wanted the glory. But Jephthah, to his credit (while he was a flawed individual at best) he gave God the glory for the victory. He responded to the men of Ephraim directly and resolutely that he did call them, and they did not deliver him. Then he said, And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me? (Judges 12:3)

The men of Ephraim were "big talk, little do." Jephthah was all about doing and when the time came, He gave the glory to the Lord. Consider this, about 40 years later the Psalmist wrote this about them: The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. (Psalm 78:9) In life there are many "Ephraimites" they talk but they do little. Gideon dealt with them his way, Jephthah dealt with them his way, and you will have to deal with them your way. For there will always be Ephraimites running around with "big talk, but little do."

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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