In Judges 11:12-28 (see the full text below) the King of the Ammonites and Israel’s Judge, Jephthah have a negotiation in order to avoid war (v. 12) The Ammonite King’s beef was that the nation of Israel occupied land that was, in his view, rightfully the Ammonites (v. 13). Jephthah proceeds to give a history lesson to the king with the end being “God gave it to us, we ain’t giving it back!”(vs. 23-25).
In the spiritual battles of lives our God gives us territory along the way as He wins the battle for us. Those territories have names like “a clean conscience”, “a whole heart”, “a free from addiction body”, or “a clear mind”. The enemy is in a constant struggle to get these arenas back from us. You can almost hear he and his minions whisper “quit fighting” or “give in just a little and I’ll leave you alone”. Learn a lesson from Jephthah, you and the Lord won that territory fair and square. Never, I mean never, give back to the enemy the land that the Lord has given to you in the spiritual battles of life in order to avoid further confrontation or to gain a temporary peace.
Your mind may have been the the flesh’s playground. God saved and changed you. Don’t give that land back! Your family may have been in this world’s pocket, living for and looking like the mess that the world is. God turned things around. It was tough. Don’t you dare give that land back. Your work life may have been where you most “gave place to the devil”. Jesus changed all that. Please, keep that land. Never, I mean never, give back to the enemy the land that the Lord has given to you in the spiritual battles of life in order to avoid further confrontation or to gain a temporary peace.
How do you keep the territory? Do what Jephthah did. Go to war. Put on the whole armor of God, be strong in the Lord and the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10-20) and go at it but never give back to the enemy the land that the Lord has given to you in the spiritual battles of life in order to avoid further confrontation or to gain a temporary peace.
Judges 11:12–28 (ESV)
12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and said, “What do you have against me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?” 13 And the king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel on coming up from Egypt took away my land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably.” 14 Jephthah again 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, ‘Please let us pass through your land,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. And they sent also to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh.
18 “Then they journeyed through the wilderness and went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab and arrived on the east side of the land of Moab and camped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. 19 Israel then sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to our country,’ 20 but Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory, so Sihon gathered all his people together and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel. 21 And the Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. 22 And they took possession of all the territory of the Amorites from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan. 23 So then the Lord, the God of Israel, dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel; and are you to take possession of them? 24 Will you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? And all that the Lord our God has dispossessed before us, we will possess. 25 Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever contend against Israel, or did he ever go to war with them? 26 While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, 300 years, why did you not deliver them within that time? 27 I therefore have not sinned against you, and you do me wrong by making war on me. The Lord, the Judge, decide this day between the people of Israel and the people of Ammon.” 28 But the king of the Ammonites did not listen to the words of Jephthah that he sent to him.