Finding the Monster Hunter Inside You (Judges 11)

Monster Hunter World pulls no punches in name or execution… it has monsters. Lots of them. A whole world of them, in fact. You are a monster hunter. You hunt them. I like truth in advertising… it’s refreshing in an era where we have games with bizarre titles such as Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days or Birthdays: The Beginning. I like knowing what I’m getting in a game, and Monster Hunter World does not disappoint. And like most quest games of this nature, you will embark on a never-ending quest to slay as many monsters as you can shake a pointy stick at through an extended period of grinding through lower level encounters, gaining new armor and weapons, and slowly preparing yourself for the more epic battles that will require a little help from some friends.

I quite prefer external monsters. No matter how scary or intimidating they appear to be, they are tangible, visible, and able to be targeted. It’s almost reassuring to look your enemy in the eye, no matter how over-matched you may be, because you at least have the luxury of sizing them up and determining an effective strategy to take them down. If I have learned one thing in all my years of gaming, every monster has a weak point to attack or a pattern of movement that can be learned and exploited. And with enough tenacity, even the largest colossus eventually falls.

The monsters within are the ones that keep me up at night. The ones that get into your mind and tell you what you can’t do, that pry into your soul and remind you of what you have been, and dig their claws into your heart and rip out what you have tried so hard to protect. Such monsters were the kind that surrounded Jephthah, a little known leader from Judges 11 who carried his own monsters into battle in a way I can definitely relate to.

His introduction is rough right from the start:

Judges 11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot

Ouch. That intro leaves a little to be desired. I mean seriously, could you imagine entering a business meeting and this is how you are introduced? Talk about a back-handed compliment. And his story does not get much better. It was a tremendous social disgrace to be a child born out-of-wedlock in those times, much less a by-product of prostitution. Jephthah was never intended to be conceived by his father or mother… he was not only an accident, but a liability to both of them. And he paid the price for his innocent but unplanned arrival by getting kicked out of his parents home and ex-communicates by his siblings that were born of “proper” means.

But Jephthah was not going to be defined by his ignominious birth… read the other part of that verse. He was also a mighty man of valor. He was a warrior… a monster hunter of his day. And he was not going to be defined by his tragedy or his circumstances. And when the chips were down and Israel needed a conqueror, they came to the man they had discarded as unwanted and useless and begged him to do what he did best. He led them victoriously in not only that battle, but for six years he continued to be their leader until his death.

I believe we all struggle with our own private monsters, and they are far more dangerous than any external foe because they seek to discredit us from our destiny from the inside out. Within each of us lies the monster hunter that your circle of influence needs, but we also carry inside us the monsters who tell us why we can’t. For Jephthah he had to overcome a shady past and the knowledge that he was never truly wanted by his family or even his people. But he pushed beyond that pain to achieve his purpose. When the people needed help that only he could provide, his birth status no longer mattered. His previous shame lost all relevance. He was the one who could save them… it was what he had carried inside all along but they were too blind to see it.

You are someone’s monster hunter too… you have the unique gifts that someone else is going to need and have been carrying them all along. And the Lord who placed these gifts within you has also placed you on a direct path of intersection with those who need your help. Your internal monsters may tell you that you are unworthy. You are in good company. Just ask the Apostle Paul…

1 Cor 15:9-10 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.

It is part of the journey to be aware that none of us will ever be worthy of the calling placed on us.  But we cannot allow those internal monsters to distract us from taking down the eternal monsters we have been challenged with subduing.  It is actually the point of this life… God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plan to the benefit of all of us.  From Abraham to Moses to Peter and Paul, we are all on a path to save others while still needing Christ daily to save ourselves.  Engage those monsters in the field hunters… by doing so you may find that the act of releasing one person from their bondage may enable them to release you from your own.

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