Monday, March 6, 2017

Using What You Have to Defeat An Enemy - Ehud & Shamgar the 2nd and 3rd Judges

There's a cycle in the book of Judges of the children of Israel: rest, disobedience, deliverance, rest.

After Othniel died, the Israelites disobeyed God, again. Scripture says "they did evil again." This time they needed deliverance from Moab and it's King - King Eglon.

Evil and oppression are constant themes relating to Israel's experience. Evil is anything that is not good; something that is profoundly immoral and malevolent. Oppression is prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. Oppression is usually tied to some evil behavior or characteristics - the oppressed won't say otherwise.

The Israelites were evil in their actions toward God because of their disobedience. Their enemies were evil in their actions toward them and because of their evil ways, oppressed the Israelites. Evil abounded and evil begot more evil. There were degrees of evilness but the greatest infraction was toward God.

So King Eglon of Moab was evil and oppressive toward the Israelites; in addition, it is highlighted that he was very fat - morbidly obese. He oppressed the Israelites for 18 years and after this time, the Israelites cried out to God for a deliverer and he sends Ehud - who was left handed.

Ehud was left-handed and King Eglon was very fat - these two seemingly random characteristics would play a part in the defeat of Moab.

Ehud made a two-edged sword which ranged in length from 17.5" to 20", hid it under his garment strapped it to his right thigh, and was able to secure a private meeting with the King by offering a gift. In that private meeting, he pulls out his sword with his left hand (which must have caught the King off guard due to his angle) and stabbed him in his belly. His belly was so big and the sword so long that it was, in essence, lodged there - it couldn't be moved. Ehud leaves and closes the door of the King's parlor so that when his men are looking for him they think he's having private time and don't disturb him. By the time they discover that something is amiss - it's too late. King Eglon died and Ehud escaped. Since the Moabite King is dead, they are able to defeat their enemy - the Moabites.

After that, the Israelites had rest for 80 years. (Judges 3:12-30)

Then there was Shamgar - who only gets one verse- who used an ox goad to slay 600 Philistines. (Judges 3:31)  The Philistines were fighters who were very strong. (Recall that Goliath was a Philistine.) An ox goad is a wooden tool, approximately eight feet long, fitted with an iron spike or point at one end, which was used to spur oxen as they pulled a plow or cart. It often had an iron scraper at the non-pointed end to clear clods of earth from the plowshare when it became weighed down. (gotquestions.org)

Then there was peace again, for an unspecified period of time.

Like Ehud and Shamgar, we must use what we have to defeat the enemies of God. The enemies of God are anything that is contrary to God's word. In the Old testament - it was false gods, idol worship and people who supported these ideas. Today it is this and more. Ehud used a two-edged sword that he made and Shamgar used an ox goad -a tool used to prod oxen back in line. Ehud also used his left-handedness, recognizing that it was considered out of the ordinary. These two judges show the sovereignty of God - He uses whatever He wants - a sword, fatness, lefthandedness in addition to whatever else we bring to the table to accomplish His purposes.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:3-5

I am encouraged by the awesomeness of God as played out in the lives of these two judges. How will you be obedient to God?

--Nylse

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1 comment:

  1. I think, today, I will be obedient to God by continuing to write even though I'm discouraged!
    Happy Tuesday!
    Megs

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