Tag Archives: Judges 3

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 58/260: Shamgar

Read Judges 3:31; 5:6

A Simple, Yet Effective Tool

We know less about Shamgar than any of the other judges who delivered Israel from oppressors. There are many theories about this man, his background, and his role in the book of Judges. Was he even an Israelite? Was he an ally or did he start out as an enemy? Why is there so little recorded?

Inspiration tells us that he was “the son of Anath,” he “killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad,” and “he also delivered Israel” (Judges 3:31). Later, in the song of Deborah, it is revealed that during his rule, “The highways were deserted, and the travelers walked along the byways” (Judges 5:6). That’s it. The name Shamgar appears nowhere else in the Biblical record.

What can we learn from Shamgar and this brief account of his life? First, God used him, and God can use us. No matter who we are or where we came from, God can use us. Search the Scriptures, learn His will, and look for opportunities to please the Father.

Second, Shamgar used what he had: an ox goad. This tool was a long pole, sometimes up to ten feet long, used to prod the livestock along, with a spike on one end and a knife on the other. Coffman writes, “The knife was used to clean the plowshares, and the spike was for the purpose of urging the oxen to greater efforts or for controlling their movements.” With this simple tool, Shamgar slaughtered six hundred Philistines.

We still have a simple tool to defeat the foes of God: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). We need to be trained to use it properly, and we need to practice wielding it often, but it is a simple yet effective tool to eradicate sin and error.

With the ox goad, Shamgar “delivered Israel.” With the Word of God, we can deliver those who are closest to us from the bondage of sin. “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:21-22). May we ever use the Spirit’s sword in our battles against Satan and his allies.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 57/260: Ehud

Read Judges 3:12-30

God Can Use Your Weaknesses

We can come up with excuses all day long. “I’m too this” or “I’m too that.” “I can’t do this.” “I don’t have the ability to do that.” Certainly, we should know our limitations so we don’t get ourselves in over our heads, but at the same time we must recognize the power of God to use even our weaknesses to His glory!

The writer of Judges points out a weakness of Ehud, the judge whom God raised up to deliver His people from Eglon king of Moab. Ehud was “a left-handed man” (Judges 3:15). Now, before I get a dozen hateful emails from able-bodied left-handed men, let me explain. The original Hebrew language means more than just “left-handed.” In some way, Ehud was hindered from using his right hand. Strong’s explains that the word means, “shut up, i.e. impeded (as to the use of the right hand).” Coffman explains that “Ehud’s right hand might have been crippled or inured. At any rate, it was ‘tied up’ or ‘bound.’”

Occasionally we hear the boast of a person who says, “I can beat you with one hand tied behind my back!” That’s exactly what Ehud did. Despite the inability to use his right hand at all, or perhaps because of it, he was able to defeat Israel’s enemy and deliver the people.

If Ehud had the use of both of his hands, would the king’s servants have left him alone with Eglon? Certainly, a man with “one hand tied behind his back” could do no harm to the king. Ehud used that misconception to his advantage, assassinating the king in private.

After some time, Eglon’s servants came to look for him and found the doors of the chamber locked. They assumed he was relieving himself, and Ehud used the extra time to escape. The servants waited and waited “till they were embarrassed” before finally making entry to check on the king, whom they found dead.

Ehud had accomplished his mission, and God had used the judge’s weakness to his advantage. Not only was the mission successful, Ehud gave the proper credit to God: “Follow me, for the Lord has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand” (Judges 3:28). Don’t doubt the power of God, and don’t forget to give Him the glory!

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 56/260: Othniel

Read Judges 1:12-15; 2:11-3:11

The Deliverer

We are first introduced to Othniel in Joshua 15, in a series of events that are repeated in Judges 1. He defeated Kirjath Sepher for his uncle Caleb, and was granted Caleb’s daughter in marriage as well as land and springs of water. Thus, Othniel had proven himself to be a man of valor and might, the type of man God might use to deliver the people from the bondage they found themselves in when they departed from faithfulness.

Throughout the book of Judges, we see a vicious cycle. The nation lives in peace, and in time forgets God. The late brother Guy N. Woods wrote, “When men abandon God theoretically, it is not long until they have forsaken eh practical way of God. Moral decay soon follows the decay of faith.” Thus, when the people lose their faith, they lose their way. “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals” (Judges 2:11). God allows an enemy to enslave the people until they cry out for deliverance, then God raises up a judge to deliver the people. After they are delivered, the cycle repeats itself.

The first such judge was Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother Kenaz. With God’s power, Othniel judged Israel, went to war and delivered the nation from Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia.

Do you ever find yourself in a cycle similar to the Israelites of old? Have you ever been in a place of peace and prosperity and forgotten your dependence upon God, slipping away into an ungodly lifestyle? We have a deliverer much like Othniel available to us in Jesus Christ. He will deliver us from the bondage of sin, but only if we call upon His name.

How does one call upon the name of the Lord? It is not simply saying a prayer! If that is how you were taught one could be saved, you were misled. Nowhere in the Bible can you find an example of a non-Christian one being saved through prayer. In fact, Saul of Tarsus was told to stop praying! He believed in Jesus and had been praying and fasting for three days, but Ananias told him, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

The definition of “calling on the name of the Lord,” according to the Bible, is the act of immersion in which God washes away your sins. Have you done what Saul of Tarsus did?