Read Judges 3:11-30
B. Moabite Oppression and Ehud’s Deliverance. The Israelites did evil in the sight of God in Judges. God sent oppression. When the Israelites cried to the Lord, God sent Ehud to be their Judge. Ehud killed the oppressive King and led the Israelites into victory and peace for 80 years.
- God’s view of evil. Notice in vs. 2 that the people did what was evil in God’s eyes. First, if it is evil in God’s eyes, it is evil. Even if you don’t think it is evil, if God sees it as evil then it is evil. II Timothy 3:16 reminds us that God’s word is authoritative truth.
Second, there are too many people who give more credit to their list of do’s and don’ts than God’s list. However, God punishes based on His list, not ours.
Think about how God sees a failure to tithe compared to how over half of those in our churches see it. Let’s work on seeing things the way God sees them and live accordingly. Prayerful study of God’s word is a great way to see things the way God sees them.
- God’s punishment. Notice in vss. 12-13 that God is able to raise up enemies against His people. The enemies were ungodly people who took the possessions of God’s people and oppressed them for 18 years. It is so dangerous to anger God with our disobedience.
Our lives are challenging enough, without God sending enemies into our lives to take our stuff and to oppress us for 18 years. But this is the risk that we take, when we fail to obey God’s will for our lives. Let’s work on living by God’s will, so we don’t have to experience His punishment.
- Crying with repentance. Notice in vs. 15 that when the people of God cried to the Lord, the Lord responded. I think we can be reasonably certain that “cried to the Lord” means that cried with a mind to repent, not just crying about their discomfort. How long will it take for us to cry to the Lord with a repentant spirit?
It is one thing to cry to the Lord about the violence in our communities, our health challenges, and the drama found in too many of our relationships. But it is another thing to cry to the Lord with a mind that says “Lord I commit to obeying You and refraining from my sinful ways.”
Let’s work on crying to the Lord with a repentant spirit – immediately. There is no reason for us to wait 18 years to call on the Lord, when we can do it today.
- God’s mysterious ways. Notice in vss. 15-30 that God sent Ehud to be the leader of His people. Ehud’s left handedness was evidence that he was at least a little different, if not viewed as inferior by some.
Ehud didn’t pray for the enemies to stop oppressing God’s people. He used trickery, ran to safety, and then led the people into killing at least 10,000 Moabites.
First, we should be open to God’s use of human beings as His way of responding to our cries and prayers. There are too many who miss out on God’s will, because they want to ignore the human leaders who He works through.
Second, God can work in mysterious ways. The trickery, running, and killing of our scripture in Judges is not what many believers would associate with God’s methods. But yet they are methods used in the text, and they led to 80 years of rest.
We should be open to God’s methods of carrying out His will. Let’s work on being open to God’s mysterious ways. God can use people and methods that most of us would never vote for in a church meeting, but yet carry God’s favor.
Read Judges 3:31
C. Shamgar’s Victory Over the Philistines. Shamgar served after Ehud. In this chapter of Judges he is known for killing 600 Philistines with an oxgoad (i.e., a spear like object). He is noted as one who saved Israel.
- Obeying God’s will. Notice in vs. 31 that God works through Shamgar’s violence, after Ehud’s ministry. First, instead of trying to explain God’s use of so much violence, we may do better to make sure that we are on the right side of the equation.
We should be those who benefit from God’s use of violence, instead of being the objects of God’s use of violence. The best way to be a benefactor is to make sure that you are saved and striving to live by God’s word.
Second, notice that God is bigger than Ehud and the leaders before him. In like manner, we should remember that God can use leaders who are yet to come. And their methods may be different than those who served earlier. Let’s work on being obedient to God’s will.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being obedience, instead of disobedient. God has much for those who obey His will.
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