Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan…. (
If you go to the churches in
Europe today, you will find them mostly dead and
empty. They bowed before the altar of
rationalism—a spiritual malignancy that killed them. From compromise of the truth, they moved to
conformity to the world. Today, a
handful of very old people may attend, but the youth are gone. The church is unnoticed, unmentioned, an
archaic relic irrelevant to modern life.
is pursuing that same suicidal course.
The conditions of ancient America bear eerie similarities
during the days of the Judges. Israel
Dickens began the novel, “A Tale of Two Cities,” with this line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” What is described in Judges is only the worst of times. Israel had failed to drive out the enemy—first trying to make them serve them, and then settling with coexistence, until being enslaved by the enemy. Little by little, they were corrupted and drawn into paganism. There was a leadership vacuum. Joshua was dead, and those who would follow were not of the same spiritual caliber. The people abandoned the Word of God—objective truth discarded for moral relativism. The key phrase in understanding these horrible days is, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” This kind of ethical anarchy is what we are approaching in
When the people suffered at the hands of the heathen, they would cry out to God, and He would raise up a judge—a champion to deliver them. Three unlikely leaders are found in
There was THE IN-LAW (v.7-11). Othniel had great potential. He was out of good stock. His uncle was the heroic Caleb, and Othniel married Caleb’s daughter. Othniel won his bride by defeating the Canaanites at Kiriath-sepher. He would lead the revolt against the oppressive regime of Cushan-Rishathaim. Here was the secret of his success: “The Spirit of the LORD came upon him….” (v.10) God works through those yielded to and empowered by His Spirit.
Then, we see THE SOUTHPAW (v.12-30). I heard of a sermon on these verses entitled, “When Lefty Let Old Fatty Have It!” The Hebrew suggests that Ehud was left-handed because his right was useless. His disability became his possibility. Eglon was built like a sumo wrestler. God’s message to him was pointed! Ehud was the instrument, but the hand of deliverance was God’s (v.28). God knows our limitations, and can use our weaknesses to manifest His power—and that is always for His glory! Stop making excuses. God does not want your ability so much as He desires your availability!
Finally, there was THE HITMAN (v.31). Shamgar was “a good ol’ boy.” He was a redneck renegade with an ox goad instead of a spear. He was untrained in swordsmanship, but used what he had at his disposal. What is the supreme credential for our call to serve? God’s touch upon us! The mighty Spurgeon started his ministry as a teenager with no seminary training, but God was on him! Education can be useful, but having more degrees than a thermometer doesn’t mean you have the anointing of God! It is not a question of whether God will use you, but a matter of your willingness to be usable—holy and humble; dependent and devoted to God.