Summary: A sermon on Ehud, from the 3:16’s of the Bible
Sermon for 2/3/2002
A. Don’t read this story while eating breakfast.
B. This is the first of 5 major accounts of national deliverers, all of which are meant to sicken the reader as well as celebrate Israel’s deliverance.
C. Sin is sickening. When we deal with it radically through the Lord’s power, then we can celebrate the Lord’s deliverance. Same way in our lives.
D. This story reminds me of a righteous James Bond. Who ever said that the Bible was boring?
E. Don’t need to go to movies, or watch TV. Judges is full of sexual immorality, violence, and war. However, it will display it for what it is and that is gross and horrible.
F. In recent months because of 9-11, the government has been criticized because they have relied too much on electronic surveillance instead of espionage. Spies and assassins.
G. Many people will say, "Well, our civilization will not permit something like this." No one can honestly say this because we dropped an atomic bomb that killed men, women and children. Most people have called this a good thing because in the end it saved many people. Well-placed spies will help to save many lives.
H. How civilized is the world?
I. In our world we need some Ehud’s, not just politically or militarily, but spiritually.
A. Background to Judges:
1. Joshua and the Israelites conquered the Promised Land through God. However, many pockets of resistance left after the major strongholds were defeated.
2. Joshua and the elders who lived after him died and the people forsook God.
3. In the days of Judges, there was no government except God.
4. Theme of Judges is (Judg 21:25 NIV) In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
5. Anarchy prevailed. Religious, social, political, and moral principles disappeared. Civil war even broke out.
6. The Israelites worshipped God along with Baal and Asherah. They broke the first and second commandments. (Exo 20:3 NIV) "You shall have no other gods before me.(Exo 20:4 NIV) "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.(Exo 20:5 NIV) You shall not bow down to them or worship them.
7. When the people rejected God, they also rejected loving their neighbors- and ultimately abused them.
8. God gave Israel a long time (about 350 years) to live as a covenant nation without a national representative to keep the unity.
9. The worship of God was to keep them unified but it did not work.
10. God chose men from various tribes to correct the problems and to give Israel a fresh start. The Judges
11. We see the sin cycle that is prevalent in Judges from vs. 11-15a.
a. The first Judge Othniel delivers Israel and leads the people in a revival. Before vs. 11
b. Othniel dies. Vs. 11
c. Then the Israelites fall away into evil and idol worship. Vs. 12
d. The Lord delivers them into the hands of a nation who reduces them to servitude (vs. 12-13)
e. It goes on for a while until the Israelites wake up and return to God. (vs. 14)
f. They cry out to God for a while (vs. 15)
g. The Lord raises up a deliverer this time a man named Ehud. (vs. 15)
h. Goes back to set a. Chapter 4:1
12. Our cycle is pretty much the same.
Thesis: Today we are going to focus on Ehud. Let’s us take note of things that apply to us. (Obviously cannot go around assassinate people)
J. He exhibited great courage and faith in God at a time when other Hebrew men of his day were not.
A. Ehud had to forsake the idolatrous practices that his neighbors were engaged in.
B. John Hanneman- A few weeks ago, a man called me on the phone to inquire about getting married. I asked him if he and his fiancée were both Christians, and he said he was, but she was not. We talked about that for a little bit, and we were even able to talk about some of the patterns that had developed in his life and in his relationship with this woman. Evidently they were doing things that an unmarried couple should not be doing. Finally, I said, "I have to be honest with you. I cannot be involved in your marriage because of what the scriptures say about Christian marrying non-believers." I could tell that it was a real blow to him. A couple of weeks ago we had lunch together, and he told me that he had called off the marriage and was in the process of severing the relationship completely. He had begun to see the patterns that had developed in his life over the last few years, and how he had become dependent on women. In this relationship he was dependent upon her, not God. She controlled his life. So for the first time he said no to the flesh, no to what he thought he wanted to do, and yes to God. He was learning about God again. He was back in church; he was growing, and becoming dependent upon God. He’s in the process of being delivered and being made whole. His face was radiant, as he kept saying over and over again, "This is a very difficult thing for me to do, but it feels good." In other words, there was rest; rest had entered the land once again. He had said no to the flesh; he had said yes to God. After years of enslavement he was experiencing rest.