Summary: Message 4 in our exposition of Judges focusing on Ehud's exploits.
Judges Series #4 Life Cycles
“Ehud: Strength perfected through weakness”
We should be familiar with the cycle by now.
The book of Judges records the continuing history of the nation of Israel; picking up at the death of Joshua who led them to multiple victories over the occupying polluted nations God had slated for destruction. This is now the third generation after the grand Exodus out of Egypt’s 400 year servitude. But, like America today, they forgot the teachings of their founders. They no longer passed on the stories of God’s loving amazing acts to His chosen people. They became enmeshed with the pagan nations that God commanded them to destroy. They purposely ignored God while picking up the dreadful beliefs and practices of those nations. They arrogantly did their own thing. Every man did that what was right in their own eyes. They lapsed into idolatry, immorality and anarchy.
We find three main take away messages emphasized all though this account of Israel’s history.
1. Sin causes bondage. 2. God grants deliverance. 3. God utilizes unlikely people
I. Cycle Identified 1-2
II. Cycle Illustrated (Seven examples) 3-16
A. Othniel – God-empowered faithful servant
When the people cried out to the true God because of their bondage to the ruler of Mesopotamia, He heard their cry and answered by raising up a faithful servant Othniel and empowered him with His Spirit. This deliverance ushered in a 40-year period of peace.
So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died. Judges 3:11
This incident reminds us that it victory comes not by human might nor by physical power but by the Spirit. We desperately need His anointing, His filling, His empowering presence to enable us to live.
The next cycle reminds us that continual sin results in continual bondage. The people reverted right back into deliberate sin. God again sought to draw them back into His service using hardship and bondage.
It also teaches how God demonstrates His awesome power through our inherent weakness.
Have you ever felt like God could not use you?
We need to learn what Israel learned…
God demonstrates His awesome power through our inherent weakness.
God’s abilities shine brightest through our inabilities.
B. Ehud: Strength perfected through weakness
And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD,
Simple statement. No embellishment. Really, this adequately defines the core of sin; to do what God declares evil. The difficulty arises when we no longer understand what is good and evil. When everyone does what is right in the own eyes rather than God’s.
Solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by continuous practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:14
Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Pet 3:10-12
You know you are in the end times when spending millions on saving insects becomes right while preventing the killing of millions of unborn babies becomes wrong… When banning guns to save one child becomes right and noble while protecting unborn children from the hand of greedy doctors becomes wrong…When our leaders renounce as despicable and evil some video that makes fun of Mohammed while those same leaders, in the name of free speech, declare right the continual defilement of Jesus Christ.
Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:13-14 Slavery
The LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He gathered to himself the Ammonites and the Amalekites, and went and defeated Israel. And they took possession of the city of palms. And the people of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. Judges 3:12-14
Moab arose through the incestuous relationship between Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and his daughter. Lot continually struggled with fleshly indulgences. He lived as close to the flesh-driven society of Sodom as possible until he found himself engulfed by it and it almost cost him his life. It did cost the life of his wife whose heart still longed for the depraved city.
Eglon is a graphic visual of fleshly indulgence. The Bible calls him a very fat man. He formed and alliance with the people of Ammon, also descendants of Lot by another daughter, and Amalek descended from Jacob’s brother Esau. Eglon, probably just one of Moab’s chieftains, set up a summer throne in Jericho, the place of previous Israeli victory. Jericho sometimes called the “City of Palms” was known for its mild pleasant climate and became Eglon’s perfect summer retreat. Because of their sin, Israel ended up snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. They failed to keep territory God had already captured for them in such a dramatic way. They abdicated control of their first glorious victory to a foreign power.