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Summary: The book of Judges is a book of Heroes and cycles. When the hero would die, the children of Israel would turn back to their sin, God would let their enemies defeat them, they would cry out to the Lord, and He would raise up another hero.

HEROES #7: THE FORGOTTEN HEROES OF JUDGES

OPENING: This morning, we are going to take a look at the lives of some of the forgotten heroes of the Book of Judges. We are all familiar with the stories of David and Goliath, Daniel and the lion’s den, and Jonah and the whale, but how many of you have heard some of these stories?

THE FORGOTTEN HEROES OF JUDGES:

1. Othniel, Caleb’s nephew, who defeated the Mesopotamians (3:7-11)

2. Shamgar, who killed 6,000 Philistines with an oxgoad (3:31)

3. Tola, the son of Puah, the son of Dodo (10:1-2)

4. Jair, the Gileadite (10:3-5)

5. Ibzan, the Bethlehemite (12:8-10)

6. Elon, the Zebulunite (12:11-12)

7. Abdon, the Pirathonite (12:13-15)

- lesson: God uses all different kinds of people!

Then, some of the more well-known ones:

8. Deborah, the prophetess who defeated Sisera and the Canaanites(ch. 4-5)

- lesson: God uses women, too!

9. Gideon, the underdog who defeated Midianites (ch. 6-8)

10. Jephthah, the son of a harlot, who defeated the Ammonite (10:6 – 12:7)

- lesson: God will use you, regardless of your past

11. Samson, the strong man who fought against the Philistines (ch. 13-16)

12. Ehud, the lefthanded man who defeated Eglon and the Moabites (3:12-30)

Before we look at the story of Ehud, let me give you some background to the book of Judges.

BACKGROUND TO JUDGES:

“So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:7).

· What an amazing testimony – when Joshua lived, the people served the Lord.

“When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals.” (v.10-11).

· This is why it’s important for parents to teach and train their children! “We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.” (Psalm 78:4).

“And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around.” (v.14).

· As a result of this, v.15 says, “And they were greatly distressed.”

KEY TEXT: “Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.” (Judges 2:16).

THE BIG IDEA: The book of Judges is a book of Heroes. But it is also a book of cycles. Whenever the hero would die, the children of Israel would turn back to their sin, then God would let their enemies defeat them, then they would cry out to the Lord, and the Lord would raise up another Hero. God’s looking for a few heroes in the world today!

·A NOTE ON CYCLES: This is an example of many Christian’s lives as well. We are excited about serving God, then we fall away, then we get into trouble, then we cry out to God for help and promise to serve Him again, then He helps us, then we are excited about serving God, then we fall away, etc…

WHY DID GOD LEAVE THEIR ENEMIES IN THE LAND?

“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 (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war.” (Judges 3:1-2).

· The resistance strengthened them! We are in a spiritual war today!

THE STORY OF EHUD: ILLUSTRATED (one of my favourite OT stories)

CAST: 3 Children of Israel; King Eglon, Ehud, 2 King’s attendants; 2 doors; 2 stone statues

PROPS: Throne, crown, cloaks (Ehud & Eglon), tribute gift, dagger, trumpet, music!

“12 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord.

· Children of Israel: “We’re bad!”

So the Lord strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord.

· Eglon and attendants: “We’re strong!”

13 Then he gathered to himself the people of Ammon and Amalek, went and defeated Israel, and took possession of the City of Palms. 14 So the children of Israel served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years.

· Children of Israel: “We’re being oppressed! We’re being oppressed!”

15 But when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. By him the children of Israel sent tribute to Eglon king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud made himself a dagger (it was double-edged and a cubit in length) and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh. 17 So he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.)

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