Summary: Living by faith will cause me to live in the miraculous... even if I have to start small.
SMALL BEGINNINGS (part 3)
The Pragmatics of the Miraculous – Shamgar’s Principles of Deliverance
1. Use What You Have
And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.
During the days of the book of Judges, "Everyone did what was right in their own eye." In other words, they did what they wanted to do with no regard for what God wants. As a result, they went through cycles of turning away from God, falling into oppression by the surrounding nations, crying out for God to deliver them, and then God sending a judge. The judges were deliverers. Shamgar was one of these delivers. Shamgar delivered the nation of Israel from Philistine oppression with an ox goad. What is an oxgoad? An oxgoad is a farm tool that is shaped like an axe handle or baseball bat but it has a sharp point at the end. An ox goad is used to make an ox go when ox stops plowing. Why did Shamgar use an ox goad? Because that's what he had. Shamgar used what he had because it's too hard to use what you don't have. What you have is what you need! God does big things with little things when you use what you have.
Shamgar had an ox goad, David had a sling,
Jael had a tent peg, Rahab had a string,
Samson had a jawbone, Moses had a rod,
They all used what they had, and they all were used of God.
14 And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.
15 And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
16 And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.
17 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi.
God often uses something small so we don’t put our faith in the thing instead of putting our faith in Him! Samson used the jawbone then threw it away because his faith was not in the thing. His faith was in the God that is able to do big things with little things.
2. Start Where You Are
An oxgoad is a farm tool. That means Shamgar was a farmer. That means Shamgar lived on a farm. Shamgar started to deliver Israel from right where he was… on a farm. He started where he was. Why? Because it’s too hard to start where you are not.
In Genesis 1:1-3, the God that created everything from nothing shows us how to start where we are.
1. In the Beginning… Start Working Behind the Scenes (God made everything before He made man so there was no one around to see what God was doing behind the scenes.)
2. In the Beginning… Celebrate the Small Steps of Progress (At the end of each day, God looked and saw the good He accomplished rather than focus on what was not done yet.)
3. In the Beginning… The Things That Are Made Will Start the Cascade of “Bring Forth”
3. Doing What You Can Do – (And keep on doing it!)
1. Believing the Promise Will Cause You To Do Something By Faith (James 2:17)
2. Doing Something By Faith Moves Us (Collectively) From Faith to Faith (From my faith to your faith/From generation to generation)
(What I taught you by faith, teach it to someone else by faith, and they will teach someone else by faith.)
In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through byways.
During the days of the Philistine oppression of the Children of Israel, people didn’t travel along the highways because they were persecuted by the Philistine soldiers that traveled in pairs when they travelled the highway. They travelled through byways along secret routes through people’s farms to avoid the soldiers. The soldiers then started following them in pairs through these byways through the farms to pillage the farm… except when they came to Shamgar’s farm. When they came to Shamgar’s farm, two-by-two, Shamgar would take them out two-by-two with his oxgoad. The reason he did what he could do to take them out two-by-two is because it’s too hard to do what you can’t do. But when Shamgar did what he could do, two-by-two turned into 600 and he delivered Israel. Little things turn into big things when you do what you can do.