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Three Steps Toward Success

Judges 3:31

This verse and the few verses in chapter 5 comprise the sum total of Shamgar’s biblical biography.

Before the life of Shamgar there is Ehud, a valiant left-handed judge who led the people to victory against the Moabites. Israel’s peace with the Moabites then lasted for 80 years.

But Israelites had many enemies that would frequently invade and plunder them. Judges 5:6 describes the lack of public safety caused by these raids. "In the days of Shamgar son of Anath...the roads were abandoned; travelers took to winding paths." Verse 7 says, "...village life in Israel ceased..." And verse 8 continues, "...not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel."These desperate circumstances motivated one man, Shamgar, to remedy the situation. The Bible simply describes his valor - he "struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad."

An ox goad was a farm implement. Oxen were used to plow the fields, and to assure their cooperation the plowman used a long wooden rod, anywhere from five to ten feet in length and up to two inches in diameter, to prod these sturdy animals into working. This farmer’s tool became a lethal weapon in the hands of a courageous man of conviction. He defended his family, his countrymen and his property against the invading marauders with a farm implement.

Let’s apply Shamgar’s success to our lives now.


Where was Shamgar? What was the starting point for him?He was living in a time and place when his life and property, and the lives and property of his family and countrymen, were at the mercy of Philistine thieves and thugs. He could have seen himself as helpless and hopeless but he didn’t.

Professor of Psychology Salvatore R. Maddi of University of California says there are 3 C’s in dealing with stress: Commitment, Control & Challenge.

Commitment: “When stress hits you, stay involve and don’t pull-out.”

Control: “Take charge of Stress situation. You should control the situation, not the stress.”

Challenge: “Think the stress as normal. Its an opportunity to learn. Don’t let yourself fall into self-pity.

”Sounds like Shamgar practice. Shamgar didn’t wait for perfect circumstances or perfect materials to start. He started where he was.

The Communists used to say that "only weak people need God.” But the truth is - everybody is weak - therefore everyone needs God.

In the Book of Judges God placed His Spirit upon leaders in spite of their weaknesses. Beginning from a place of weakness is not necessarily a bad thing. It can actually be a good thing because it can lead to a God-thing!

God can do things in the lives of people who admit that they need Him that He cannot do in the lives of people who will not admit that they need Him.

Three times the Bible says, "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." (Proverbs 3:24; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5)

Shamgar did not wait until he had an army of thousands to lead in battle. You and I don’t have to wait until things get better before we advance. What you can do for God, do it now.


An ox goad. Shamgar didn’t have a sword or spear. But he didn’t need one.We don’t need a lot of things we think we need in order to succeed.You may not have the monetary resources or the education you think it takes to succeed - but you can start where you are and use what you have - especially if you have the blessing of God on your life.

God approached Moses in the wilderness through the burning fiery bush and told him to return to Egypt, confront Pharaoh, and lead the Hebrews up from slavery. Moses immediately slinked into an excuse mode. "Who, me? I don’t have what it takes to do that!"So God says to Moses, "What is that in your hand?" (Exodus 4:2) Moses replied, "Well, Lord, all I have is this shepherd’s staff", and God says, "That will do. Throw it on the ground." When Moses obeyed, his staff turned into a snake. Then God told him to pick it up by the tail. He did and it became a staff again. This staff was the instrument of God to turn the Nile River into blood and bring other great plagues on Egypt. It was the tool God used to part the Red Sea and bring about other miracles in the wilderness.

That shepherd’s staff wasn’t much but dedicated to God it became a mighty tool!

What is it that you already have that you can use to succeed? What has God already given you to help you realize your dreams?

The Lord has given everyone of us sufficient ability to attain success in life. There are many stories of people who succeed despite of their physical handicapped: Blind people, crippled, people with no arms, no feet, etc. Only people with no heads who did not succeed in life.

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