Summary: Three minor Judges show us that God can use little-known people to do great things.
Possessing the Promises (Judges #2)
Unknown, but not Unused: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar
July 17, 2005
Summer time as a kid I watched many game shows
•Jokers Wild, 25K Pyramid, Price is Right, Family Feud
•Ask for most popular answers to a survey
•If Judges were ever a category I imagine Samson would win, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah
•But these first three guys probably wouldn’t make the survey
•Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar
•Unknown but each used by God and each teach us something about possessing the promises of God
We also detect a cycle in the book of Judges that Israel goes through on a number of occasions:
Israel does evil in the eyes of Yahweh
Yahweh gives them into the hands of their oppressors
Israel serves the oppressor for X years
Israel cries out to Yahweh
Yahweh raises up a deliverer ( i.e., judge)
The oppressor is subdued
The land has rest for X years
Not only a cycle but a downward spiral. As time goes on the people get worse and worse.
People get worse and so do the judges
•The book ends with Samson who although delivered God’s people was hardly an example of morality.
•The earlier judges actually are closer to God while the people are closer to God.
•With that these three represent a more ideal judge than the later judges and Othniel, the first judge is considered by some the best of all the judges. Othniel is the model judge.
How can that be – Othniel’s story takes all of five verses to tell!
JDG 3:7 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. 8 The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. 9 But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. 10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. 11 So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.
•Nothing negative is ever said
•No doubt, no immorality, no deception in his victory. Othniel is boring!
•God uses boring people!
•Othniel just did was he was asked to do – didn’t make a big fanfare out of it. Apparently just went about business and accomplished what God wanted him to do.
•Isn’t it ironic how we love to hear stories that contain immorality, deceit, doubt. Read the paper, read the news, watch the movies. People love to hear a story while people who are just doing good get no recognition.
•I think sometime we may make things more difficult on ourselves and God by making things exciting rather than just doing what we need to do!
Two ranchers were trying to impress each other with the size if their ranches. One asked the other, “What’s the name of your ranch?” He replied, “The Rocking R, ABC, Flying W, Circle C, Bar U, Staple Four, Box D, Rolling M, Rainbow’s End, Silver Spur Ranch!” Duly impresses the rancher said, “Wow! That’s sure some name. How many head of cattle do you run?” With a sad shake of his head, the rancher answered, “Not many. Very few survive the branding.”
•Too many times we are so busy trying to impress that we don’t get done what God wanted us to do. If you’re out to impress others, then you’re not going to possess the promises of God.
•Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:4
•Othniel reminds us that you don’t have to by #1 in anyone’s survey to be #1 with God.
We get a much more interesting story with Ehud 3:12-30
Here are the highlights
•Handed over to Moab – King Eglon
•People cry out to God and a deliverer is raised up – Ehud
•Mentions that he is left-handed
•Makes a sword and hides it under his clothing on his right thigh
•He goes to pay tribute to Eglon – he is a fat man
•He asks for an audience with Eglon claiming to have a message form God
•Eglon falls for this and Ehud approaches him and stabs Eglon and he dies
•Some interesting details that I’ll let you look up
•Anyway, Ehud leaves the room, locks the door, the servants wait to check on Eglon, and by the time they find him dead Ehud is long gone and has gathered an army of Israelites who go on to defeat Moab and the land has peace again.