Judges 3:12-30 – Who You Listening To?

Posted: August 7, 2017 in 07-Judges
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Judges 3:12-30
Ehud Becomes Israel’s Judge

You know Satan works on us and says we are no good and that we can do something or we are not qualified for something. He does that to me. I know that he does to me. He has always done that to me. Growing up as a preacher’s kid, a Methodist preacher’s kid at that, we moved every two years or so when I was growing up all the way until I was 14 years old when we moved to Travelers Rest, SC. My dad actually stayed there for four years. I actually got to go to one school throughout high school. What a novel idea that was. But though I was able to make a name for myself at Travelers Rest High School, I was always an outsider as Satan would tell me. I didn’t know all the history these kids had with each other. Our family did not have the roots in the community that other kids’ families had.

When I was married to my first wife, Lisa, after my dad was moved away from Travelers Rest to Charleston, virtually all the connections that I had to family and community were through Lisa. I was the outsider with no family nearby. I was connected in Travelers Rest but it was through her. As I soon found out, Travelers Rest was her town. It was her family town. Not because people hated me that they disconnected with me, but I had to move out of Travelers Rest and people settled back into their own lives. I lived in Anderson at my parent’s lake home for a year after Lisa and I broke up. In my second marriage, to Trena, it was the same kind of thing. All my friends and connections were made through her. After my marriage to Trena disintegrated, all those friends disappeared. All that family disappeared. I was a loner again. Satan said that you are alone. There’s something wrong with you that makes you a loner. You’re weird. You don’t have what it takes to make a permanent impression on people.

As well, even now, when I have felt this call to full-time ministry for six years, nothing has happened yet. Satan keeps telling me that you are not good enough. Satan tells me that you are not a lifer in the ministry and people aren’t going to take you serious. Satan tells me that I don’t know all the secret handshakes that the all-their-life-preachers know. I don’t have the spiritual maturity. All that stuff Satan tells. He tells me that I am fat and nobody will take your seriously in the ministry nowadays unless you can wear skinny jeans. Satan tells me I can’t. Satan tells that I just don’t have what it takes.

Does Satan deal with you in this way? Do you have a voice that says you can’t do it? Do you have a voice that says you are on the outside looking in? Do you have a voice that makes you feel lower than low? Stop right now. Read this passage, Judges 3:12-30:

12 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and because they did this evil the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. 13 Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms.[a] 14 The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.

15 Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit[b] long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. 17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. 18 After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it. 19 But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.”

The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left.

20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace[c] and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. 23 Then Ehud went out to the porch[d]; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.

24 After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” 25 They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead.

26 While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the stone images and escaped to Seirah. 27 When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them.

28 “Follow me,” he ordered, “for the Lord has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands.” So they followed him down and took possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab; they allowed no one to cross over. 29 At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped. 30 That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.

In this passage, we see that when King Eglon of Moab conquered part of Israel, he set up his throne in the city of Jericho, the “city of palms”. Ehud was chosen to take Israel’s first tribute there. Ehud was from the tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin’s allotment of land included the area around Jericho. Thus, they would have suffered the most under Eglon’s reign. Ehud, and the men of Benjamin, had plenty of reasons for wanting Eglon and his armies gone. This story is unusual in its graphic detail about the killing of this oppressive king (including about how when a person dies their bowels often release the last waste of a person). Very graphic and almost personal in a sense as if Ehud was the person who later wrote this part of the story of the Judges. We are also told that Ehud was “a man lefthanded”. There seems to have been a great number of men from the tribe of Benjamin who were left handed (Judges 20:16). There were also many in Benjamin who were ambidextrous (1 Chron. 12:2). When the Bible says that he was “a man lefthanded”, it does not simply mean that he used his left hand. It literally means that he was “bound in the right hand.” In other words, Ehud was crippled on his right side. He was forced to use his left hand because his right hand did not function. It demonstrates that God used Ehud’s overlooked left-handed ability to give Israel victory. It also demonstrates to us that God can use each one of us just the way we are, warts and all!

Stop listening to what Satan has to say! God can use all of us. Sometimes, our warts are our testimony that reach the soul of someone for Christ that possibly could have not been reached. Sometimes, God puts us through the valleys of loneliness and separateness and that feeling of being on the outside looking in so that we will learn to depend solely on Him for our strength and our personal value. Stop listening to Satan. God made you beautifully and wonderfully. There is no other you. You are unique and God has a one in an eternity plan for your unique, once in an eternity life. There is no other you. God has no carbon copy plans. Each one is unique to each one of us. He can and will use each one of us for the glory of His kingdom if we will just stop listening to Satan’s lies about how worthless we are.

You are not an outsider! You are not worthless! You are not ugly! You are not so fat that people won’t take you seriously! You are not too old! Satan only tears down. Only God lifts up! Listen to God! You are special and you are part of His redemptive plan no matter how small or big that part is – you are a part of it!

Amen and Amen.

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