A Left Handed Assassin And A Man With A Pointy Stick

Photo by Bakr Magrabi: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-portrait-of-a-soldier-holding-a-spear-5353141/

Last week we looked at the first Judge of Israel, Othniel. Othniel was a representative of the Tribe of Judah, and a man who was filled with faith for the Lord. As we turn to Judges 3:12-13, we’re going to see that Israel was obedient to God as long as Othniel ruled. Once he died, we see there is no godly leadership. Without godly leadership, Israel once more drifts away from the Lord. We read:

Judges 3:12-13 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees.

The Devil Destroys By Demolishing Divine Design

With all the weirdness and “wokeness” in America today – the Black Lives Matter movement, the Radical Left, the LGBTQ2S+ movements, the “Use My Preferred Pronoun” madness, the Radical Feminism and push for Abortion, the Transgender Modification of young children, and on and on – you might wonder what in the world is happening to our country. What is happening is that Satan has mounted an all out offensive against the Divine Design of Civilization. Satan is attacking the FAMILY.

When FAMILY as God designed it is attacked, modified, twisted, renamed, chaos ensues. When people pull away from God, God “gives them over to a reprobate {adokimos, a false or fake, a pretense, a counterfeit} mind, to do those things that are not convenient {kathēkō, fitting or proper}” (Romans 1:28). God says,

I am your Father. I am your Savior. I gave you the gifts you have. You live in the land I gave you by grace. You want to reject Me, and my commanded Design. Fine! Then I will back up and let you do do.”

Now God has both a sense of humor as well as a sense of what is right. Israel backed away from the Fatherhood of God. So what did God do?

Judges 3:12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord

Word Study: God could have used ANY nation to attack Israel. But He chose to use the Moabites, led by Eglon. The Hebrew ʿeḡlôn means “Calf Like”. When Israel first rejected God’s leadership at Mount Sinai (right after He had saved them from Egypt) they demanded that the High Priest Aaron make them a golden calf (Exodus 32:4) to worship. Israel refused to follow God, so they followed a golden calf. Now Israel refuses to follow God, and God causes a FAT CALF LIKE King lead them .

But here’s the other truth we see here. Eglon was the King of Moab. Where did the Moabites come from? Back when God called Abraham to follow Him, Abraham left his homeland with his nephew Lot. At one point Lot and Abraham had to separate because their flocks and herds had gotten so large that the land would not sustain them. Abraham allowed Lot to choose which direction he wanted to go with his family.

Lot chose Sodom.

The land of Sodom and Gomorrah had become so devoid of righteousness that the traditional Biblical family was no longer the norm. God decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but sent two angels down to Sodom to rescue Lot and his family from destruction. The angels took Lot, his two daughters, and his wife out of Sodom. Lot’s wife looked backward (Genesis 19:26), turning to a pillar of salt. Jesus warned His Church to stay true to Him, especially as His Coming is ever near. Jesus said:

Luke 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife.

Lot found himself in a cave with his two daughters as God rained fire and brimstone from Heaven on Sodom (Luke 17:29). The Bible tells us that:

Genesis 19:35-37 … {Lot’s daughters} made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day.

The lie the devil tells us is that sin doesn’t matter, or sin matters so little that it is inconsequential. The truth is, sin is a horrible decision to walk away from God’s best for us. The Bible says “be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). Lot’s sin with his eldest daughter – a violation of the Divine Design of the family – created a nation called Moab, and that nation would afflict Israel.

Israel walks away from God’s design – and is punished by an aberration of that hideous sin!

But not only this, we read:

Judges 3:13 And {Eglon the king of Moab} gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees.

Eglon is descended from Lot’s bad decision with his elder daughter. Eglon gathers the children of Ammon or the Ammonites to help him afflict Israel. Where did the Ammonites come from? Return back to Lot’s two daughters. We read:

Genesis 19:38 The younger {daughter} also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

The Ammonites came from the dysfunctional family of Lot, just as the Moabites did. From these two roots great and mighty trees were formed, trees that would rain down poisoned fruit on Israel. Then there is yet one more nation mentioned, the children of Amalek or the Amalekites. Where did these these people come from?

Abraham’s son Isaac had two children, Esau the older and Jacob the younger. It was God’s will that the younger Jacob receive the blessing of the elder (Romans 9:13). Rather than wait for God to resolve what God Himself desired, the mother of the children (Rebekah) conspired with Jacob to deceive Isaac and Esau, thus securing the blessing. The fallout from this deception made Esau an enemy of his brother Jacob.

When Esau moved into manhood, he became the father of a mountain people called the Edomites. Esau had a son Eliphaz (Genesis 36:4) who had a concubine Timna who bore him a son named Amalek. None of these things I just mentioned are part of God’s design for the family.

God does not want family internally plotting against one another.
God does not want wives dishonoring husbands.
God does not want husbands keeping concubines.
God does want children dishonored.

Out of this dysfunction came the Amalekites. The Amalekites, the Ammonites, and the Moabites were all dysfunctional families that departed from God’s Divine Design. God used these aberrations to punish Israel. Do not believe that anyone – and I’m speaking to YOU, AMERICAN CHURCH – can depart from God’s Design and go unsullied.

Judges 3:13 {the Amalekites, Moabites, and Ammonites} went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees.

The city of palm trees is another name for Jericho, the place where Israel fought her first battle under the leadership of Joshua. Jericho was:

a heavily fortified city that stood between God’s people, the Israelites, and the “Promised Land.” Jericho had a massive, impenetrable wall around it that the Israelite army had no hope of getting past, and even if they did, they would have to face an enemy army.”

God knocked down the walls of Jericho when Israel did as He said (Joshua 6:15-20), and the city was easily defeated. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days (Hebrews 11:30, ESV)”. Faith in God tore down walls and defeated the enemy. Faithlessness in God caused Israel to lose that which she was given.

You cannot expect to retain God’s blessing if you will not follow God’s commandment.

Sin Is Like A Cancer That Grows And Hardens

Judges 3:14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

The Bible says:

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

And our Lord Jesus said:

John 8:34-36 … Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

You will serve either sin or the Sovereign Savior. When you serve sin, it becomes your master, and will draw you into death. Sin is sneaky. But notice also this:

When Israel sinned against God in Judges the first time, they were in bondage 8 years until they repented and God raised up Othniel (Judges 3:8). When Israel sins against God the second time, they are in bondage 18 years – over twice as long – until they repent and God raises up a second Judge.

Over time, sin hardens the conscience (Titus 1:15; 2 Peter 1:9).

Judges 3:15 But when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man left handed: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.

Word Study: As soon as God’s people repented, God raised up a deliverer(Hebrew yāšaʿ, Savior) named Ehud. His name is interesting, for it means “I will be praised”. I do not think that Ehud wants to be praised. I think that God uses him because GOD wants to be praised, to be glorified. Ehud is a Benjamite, from the Tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe of Israel. Judge Ehud, the Prophet Jeremiah, and Paul the Apostle are all from the Tribe of Benjamin. What else do we see about Ehud? He is a man left handed. Why is this significant?

Among humans, less than 10% of us are left handed. When we meet one another, we shake hands with the right hand. Why? Because the right hand is where most people would hold are a sword or spear. You shake your right hand to show no weapons are hidden in the sleeves. If people wore a sword, it was worn on the LEFT side of the body to facilitate easy drawing. During the middle ages, knights on greeting one another would raise their right hand, and open their helmet face shield to show they meant no harm. I am told that this is where the original salute came from.

Ehud was left handed. We are told by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon. Now Eglon’s body guards would not have allowed Ehud to enter into his presence without first searching him.

Judges 3:16-17 But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. 17 And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.

Ehud made a dagger – pointy and sharp on both edges – about 18 inches long (the length of a standard cubit). When Ehud came in, the guards searched his left side, the side that a right hand person would conceal a sword. But since Ehud was left handed, the sword was under his clothes on his right side. They just didn’t see a sword here!

Judges 3:18-20 And when {Ehud} had made an end to offer the present, {Eglon} sent away the people that bare the present. 19 But he himself turned again from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from him. 20 And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlor, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat.

After delivering the tribute money, Ehud and those who were with him headed out of the King’s Palace. They all got to Gilgal (Joshua 4:19-24) where Joshua had Israel set up twelve memorial stones commemorating their passage through the Jordan on dry land. At Gilgal, Ehud returned to King Eglon’s Summer Palace, telling him “I have a secret message for your ears alone!” King Eglon sends all his people out. Ehud says:

I have a message from God unto thee

King Eglon rises from his throne, and Ehud strikes. He pulls the double edged dagger – 18 inches long – from under his clothes, and strikes with his left hand.

Judges 3:21-23 And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: 22 And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out. 23 Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlor upon him, and locked them.

Driving the blade into Eglon, he was so fat that the rolls of his flesh encompassed the handle and the haft of the blade. The Bible says the dirt came out, that is, it penetrated his bowels and that which was in the bowels gushed out. The length of the blade would have made it come out his back – a horrible death! One commentary notes:

Although God will often use other nations to discipline His people, after the discipline is over, God has a tendency to destroy the nation that was used to oppress His people. Even though they had been chosen by God as a rod of discipline, God keeps His Word – those that bless Israel are blessed, and those that curse Israel are cursed.”

Judges 3:24-26 When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlor were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber. 25 And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlor; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth. 26 And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath.

Locking the doors behind him, Ehud uses this time to escape. The smell of Eglon’s “dirt” causes the servants to believe their King is relieving himself. The phrase covereth his feet is an idiom for going to the restroom.

Judges 3:27-30 And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount, and he before them. 28 And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the Lord hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over. 29 And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valor; and there escaped not a man. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.

Following Ehud, Israel destroyed the enemy that had afflicted them for 18 years. God was in the battle, and Ehud was careful not to take credit for killing the King, or defeating the enemy. Ehud said the Lord hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. This was proven when Israel went against the Moabite Army, battle hardened men – and destroyed the entire army.

Our God is an awesome God!

God Used A Left Handed Man –
And A Man With A Pointy Stick

Judges 3:31 And after {Ehud} was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.

The third Judge of Israel has very little said about him, a man named Shamgar. His name means “a Sword”, but Shamgar did not use a sword. Shamgar battles the Philistines – ancient enemies of Israel – with an ox goad. What’s an ox goad? It’s a pointy stick that you use to poke an ox when it doesn’t want to move.

Shamgar used an ox goad to fight the Philistines. Why did he use an ox goad? Because he didn’t have a sword. Shamgar used what God allowed him to have. What else do we learn about Shamgar? He is,

Shamgar the son of Anath

Now Anath is the Canaanite goddess of war. Shamgar isn’t Jewish – he’s Gentile. Shamgar wasn’t born a follower of God, but came from an unbelieving family. We don’t know how Shamgar became a champion of Israel, nor do we know who led him to the Lord. But Shamgar met God and, believing in God, began to follow God. The Bible tells us later in:

Judges 5:6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath,…. the highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through byways.

The people were frightened of the Philistines, and avoided the highways and normal routes. They hid their travel for fear of being harmed. Not Shamgar. Shamgar took the highways. He went looking for Philistines, he and his pointy stick. He made no excuses as to why he couldn’t do what God called him to do. Shamgar trusted God, stepped out in faith, and started poking holes in Philistines.

Shamgar did what he could with what he had
where he was every day of his life.

It is time that we as Christians and we, the Church of Christ, follow the example of Shamgar. The late Dr. R.G. Lee said before he went to be with Jesus:

The Church needs more action and less faction. More workers and fewer shirkers. More backers and fewer slackers. More praying and less straying. More burden bearers and fewer tale bearers. More tongues of fire and fewer fiery tongues. More zealous effort and less jealous thoughts. More love for the Word and less love for the world. More seeking for grace and less seeking for place.”

May God the Holy Spirit move on our hearts to do as Shamgar did while there is time. Let us let our light shine for God’s glory and Satan’s destruction. In Christ’s name I pray this. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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