Use God’s strength: Ehud
Scripture: Judges 3:16-30
Aim: To urge the believer to trust in God’s strength, rest in God’s strength, and act in God’s strength.
Golden Text: “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” (Judges 3:15).
The book of Judges gives us a repeated pattern in God’s dealings with Israel. The Lord raised up 12 judges over a period of time. These judges were raised up to deliver different sections of Palestine from the enemy, which had come in and taken over the people of that section because of Israel’s sins against God. This lesson focuses on the second judge, a left-handed man named Ehud.
I. The Israelites had rest from their enemies for 40 years. Then the pattern started over again. The people turned from worshipping and serving Jehovah to worshipping idols of the people who lived around them (3:11-12). This was plainly sinning against the Lord and His commandments. God brought judgment upon them again.
II. This time the nation of Moab subdued Israel in the middle of the land (3:12-14). Eglon the king of Moab enlisted the armies of Ammon and Amalek to help him invade Palestine (vs.13). They subdued the people and Eglon took over Jericho (city of palm trees, vs.13).
III. Finally, Israel cried to the Lord for help and deliverance (3:14). Eglon had ruled harshly over Israel for 18 years (vs. 14). It is amazing that Israel should suffer so for their sins of idol worship, yet, return to it as soon as they had opportunity. When they realized their sins and called upon the Lord , He forgave them and delivered them from the enemy.
IV. The Lord raised up Ehud, a left-handed man, to deliver Israel (3:15-26). Ehud was of the tribe of Benjamin. He made a double-edged dagger about 18 inches long (one cubit). He hid it under his outer garments and carried a present that the leaders of Israel sent to Eglon (vs. 15-16).
Ehud brought the present to Eglon (vs. 18). After it had been delivered Ehud sent his people away and informed the king of Moab that he had a special private message for him (vs. 19). The king sent all his people out of the room so that he and Ehud were alone.
Ehud said to him, “I have a message from God unto thee.” He arose, took the dagger and stabbed Eglon in the stomach (vs. 21). Since Eglon was very fat, the fat covered over the dagger so it could not be easily removed. He died, and Ehud escaped and returned to his companion Israelites (vs. 23-27).
V. Ehud blew the trumpet to call Israel to fight against the Moabites (3:27-30). The Israelites followed Ehud. They subdued and destroyed the Moabites. The way of escape was cut off so that all those fleeing the land were captured and killed (vs. 28-29). About 10,000 Moabites were slain, and Israel was delivered from bondage (vs. 29). Israel had rest and freedom for 120 years. These years gave time for a new generation of Israelites to emerge. They too followed the same pattern of sin, judgment, repentance and deliverance.
Many today seek to live a loose, undedicated life and call themselves Christian. That is the same thing the Israelites tried. They worshipped God but served idols!. The result was servitude and awful conditions of living. One cannot rebel against Jehovah’s Word and be successful.
There are many today who try to be Christian in name only. They love and live in a disobedient way. They disregard the teaching of the Scriptures, claiming themselves to be good Christians. Their lives are an open reminder that sin will produce judgment from a loving and caring God. Sin must always, sooner or later, be paid for. May the Lord move us to repentance today. May we not be guilty of living in the path of disobedience to the Word and will of God.
Howard Tillery is the pastor of New Ochlocknee Baptist Church in Grady County. He lives in Cairo.