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Judges, Case Studies in Character

Inspiring Others
Ehud the Lefty Judges 3:12-30 Introduction: The monk and the gladiators. Took courage and conviction to inspire people to make a change. Still need that. Lets look at the story of another man who inspired the people. Ehud. Judges 3:12-30 Remind you of the cycle of the judges. Period after the early conquest but before the kings of Israel. Loose confederations of tribes. Very primitive life. Serve god. Fall into idolatry. Enslaved. Cry out. God raises up a judge. Deliverance. See that again. The first judge was Othniel. Reigned 40 years. Now verse 11. Othniel died. Verse 12. The Lord. All caps. YHWH. Strengthened their enemy. That is a frightening thing. But God will discipline his wayward children even by using the wicked. The whole issue of the book of Habbakuk was the Lord using the Babylonians to discipline Israel. Warning there for us. Verse 13. City of palm trees was Jerico. Moab on the Southeast of the Dead Sea. Moved in alliance with the Ammonites just east of the Jordan. They took control of Jerico on the Israel side of the Jordan and used it as a base of operations to suppress the people. Verse 14. Sons of Israel served Moab 18 years! Oppression. Then again they turned to God. Verse 15. The deliverer would be Ehud.

Before we go through this I must remind you that the period of the judges was extremely graphic and very violent. We dont know much about Ehud. He was left handed. The Septuagint described him as ambidextrous. According to Matthew Henry, the Hebrew phase shut of his right hand seemed to imply that there was some sort of disability or disease in Ehuds right hand. In that day it would have been a horrendous injury to not have access to his right hand. Disabled. That might explain his position as carrier of tribute. Ehud was the Jewish liaison to King Eglon. His job was to bring the monthly tribute and lay it before the king. That would have been a very undesirable job. It was humiliating and degrading to have to go into the foreign king and offer tribute. Who would you put in charge of a job like that? Not the heads of the tribes! Not the important people. You would pick an easy mark. Someone with low position and probably low selfworth. Someone like Ehud. Notice he didnt even have a sword. Verse 16. He made his own sword. Really more of a Bowie knife. Double edges. 18 inches long. He bound it on his right thigh. Couple of things. First the right thigh would have been the place for a lefty to reach. It would also be the last place to expect a knife. Especially if the king had grown to know and trust Ehud. He was the regular delivery boy. They might have even poked and prodded him as he came in. The whipping boy. Verse 17. He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Eglon was a fat man. Man who exercised little and ate a lot. Im picturing Jabba the Hut. Out of control with his appetite and no doubt other areas too. We dont know much about Eglon but we know that his people feared him. We also know that he didnt trust his own people. Ehud used all of that to his advantage. Verses 19, I have a secret message. I can see Ehud working the crowd. He probably said it loudly pretending to trust the attendants.

Eglon quickly moved to silence him. Keep silence! It was a quick command. See in that a distrust by the king of those closest to him. Dont tell secrets out here. Ehud no doubt had paid close enough attention to know this would happen. He might have seen the king react to others whod done that. Inside the secret chamber it was Ehud and Eglon. On the roof. Verse 20. Ehuds message from God was swift and for Eglon, catastrophic. Verse 21-22 Graphic scene. I told you this was violent. Refuse came out. So we know the blade tore through the colon. The smell filled the room and the chambers. Verse 23. Ehud fled. Verse 24 they smelled the refuse and assumed the king was relieving himself. So they waited. Notice the fear of the servants, not wanting to disturb the king was further used by God to assist Ehud. While they waited Ehud fled. Verses 25-26. Verse 27 Ehud rallies the people. His courage was electrifying. Maybe they thought, if Ehud can fight this people then we can too. Ehud pointed them straight to the Lord. Verse 28. Verses 28-30.

And he uses our limitations to demonstrate his power. Hebrews 11:32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 2 Corinthians 11:30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. You tend to focus on your limitation and say, This is keeping me from being what God wanted me to be. God says, That thing that limits you is the very thing I will use to make you what I want you to be. Ehud was a lefty. Probably not by nature. Ambidextrous. He had to be. There was something wrong with his right hand. All of his life that weakness had limited him. But all of his life God was preparing him for that key moment of usefulness. What is your weakness tonight? What is limiting you? Will you turn that over to the Lord. God has made you exactly as he wants you to be. Even with the limitations. Accept yourself. Psalms 139:14 I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well.


You Are Uniquely Designed. II. You Are Strategically Positioned.

God has placed you to be a strategic influence for Christ.

God made you exactly as he wanted. He designed you for a purpose. Ehud is a living reminder of that. He was skillfully made for just the right mission. God gives us gifts. Romans 12. God gives us strengths. God gives us limitations.

Tendency is to think that if you were somewhere else you would have greater opportunity to influence the world. Those who did the greatest things for the Lord simply started where they were. Those who accomplished the most in life simply used what was available.

You can spend a lifetime of opportunities trying to get where you arent. Or you can use the opportunities where you are. Ehud had the worst job in the kingdom. Refuse workers probably looked at Ehud with his tribute offering as it rumbled down the stone path to Gilgal, Moab and thought, Man are we glad we dont have that guys job. Ehud was the brutal end of a long pecking order. And yet he saw his place as an opportunity for the hand of God. God positions us exactly where he wants us to be. Ill. . . Story of Esther. The king signed the death warrant for the people of Israel living in exile. Esther was a beautiful Jewish girl one of the kings Harem. When Mordacai went to her and told her she must use her influence to change the kings mind she balked. A wife who went to the king uninvited could be killed. Mordacai told her something we all need to hear, Esther 4:14 "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" God strategically places his people. You are where you are for his purpose. Your job isnt to whine and belly ache about your lot in life your job is to act! Influence.


You Must Seize the Opportunities.

Carpe deum. Seize the day. Attack the moment. Use who you are where you are and do what God designed you to do. Trust the Lord. Influence others.