Victory Over Bondage

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In Judges 3:1-22, we find Israel lost sight of who they were and who God was. They abandoned their distinctive identity and God’s ways and purpose. The result was they came under bondage. For 18 years they were under the power of Moabites led by a man named Eglon. Eglon was described as a very fat man (3:17). This imposing, very large king was now in control, exacting huge sums of money from them. Israel had gotten apathetic and did nothing.

How does this happen? When we forget who we are, it affects our relationships. We hang out with people who are not good for us. Paul states this to the Corinthian believers, "Don't be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals'” I Cor. 15:33). Hanging with the wrong people corrupts good morals. When we forget who we are we are easily influenced by others, or by our culture. I notice We don't seem to handle prosperity very well. Let me ask, what has God used to get your attention? Do you find you are apathetic, in a hopeless addiction, near death? Are stuck in your life with God or in circumstances in your life?

In the midst of bondage, God intervenes

In the book of Judges we see that each time Israel abandoned God, they came under bondage. They would eventually cry out to God for a leader, a deliverer. God would send them a deliverer and they would have peace. Then the leader would die, they would forget God and come under bondage again. In our story in Judges 3, Israel finally cries out to God. After 18 years, in desperation, they've got to have some relief!

God raises up a man named Ehud. He’s not a very significant man, not notable like a Joshua. Ehud is not a popular name in the Bible. He is described as being left-handed. In the Old Testament, a left-handed person was seen as weak. However, God uses the weak, simple, common person… like us. Paul tells the church in Corinth…

"For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are." (I Cor. 1:26-28).

In Judges 3 we discover God's answer to Israel’s bondage was a man named Ehud, who would take on this big imposing King Eglon. Ehud was supposed to take the taxes to Eglon. He made a knife that was 18inches and two sided. He put it on his right thigh, because he was left-handed, under his clothing. Ehud traveled with a group who gave the taxes to the king and left. But Ehud went back and he told the king he had a secret message. The king sent out his servants. Ehud said, “The Lord has a message for you” and took his dagger and thrust it into the king’s belly, sinking so deep that it disappeared! He then escaped out of the window. Eglon’s servants came after a time and found Eglon dead.

Put yourself in Ehud's shoes. How would you feel in this scenario? Scared? (What about Murphy's Law? What if they search me? What if I just wound the king? What if when I stab him he grabs me and falls on me?) Yet Ehud, being sent by God, stayed the course and escaped out the window.

Our Spiritual Enemies

The point of this story has to do with our spiritual enemies. What has you in bondage? What is your secret that is robbing you of confidence in God? What is it that’s destroying your relationship with God? What about the pressure of covering-up and the shame and fear of "what if they found out"?

What is your attitude toward these spiritual enemies? Have you given up? Are you apathetic? Does even your hope in grace become the occasion for your sin? Have you finally had enough?

The good news? God has sent a deliverer named Jesus. In my next post I’ll share more on how we can respond to our oppressive enemies.

Our Mission

Confluence is a place where the reformed, the charismatic, and the mission-minded converge to equip and serve the church to transform communities. Our authors are mostly leaders in the Newfrontiers family of churches.

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