Wednesday, June 05, 2019

2019.06.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 3:12-31

Questions for Littles: What did the children of Israel do (again!) in Judges 3:12? Whom did Yahweh strengthen? Against whom? Why? Whom did Eglon of Moab gather to himself (Judges 3:13)? What did they do? How long did Israel serve Eglon (Judges 3:14)? What did the children of Israel do in Judges 3:15? What did Yahweh do? Whom did Yahweh raise up? Whose son was Ehud? Of what tribe? What other detail does it tell us about him? What did Israel send by his hand? What did Ehud make for himself (Judges 3:16)? What style dagger was it? How long was it? Where did he fasten it? To whom did Ehud bring the tribute (Judges 3:17)? What do we learn about Eglon in verse 17? What did Ehud do, when he had presented the tribute (Judges 3:18)? Where did he go (Judges 3:19)? What did he say he had for the king? What did the king say and do to his attendants? Where were they in Judges 3:20? From whom did Ehud say the message was? What did Ehud do in Judges 3:21? How far did it go in (Judges 3:22)? What came out? How did Ehud make his exit (Judges 3:23)? What had he done to the doors? What did Eglon’s servants think that the king might be doing in Judges 3:24? How long did they wait (Judges 3:25)? What did they find, when they finally opened the door? Where was Ehud by this time (Judges 3:26)? What did he do in Judges 3:27? Where, and to do what, did Ehud lead the children of Israel in Judges 3:28? How many did they kill in Judges 3:29? How long did the land have rest (Judges 3:30)? What judge’s deliverance does Judges 3:31 summarize?
This, at first, seems like a potty room story. Between Eglon covering his feet in the cool room, Saul covering his feet in the cave, and Elijah suggesting that Baal may have gone aside to do the same in 1 Kings 18, we have the beginnings of a potty room theology of salvation. This potty room episode is particularly unmentionable: instead of something coming out of the entrails, by one swift and sneaky move, Ehud performs some lefthanded surgery on the Moabite king, and the entrails themselves come out. The Lord saves, even through the unmentionable parts of life.

That’s encouraging for me to know. Our house has some epic novels in it, and our life includes some dignified moments. But we also have a potty book for the one year old to be “inspired” by, and dignified time is dwarfed by the amount spent on the ramifications of that inspiration. It’s encouraging to know that the Lord’s constant, saving work occurs not just in moments on the top of the mountain but also in the continual slog down in the muck.

Add to this our growing list of interesting weapons. In this chapter we have a homemade, 18-inch, double-edged, concealed-carry dagger, and Shamgar’s ox-goad that would have been eight feet long with a handle on the wide end and a point at the other to show the ox that you meant business. And Judges will present us with several more odd tools of deliverance. But, here too, there is a point being made. The Lord saves by many or by few, by traditional weapons or unique conversation pieces. At the end of the day, it must ultimately be the Lord Himself who saves.

And, that’s the point of the passage, isn’t it? Yahweh is still being Yahweh who saves. Of course, Israel is still being Israel. Doing evil when they feel they can (Judges 3:12). Crying out when they’ve had enough (Judges 3:15). Still no mention of repentance. And they’ll still be being Israel in another 98 years when the Ehud saga is over (cf. Judges 4:1). It’s going to take something more than an Ehud or a Shamgar to bring any change there. The Judges period is serving its purpose in increasing the urgency of our appetite for Christ to be our Redeemer.

But, in the meantime, the Lord is still there. In every detail. Watching. Listening. Delivering. Preserving. Chastening. And also judging and destroying. He is the Lord. To those who don’t belong to Him, in dependence upon Christ and His sacrifice, that should be a terrifying thought. He will never take a break being the Lord who continually acts for the sake of His glory in Jesus. But to weary believers whose lives are more mucky potty room than fine china and ballrooms, it’s a precious reality. He is our Savior in all the tiniest details.
Is the Lord’s continual presence a threat to you or a comfort? In which parts of your life do you most need to remember that He is there watching? That He is there saving?
Suggested songs: ARP139B “Where Can I from Your Spirit Flee?” or TPH250 “I Sing the Almighty Power of God”

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