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The Days Of The Judges (2): Ehud And Shamgar

Frank Wallace

A Summary of the Times of the Judges

When the leaders in Israel died, the people lost heart, they disobeyed, and in following after other gods they incurred the wrath of God against them. God in His mercy raised up deliverers to be a help to the nation. Othniel was the first saviour, or judge, or deliverer, whom God raised up for the benefit of His people, but after he died the same thing happened as before, the people went into disobedience and followed after other gods. We find in Judges chapter 3 that the nation was under bondage to the king of Moab for eighteen years (v.14). This was not directly because the king of Moab was a courageous man and vanquished the nation of Israel, the real cause was the failure and disobedience of the people of Israel. No nation would have been able to stand against them if they had remained faithful to the word of God; but because Israel was unfaithful then they came under bondage in different ways.

Application of These Old Testament Passages to Ourselves

In applying these Old Testament Scriptures to ourselves today, there is a vast difference between the blessing that the people had in that day and the blessing that we have today; that is, we are not under law, we do not attempt to keep the law in order to get blessing from God, we are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ on the ground of sovereign mercy, our blessings are eternal, secure in Christ, and will never be taken from us. But the blessings in Israel's day were consequent upon their believing God and being obedient to His law, and of course when they failed in that they forfeited their blessings. However, in the Old Testament and in the New Testament there are similar features, and obedience is one of them. The nation of Israel was responsible to be obedient and Christians are responsible to be obedient; there is the government of God consequent upon failure equally true in all days. So there are various other things that we must take account of that are common to the days in which we live and to the days of Israel. Blessings are consequent upon obedience, and chastisement is consequent upon disobedience. These things must be kept in mind to understand the application of these passages to ourselves.

The Oppressors : the Moabites

"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. And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees. So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years."   (Jud.3:12-14)

First of all, the oppressors came from Moab. We learn from many passages who Moab was and of his descendants. He had a very sad beginning. Moab, the son of Lot, was born as a result of a sinful act (Gen.19:30-38) and all down through the history of his descendants there was the exhibition of the same kind of evil features in opposition to God.

In Numbers 22 Balak the king of Moab hired Balaam, the false prophet, to curse the people of God. There Balak was being true to his parentage, he was being true to that evil beginning, he was exhibiting those evil features of opposition to God and to God's people. When we come to Numbers 25 we find that the daughters of Moab were a snare to the sons of Israel and through fornication and idolatry they brought terrible sin and it's evil consequences into the nation of Israel. They, too, were true to their parentage. We find that God gave a very definite commandment against Moab; in Deuteronomy 23:3 God says that a Moabite or an Ammonite was not to come into the congregation of the Lord for ever, this was God's command against the Moabites.

In Isaiah 16 we find God describing the characteristics of Moab that merited judgment, He said Moab was arrogant, proud and wrathful (v.6). There were three evil features connected with the Moabites. In Judges chapter 3 the king of the Moabites represents all these evil features, and it would seem that in our application of them to ourselves it would mean that if we, as Christians, become disobedient to God's word there is a danger that we will be overcome by these features that are set forth in the king of Moab; we will become arrogant, proud, wrathful, evil, independent of God and morally we will lose our place amongst the people of God for any effective testimony. This then is seeking to apply what the king of Moab stands for.

Moab could easily have claimed kinship with Israel - Abraham and Lot were relatives and Abraham saved Lot out of his position in Sodom, but there the likeness ceased. All the sons of Abraham on the line of faith, beginning with Isaac miraculously born to him, were men of faith and men of power to God. Lot's posterity, Moab and Ammon, were the inveterate enemies of Israel and they proved it in every moment of Israel's testimony, they were always against the people of God. Moab could easily have said, 'We are relatives of yours, we have the same ties, we are in the same position in a certain sense, we ought to be together and help each other'. They have claimed to be sons of Abraham down through the ages and right up to the present moment, but we shall see that there is a very great divergence between those who are fully of Abraham, children of faith, and those who are of Moab, the enemies of God's interests.

Looking at the companions that Moab had, we see Ammon and Amalek, two other enemies of Israel; there are no friends of Israel in Moab's company, they are all enemies. But we have already said that God said that neither a Moabite nor an Ammonite was to come into the congregation of the Lord for ever, this was God's command against them. Amalek was against the throne of God, they were arrogant and possessive and God said that there was to be war against them right to the end. Here is this very formidable confederacy against the nation of Israel, Ammon, Moab and Amalek. How was this going to be met? Bondage to any one of them was a great concern, but during the eighteen years it does not appear that anyone attempted to relieve the bondage. No-one had the courage, no-one had the resourcefulness, but God in mercy raised up one who was able to do something about this bondage in the person of Ehud.

The Person of Eglon - the King of Moab

 "Eglon {king of Moab} was a very fat man."   (Jud.3:17) 

Let us look first at Eglon. He represents a man who is perfectly satisfied with his surroundings, what is natural, pleasing and what is advantageous to him. Scripture says he was a very fat man, and this has to be recognised in various other parts of Scripture as representing a poor condition before God, a condition that usually ends in independence and failure. We can look at it naturally as saying he was not a man given to physical exercise, he was not a man who was full of energy and vitality, but rather a man who was enjoying all that there was of the world before him, and consequently, he was in this bloated condition that indicated a physical condition that was not good. This is the natural position, but it has a spiritual import.

In Deuteronomy 32:15 God said, "But Jeshurin (meaning 'the righteous people') waxed fat, and kicked..... then he forsook God who made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation". What it simply means is that once the nation got all the blessings that God gave to them, once they entered into the land they had the vineyards, the cornfields, the minerals, the supplies of water. After they had everything that God gave them in His sovereign grace and mercy, they forgot Him. They forgot the One who had given them all these blessings and they lightly esteemed the God of their salvation. Was it possible that they could ever forget the bondage of Egypt? Could they ever forget the miracle of the Red Sea? Could they ever forget the wonder of crossing the Jordan, the destruction of Jericho, all the other blessings? Could they forget these things? Indeed they did. They forgot God, and they lightly esteemed the Rock of their salvation. This is the kind of condition that Eglon represents in his bloated condition before God.

There is a New Testament parallel of this in the Lord's words to the Laodicean church in Rev.3:14-22, which the Lord condemns. The Laodiceans said, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing" (v.17), but the Lord, in passing judgment, said their condition was independent and self-satisfied, they were enjoying all that they had, they were an assembly gathered out to the name of the Lord but the Lord was outside, He was not there. They had forgotten all the wonderful things that God had done for them, they had forgotten all the blessings that they had received. What a condition to be in, and what an indictment against any company of Christians. This condition of Eglon represents this kind of thing. He was a tyrant, ruling over the children of Israel, and he had to be dealt with if the nation was to get liberty, so the Lord in His sovereign mercy raised up Ehud.

The Person of Ehud, the Second Judge

 "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. 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."   (Jud.3:15-16)

 It is sometimes dangerous to apply spiritually the meaning of names, as sometimes different expositors and translators give different meanings to names, but one that has been suggested in connection with Ehud is 'confessor'. Confession in the New Testament means 'a person with an inward conviction', it is not simply saying we give our mental ascent to a thing, saying, 'I agree with it' without ever giving any serious thought to the matter, whatever it might be. Ehud was a confessor, he was a man with an inward conviction, and we have not the slightest doubt that when the Lord raised this man up, he did not just say 'I am going to give you immense power to deal with this enemy', but instead God worked in Ehud's heart and conscience and produced in him a conviction that he was going to lead the people of God, and that it was a just and righteous cause, so that he was not only leading the people because of the position that God gave to him, but he was doing it because he believed in it.

What a wonderful thing this is when we come to the New Testament. Luke wrote concerning "those things which are most surely believed among us" (Luke 1:1). This is the evidence of an inward conviction. It is not that we have read the matter up well and know all it's terms, but there is an inward conviction of conscience and heart that tells us these things are true and that they are worth fighting for and holding on to. We are inwardly convicted that these things are right. Paul wrote to Timothy reminding him of the things he was fully persuaded of (2 Tim.3:14), the things that he really knew and was persuaded were true. This is a wonderful position to be in. The battle is lost if we feel in our minds that the things we are fighting for are not worth it, if we have no conviction, and consequently find it easy to give up. But people with inward convictions about certain matters will hold onto these things and will fight for them and will maintain them. This is something that we do need in a very, very real way. For example, has the way we meet together as believers just happened by accident? Is it casual, is it the result of our leaders adopting this position and we just falling into their way of gathering together? Is this how we view our coming together in the way we do? If it is, sooner or later we will give it up, but if we are inwardly convicted and persuaded that what we do, however weak and feeble that it might be, is right according to the word of God, then we are going to hold onto it at all costs, and we are not going to allow anyone to steal it from us, or persuade us to give it up; we are convicted inwardly that it is right.

This matter of confession can be examined in 1 Timothy 6, where Paul exhorts Timothy to confess a good confession, but which was first of all demonstrated perfectly in the Lord Jesus Himself "who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession" (v.13). What an exhibition of dignity the Lord Jesus gave in the presence of His enemies, humble subject Man that He was, and what grace and dignified demeanour He expressed. This is the kind of thing that Paul desired for Timothy, he said, 'You follow that example, you be like the Lord', and of course, no-one could say about the Lord that He was not convinced that what He was doing was right. He knew that He was doing the will of God, and nothing would turn Him aside. 'Now', says Paul to Timothy, 'You have that kind of conviction, and you have that kind of life, you witness a good confession too'. This is the first thing about Ehud; he was a man of conviction.

Secondly, he was a Benjamite. This represents several things. Firstly it represented a pure line of descent, he was a son of Jacob, he was not of the line of Lot, Moab or Ammon, he was connected with the line of faith and the line of God's purpose. He could trace his descent backwards right to Benjamin, the son of Jacob, a member of that favoured family. This is a very wonderful thing to be able to do and it was a great source of power to him.

There are two things to be said about the name Benjamin. When he was born, his mother, as she died, gave him his name 'Ben-oni', that is, 'son of my sorrow', but Jacob changed his name to 'Ben-jamin', 'son of my right hand' (Gen.35:18). In Psalm 68 we find that the Spirit of the Lord refers to Benjamin as "little Benjamin" (v.27), this was because he was the smallest tribe. It is important to keep these two names in mind, 'Son of my right hand', a place of power, and "little Benjamin", the place of weakness. How can these two opposites be brought together, a place of power and a place of weakness? They are absolutely essential for any servant of the Lord who wants to be faithful in his testimony, he needs a sense of his own weakness, and a sense of the power of God that can operate in that weakness.

This can be illustrated in the life of Saul, the first king of Israel. Samuel the prophet said to him "When thou wast little in thine own sight....." (1 Sam.15:17) in referring to the time when Saul, in this state of mind, did valiant things for the Lord. He was a mighty warrior, but then he got proud and disobeyed God and lost his strength and courage. When he was little he experienced the power of God operating through him.

Another Benjamite was the New Testament Saul, and these two things are combined. He said he was "less than the least of all saints" (Eph.3:8) he was always prepared to take a low place, he was able to say, "when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor.12:10). There were mighty acts of the Spirit done through this man in his humility, through his lowliness of mind, and in his willingness to take that low place. How humble the apostle was, how like his Master, how entirely without the pride and arrogance of the Pharisees, who displayed the characteristics of the Moabites. He was truly 'a little Benjamite', he was one who exhibited the features that are so pleasing to the Lord, "Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord of hosts" (Zech.4:6), and this principle is found all through the Bible. It was found in Ehud in the place that he took. The low place of humility and the sense of one's own weakness and inability is the real secret of the Spirit of the Lord operating for God's glory. So Ehud was a real Benjamite, one who knew something about being weak and unable, and yet also, as we shall see, he experienced something of the power of the Lord.

The Work of Ehud in Delivering the Nation

"And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: ...... And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present. 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. And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat. And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: 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. Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them. When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlour were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber. And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth. And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath. 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. 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. And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years."   (Jud.3:17-30)

We might feel as we read this narrative what a cruel, violent and deceitful thing Ehud did. Is this the kind of thing God commends, that a man should make himself a dagger (or a 'two edged sword') and use it against this seemingly defenceless man? Is this the kind of thing that God approves of? The first thing we have to remember is, what kind of man was he? He was the determined enemy of God. He was subjugating the people of God. There was no worship, there was no response to God as long as this man was in control, and he had to be dealt with, and in a very definite way. 'Oh', we might say, 'this is not the spirit of Christianity'; but we must be careful before saying this. The Lord said, "So hast thou them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate" (Rev.2:15), and is this not the language of Christianity? "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26) and "mortify (kill) the deeds of the body" (Rom.8:13) are similar passages. This applies to us personally. It may not be dealing with people violently, it is not killing people, but the principle of ruthlessness in relation to that which is against God still applies to us today.

There is no love to be shown to Moab, not the slightest. God has declared him to be an enemy, and an enemy must be dealt with with the utmost ruthlessness. So it is with us who are Christians. Paul says that he wished that those who were opposing the Galatians were accursed (Gal.1:8-9). Oh, we may say, this is not the spirit of Christianity, but this is what Paul says, and Paul was the greatest exponent of Christianity, and he states very definitely that he wished those who opposed the truth and led the people of God astray accursed, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha [accursed until the Lord comes]" (1 Cor.16:22). This is ruthless language, very stern language, but along with this goes the grace, kindness and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to those who are in need.

Christians should always be ready to show help and sympathy to those who require it; but there should also be that determination to oppose anything that is contrary to the claims of Christ. This is seen in John's epistle when he says to the elder lady, 'If those professing the name of Christ do not come with the truth, if they come with another gospel, a perversion of the truth, do not show them the slightest courtesy or hospitality, do not let them into your home, do not even bid them God speed or you will become a partaker of their evil deeds' (2 John 7-11). These are very stern words, not our own words, they are the words of Scripture, and all through the New Testament we will find this very stern and ruthless teaching in relation to evil in ourselves, or in other people, or wherever it is found.

It says of the Lord Jesus that He "loved righteousness, and hated iniquity" (Heb.1:9). It is very difficult for us to hate as Christians, and hate in a righteous spiritual matter. The Lord could hate as perfectly as He loved. He loved with perfection, and He hated with perfection. It is often very difficult for us to do this, because of some personal matter involved that may arouse our hatred and our anger, but the Lord Jesus hated things because they were in opposition to His God and we also have to have those features. In the Proverbs there are seven things the Lord hates: "These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren" (Prov.6:16-19). God expects His people to hate them too, and to make sure that first of all they are eradicated from our own lives, and to make sure that we do not give any permissiveness in relation to them in others.

So Ehud had a two edged sword, and it is to the New Testament that we turn to interpret this. In relation to the Lord Jesus' place amongst the assemblies, it says, "out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword" (Rev.1:16). This is the application of the Word of God in exposing and condemning, and also encouraging the things that He finds amongst His people. Also in Rev.19:15 it says ,"Out of His mouth goes forth a sharp two-edged sword, that with it he should smite the [Gentile] nations", the opponents of Israel at the end of the time of tribulation. Turning to Heb.4:12 we find that "the Word of God is..... sharper than any two-edged sword"; we also read in Eph.6:17 that we are to take "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God". For Ehud it meant literally using this violent weapon to overcome this enemy of Israel; for us it means the application of the Word of God to everything that we know is opposing God. Dear brethren, it is the best weapon we have, we can use all sorts of considerations in dealing with those who oppose God, but the best thing to do is to quote the appropriate part of the Word of God that deals with the matter in question. This is always the means that God uses to overcome the enemies of the truth.

Martin Luther, John Wesley, William Tyndale, John Wycliffe and many others all used the Word of God effectively to deal with the problems of their day. It has been well said, that in using this two-edged sword, we begin by using one edge against ourselves, and then we can use the other edge against other persons or principles. This is very good advice. If we can overcome evil in ourselves, we have every right to attempt to overcome it in others; but if we have not begun to deal with the problems in our own lives, we have no moral authority in trying to deal with it in others or elsewhere. The application of the Word of God to ourselves is an extremely important matter; Paul used it to great effect in His arguments; Apollos used it, being mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24), and he reasoned that Jesus was the Christ; the Lord Himself did it dealing with Satan (Matt.4:4, 7, 10); all said, "It is written.....". And down through the ages in the Christian testimony, again and again it has been the same, the effectiveness of one's testimony in dealing with that which opposes God is to be found in the ability to handle the Word of God correctly. So in '2 Timothy days', when there is so much opposition to God, we are reminded that every word of God is inspired and is profitable for the man of God for all things (2 Tim.3:16-17).

There is another thing that Ehud had that has some meaning for us today. First of all he was a confessor, secondly he was a member of a famous tribe and showed the proper feature connected with it, thirdly he had a sword and he used it effectively, and then after he dealt with this enemy he blew a trumpet, he gave a clear note. This is what Paul says in 1 Cor.14:8, "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" This is what Ehud did, he blew the trumpet, he assembled the people, he asked them to follow him, which they did, and a great victory was secured. There is a crying need for this kind of ministry today, a ministry which strikes a clear note as to certain conditions that prevail. Paul did not beat about the bush, he did not say ambiguous things that might be interpreted according to the wish of the people. If there were things that were wrong, he spoke out clearly and distinctly, he named the things so that people could take account of them and adjust themselves in the light of God. We read in the epistle to the Corinthians again and again, Paul naming the things that were wrong, he did not make statements that might be misunderstood, he spoke plainly about the things he understood were wrong; and of course as the people applied themselves to that they adjusted themselves in the light of God, and triumphed, and blessings were secured.

So Ehud blew the trumpet, he assembled the people, and he said, "Follow after me" (v.28). What right had he to say that? Morally he had the right because he himself had showed courage in entering into the very presence of the leader of the enslaving enemy, and he, by his personal courage and energy, had killed the king. Now he was asking the people to follow him. Had Paul any right to say to the people, "Be ye followers of me"? (1 Cor.11:1) Certainly he had, because he went on to say ".....even as I also am [a follower] of Christ". He had the moral right to say to the people of God ,"Follow after me". Only in the measure that we ourselves have been successful in combating evil, will we be able to induce others to follow us. Oh, how we would desire to be like Ehud in this respect, to be able to encourage the people of God to walk in this pathway of overcoming. He was very, very successful "the Lord hath delivered your enemies, the Moabites, into your hands" (v.28).

The end of the chapter tells us that for eighty years the nation had rest. What a wonderful blessing. It did not begin very auspiciously, one man being raised up, but because of his courage, his energy, his ability and his initiative, the victory was secured, and the people of Israel had rest for eighty years.

The Person of Shamgar, the Third Judge

"And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel."   (Jud.3:31)

If we read the book of Judges carefully, we will find that those who fought for God used many unorthodox methods. Shamgar is seen fighting with an ox goad (3:31); Ehud was left handed (3:15) - this was a characteristic of the tribe of Benjamin, for later on we find seven hundred Benjamites who were described as being left handed (20:16), an unusual thing. Ehud was out of the ordinary as being left handed; in a sense he was abnormal. We find also that Shamgar fought with an ox goad, and he killed six hundred Philistines with it. This was quite an achievement, and it has a meaning for us. The Philistines never showed any kindness to the people of God. This is seen in the books of Samuel, when David overcame firstly Goliath, and then the nation itself. David was another man who had a moral right to lead the people of God because of His success with Goliath. The Philistines occupied territory that they had no right to, it belonged to Israel. They had wandered into the territory and acquired it, and wanted to hold onto it. The Philistines represent the people who make a profession of Christianity, just like the Moabites in their kinship with Israel, but they had no living link with God. They were professors only, like those who the gospel describes as saying, "Lord , lord," and yet the Lord has to say, "I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt.7:22-23). This will never happen to any true believer in Christ. If we are sheltered with His blood then we are sheltered for time and for eternity, there will be no refusal for those who have accepted Christ as Saviour and Lord; but what an awful position for the professor, without any life, without any cleansing from guilt, to take the position of a Christian, to be baptised, to have the place in testimony as a Christian, and to have no life or knowledge of salvation. The Philistines represent this kind of person, they are in a position but without the possession of life and blessing from God.

So how did Shamgar deal with them? Again, by using the Word of God. Is there anything in the New Testament to show that this is what it means? Yes, there is. When Saul of Tarsus was arrested on the Damascus road, the Lord said, "Saul, Saul..... it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks" (Acts 9:4-5). What the Lord was saying to him was, 'Saul, the Word of God has continually been brought to bear on your conscience, and you have rejected it. It is like a prick or a goad (an ox goad, if you like), continually pricking into your side reminding you that you are not right with God, and you are refusing those directions, and it is hard because you are not coming into blessing, you have not got liberty or joy, simply because you are not being obedient'. Saul of Tarsus bowed that day, and said, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (v.6), and he followed the Lord ever after.

When I was in Israel some years ago, I saw an Arab ploughing with an ox and an ass, an unequal yoke, and the evidence of this statement was there before me. The Arab had a long pole in his hand, eight or nine feet long, and on the end was a sharp piece of metal. The animals did not move out of the straight and narrow way, but if they had they would have received a prod in their side with the sharp instrument. That would have been extremely sore and would have reminded them that they were not doing what the ploughman wanted them to do, and it would get them to return to the straight way. The more they sought their own will, the more prods they got with the goad; and the more they wanted their own way, the more painful the process. This is the illustration that the Lord was using with Saul of Tarsus. Thank God he bowed, and he had no more of those painful pricks.

We turn to Acts 2, and there were many people who believed the word that was preached. They received the forgiveness of their sins, and they were brought into joy, peace and liberty; but there were many more that refused, and in a sense, they were slain by the Word of God. If they did not eventually trust Christ they would die and a day would come when they would be judged because of their refusal to accept Christ as Saviour. We find in Acts 7 again a company of people who were presented with the word of God, and they refused it; and because they refused it, they lost the opportunity of blessing. All through the Acts of the Apostles the same story is told, people heard the word, some believed it and received blessing, and others refused the word and were 'slain', not physically slain, but were brought under judgment because of their refusal to bow to the word of God. The truth either brings repentance or resentment, and those who resent the truth of the word of God being brought to bear upon their conscience and answering to it are morally slain before God, they have missed their opportunity and they are judged because they have refused that word. It is wise for us that when we hear the word of God pricking our conscience we obey it, we do not kick but accept what God has to say to us, and we openly accept it whether we be unconverted or converted, and get the blessing that it brings.

Ehud with a sword and Shamgar with an ox goad, would represent for us the same principles, the application of the word of God against everything that is contrary to His mind. It was true in those days, and how much more in our day, when, in a spiritual sense, we need to wield the word of God as a sword, we need to use it to reach people's consciences, and if we do this effectively, we will acquire power and we will do something worthwhile for God in testimony for His pleasure and glory.

Let us remember the demeanour, the power and the ability of the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of His enemies in using the word of God. This is the perfect example for us in our day. May we be like Him, hate as He hated, love as He loved, and be like Him in all our ways.