Scripture Read: Judges 3:31 After him came Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad; and he also saved Israel.
Application: I love Your Word Lord! In the midst of some pretty intense sections of scripture where many details are given and the descriptions of what takes place can be quite provocative, suddenly we have one verse thrown in that if we read scripture in a sloppy way, we will just pass by it. However, if we stop for a moment and consider some of the truth it brings we can find key applications in our own life. In the next chapter we will encounter one of the great hero’s of Israel’s history - Deborah! The story we just read of Ehud is very detailed and well known. Who is Shamgar and what kind of warrior uses an oxgoad as a weapon? There are several good lessons we can glean here. First, God is not looking for superstars, just people that want what He wants! How many of the world’s great saints are never known on this side of eternity? We think because a person is well known that makes them great. Years ago a young man named Austin Gallahar reached into a creek with a stick and saved his best friend from drowning, no one knows Austin, most people know his best friend - Abraham Lincoln! Telemachus was a monk that went to Rome and jumped into the gladiatorial ring and tried to stop the bloodshed. In the end he was killed, but the emperor was so impressed by what he saw, he ended the games forever! Even Hebrews makes this point:
Hebrews 11:32–38 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, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 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. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
All “nobodies” in the world’s eyes! Yet, in the eyes of our loving Creator, a very special child of His. He may choose to use us in a way that far exceeds our understanding in this temporal world.
Secondly, the weapon Shamgar used was not a weapon at all. An oxgoad is a long stick with a not so sharp point, used only to irritate an ox into moving. It is not sharpened in a way that would easliy hurt the animal, like a weapon would be. Still, the scripture does not state that Shamgar irritated 600 Philistines! He slew them. This should remind us that the battle the Lord calls us into is His, not ours! I don’t know if Shamgar was a great warrior or not, but logic would lead us to think no matter how good he was, the Philistines had superior weapons and at 600 to 1 odds, it would make sense that Shamgar was “toast”! The problem for the Philistines was they did not include God in the formula of their battle plans. When God calls someone to do something, all that person need to be concerned about is to be faithful to follow the Lord. Our God will be the One that brings all the necessary details together for the success of His plans. Far too many times we have the tendency of focusing on the seemingly impossible end and we become anxious. Instead, we need to keep our focus on the “end Maker” and just take one step at a time. When we meet Shamgar in eternity he will be able to share with us all the details our God brought together that allowed him to be used as a deliverer in Israel’s history. Just follow the Lord and leave the details to Him!
Meditation Questions: When you consider great saints of God, do you take time to consider all the names and lives that were never in the lime light. Do you believe God can use you to accomplish something great for eternity? Why? Why not? What does your answer show? What are the qualifications required to be used by God? What is the secret to having victory in every battle a Christian has? What does your answer show you?