Monday, June 02, 2008

Raised for Revival

After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.
(Judges 3:31 – ESV)

Judges were deliverers who were raised up when the people cried out from oppression (Judges 2:18). Shamgar followed Ehud, a great deliverer, who brought 80 years of overall peace, but from Judges 4:1 it appears that Shamgar was a regional deliverer during the time of Ehud. This is the first mention of the Philistines as troublesome neighbors of the Israelites, and they were in the Southwest region of Canaan, and this is about 1290 BC.

The people’s disobedience was the cause of the oppression of their enemies. Sin against God led to their defeat and the decline of their way of life. Because the oppression became so great, the people groaned under the weight of it, they cried out, and God raised up judges to deliver them once again. This was a cycle of defeat and deliverance throughout the times of the judges, after Joshua, and before the kings. They were defeated, it was as if their way of life was dead, and they needed a deliverer to bring revival and victory and restore their way of life again.

Shamgar used an oxgoad – This instrument is eight feet long and about six inches in circumference, with a sharp point at the end. Not really a weapon at all, but a device used to drive working animals. God used it through Shamgar to drive back the Philistines.

The people were impoverished; there were no swords (1 Samuel 13:19-23), no defenses, no power, no way out of their oppression. The enemy was so entrenched and fortified and bold that the people hid in the shadows for fear, traveling on back roads (Judges 5:6-8). The people were being oppressed and their land was being possessed.

Sin does that to us as Christians. We are either actively possessing the land of our souls for Christ, or the enemy is making inroads, setting up outposts which turn into strongholds. We will either drive the enemy out, or we will be driven back. The Puritan John Owen said, “be killing sin, or it will be killing you”. When we, through our disobedience and unbelief, allow the enemy to start invading our lives, our families, our churches, and our communities, then the people of God will be driven to hide in shame and helplessness. Their way of life seems dead, there is no power, they had lost their ability to resist the inroads of the enemy, and they need a revival. That is when God raises a deliverer.

Shamgar used the only resource he had but God made it enough. The only weapon He had was the instrument of his daily work. How often do we forget that our homes and our workplaces are a battleground and plowing field? Now we don’t attack people but we must be doing our work God’s way, shining as lights, being bold to live out the gospel, not mouthing off to people, but being excellent in our duties, faithful to be honest, helping others.

We need to be like Shamgar, working as unto the Lord, doing what we are supposed to be doing, not sinking back into the shadows because of our own disobedience, and letting the enemy of our souls make inroads into our way of life, dimming our shining light before the world. The rest of the world is defeated; as Christians we can’t afford to let the only light they may have be drowned out by our own disobedience. When the world is darkest and there is no hope that is when God’s people can shine the brightest, and when deliverers are raised up, to show God’s people that they are still free and others that God is still setting men free.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


MrsEvenSo... said...

Thanks for the reminder. When life seems to be dragging us into despair we sometimes allow our flesh to take over and tend to dwell on the hopelessness of the situation. God is able and capable to use any means necessary to achieve the results He wants. We just need to stand firm on the Solid Rock of our salvation and be willing to produce fruitfulness no matter the cost. After all, giving Him glory is what it's all about.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,.......

Hallelujah! Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Now that's shouting ground!

Even So... said...

That was well said, honey...

Jim said...

Good post JD, I think that is a really fair analogy from the book of Judges.

The battle is truly in our souls.

Even So... said...

Indeed, Jim...