Judge Shamgar

Judges 3:31

31 After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He too saved Israel.

Introduction

We have been instructed to pray and wait for God’s answer. The Lord Jesus teaches in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Even before we say our prayers, the Lord knows already what we will be asking.

The challenge of praying is the uncertainty of God’s answer. Does God agree with our prayer request or not? We can hope that anything we ask in the name of Jesus, He will give. However, if we ask something for our pleasure, would God give it?

When Jesus said, “Ask, seek, knock,” it teaches a progressive approach of prayer. To ask requires speaking. To seek involves some sort of deeper understanding of prayer items and may require seeing. To knock includes some sort of action and not simply waiting or sitting in the corner doing nothing but may even use hands, ey?

So, what should we do while waiting for the answer to our prayer?

When King David had secured his kingdom, he planned on building a temple for God. So, he shared his plan to Prophet Nathan. It says in 2 Samuel 7:3, 3Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

But the Lord revealed to Prophet Nathan that Solomon and not King David will be the one to build the temple. Prophet Nathan told King David about the revelation of God. So, what did David do? He prepared the materials needed for building the temple.

How does God choose someone for a particular project? God has called us for a particular ministry, and when are empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will know very clearly which action plan to take. God’s plan is not complicated. Humans ignore it because of its simplicity. With Christ in us, ordinary things bring glory to God.

Shamgar saved Israel when he struck down 600 Philistines. It wasn’t mentioned if the Israelites did wicked thing before God. The Philistines may have attacked Israel to establish authority. Usually, before God raises a leader, the Israelites had gone back to their old wicked ways, then, God allows invaders to make their life difficult.

When the Philistines attacked the Israelites, we can only assume that the Spirit of God was with Shamgar when he stuck down their enemies.

1. Strike

31 After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He too saved Israel.

What lesson we may learn from this short verse about Shamgar’s heroic exploit?

It seems like Shamgar saved the Israelites at one time battle against the Phillistines.

Just imagine… When the Philistines tried to invade the Israelites, did Shamgar lead the Israelites when he struck down 600 Philistines? Or, did he act on his own alone when he saved Israel using an ox goad as weapon? It’s not clear. So, it’s open to interpretation.

What is an ox goad, and what does it imply about Shamgar? An ox goad is a pointed stick used to drive, guide, or redirect cattle. For shepherds, they use staff to guide their sheep. For farmers or cattle ranchers they use ox goad to guide their cattle.

When the Philistines attacked, it is possible that Shamgar was in his farm or maybe guiding his cattle to pastureland. Using a pointed stick or ox goad to strike their enemies suggests that Shamgar did not waste time going home or preparing for battle. With ox goad he had in his hand, he killed 600 Philistines. He saved himself and the Israelites.

Perhaps, Shamgar was a farmer or a cattle herder. He may have been working in his farm as farmers normally do. But when an opportunity came to save his people, he did not hesitate to use whatever he had in his hand. He did not need extra training for that moment. Did God place him in that particular position for his heroism?

Mordecai

When God present an opportunity, be ready to respond. It says in Esther 2:21-23:

21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.  23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.

In Esther 10:3, Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.

Mordecai saved not just the king but also his people. What does it teaches us?

God has placed us in the right situation for His glory. Our situation, the life we have is strategically designed for us to experience more of God’s grace. And as we live o lifestyle pleasing to Him, God allows us to participate in His wonderful work around us.

It was not stated if Shamgar was an expert soldier or just a simple farmer.

Training or experience can be beneficial but Shamgar saved Israel by God’s power.

2. Save

31 After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He too saved Israel.

         The phrase “He too saved Israel,” implies that Shamgar had been considered hero of Israel like Judge Ehud. Shamgar did not come from a prominent family. His father Anath may have been prominent at some point. His tribe or clan was not mentioned which suggest his clan was not significant among the Israelites.

Nevertheless, the heroic victory of Shamgar against the Philistines included him to be one of those leaders that God has raised to save the Israelites from their enemies.

God does not ask for suggestion or recommendation. He chooses anyone He deems suitable for His purposes. God has unlimited creative ideas how to make thing effective. We may apply in our life some godly principles that God often use, but His ways can never be completely understood or predicted by human expertise.

The Pilot

While sailing aboard an Alexandrian ship, Paul warned about a storm. It stated in Acts 27:10-15, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest. 13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.

If you were the centurion, would you abide with the advice of the ship pilot and the owner of the ship? For sure! It wasn’t their first time traveling that route. They were grain traders from Alexandria, Egypt. They shipped grains to Rome regularly. So, they became familiar to the weather condition anytime of the year.

Nonetheless, it was far different at that time because Paul was with them. And, God used that moment to reveal Himself not only to those who traveled with Paul but for future readers of Paul’s missionary journey.

Most of the times, we may predict what’s next when we do the usual same thing at the same place and the same time. For instance: You go to the same place of work, at the same hour, the same routine, and expect of course, the same outcome. Right?

Do you find it boring to do the same chores daily?

Would you expect God to use your usual routine to save someone along the way?

Maybe, your boss or officemate is observing you, your consistency, outlook in life, how you face personal problems or situations around the world.

Like Shamgar, we don’t need to rely upon special instrument to accomplish what God wants us to do at the moment. Whatever situation God presents before us, all we need to do is to rely upon the empowerment of the Spirit of Christ to be effective.

King David recorded His perception of God in Psalm 20:7, 7Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

King David was victorious over his enemies not because he had great soldiers but because he confessed that they trusted in the name of the Lord.

Keep praying that we may grow in our faith like the faith of King David, and that we trust the Lord more to accomplish His purposes in and through us. Amen!?

Learn for Shamgar. Ox goad was enough for his heroic victory. God has provided what we need to have a victorious lifestyle pleasing to Him. Amen?!

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