JUDGES 3

4 Outlines

 

Judges 3

GOD'S VOLUNTEERS

 

Have you ever noticed how much community work is done by volunteers? (Use examples familiar to your congregation.)

Much of the work in our church is done by volunteers. (Use examples from your congregation.)

 

Just as community organizations and churches actively seek volunteers, God also recruits volunteers willing to serve Him at His request.  Judges 3 tells of  three judges (leaders) who were God's volunteers. Each one was different.

 

OTHNIEL - THE REUSABLE JUDGE Vss. 8-11

 

Many people hit a certain age and think that their work is done for the Lord.  They often "retire" without the Lord ever telling them to retire.

There are others, however, who are reusable.  They've been used by God in the past, but keep on volunteering until they are no longer able.

Othniel had been used by the Lord earlier (Judges 1:9-15), and he was used again, as mentioned in this passage.

 

EHUD - THE REFLECTIVE JUDGE Vss. 12-30

 

Serving the Lord often takes thought. Often, there needs to be a God-directed plan in order to get the job done.  Ehud thought through a plan that used his job of delivering money to the king, his being left handed, his locking some doors, and calling together Israel to fight.

It was a successful plan because God was in it, and it was a well thought plan.

 

SHAMGAR - THE RESOURCEFUL JUDGE Vs. 31

 

Shamgar's name is only mentioned twice in the Bible, but he teaches us an important lesson. We should use what we have in order to volunteer for God's service. Shamgar used an ox goad, an instrument used to prod oxen, in order to defeat 600 Philistines, and deliver Israel.

God expects us to use what we have in order to serve Him.

 

 

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Judges 3:1-11

DELIVERANCE FROM BONDAGE

 

ISRAEL'S TEST - Vss. 1-4

Because of Israel's disobedience (Judges 2:1-4) enemies were left in the land to test Israel.

 

ISRAEL'S TRESPASS - Vss. 5-7

She flunked the test by intermarrying and worshiping false God's

 

ISRAEL'S TRAP - Vs. 8

She was placed in bondage.

 

ISRAEL'S TURN (To the Lord) - Vss. 9a

They cried out to God for help.

 

ISRAEL'S TRIUMPH - Vss. 9b-11

Through Othniel the enemy was defeated.

 

 

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Judges 3:7-11

WHEN THE SPIRIT WORKS

 

Have you ever watched a craftsman at work? It's fun to watch someone who has a specific skill perform his skill well.

 

A friend of mine named Dan took a couple of old doors, and transformed them back to life.  He also took an old chair and restored into something beautiful.

 

Ed, another friend of mine, can take a dirty old wooden floor, sand it down, put materials on it, and turn it into a beautiful, shiny wooden floor.

 

Glass blowers can make beautiful vases, bottles, and other things simply by blowing into hot glass.

 

Have you ever thought of God as a craftsman?  He takes a crusty old sinner and turns him into a trophy of God's grace.  And the Spirit of God, who entered your life the moment you were saved, is also a craftsman. He is inside your life to produce learning, power, peace, fruit, and a host of other things.  As the Spirit works, using us as the natural resources, He produces a masterpiece of mature Christianity. That is, if we cooperate.

 

The Book of Judges covers a dark time in the history of Israel. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.  Most of the time Israel lived in apostasy, away from God. But God would raise up judges, military and civil leaders who would be used of God to deliver Israel. Judges 2:11-23, 17:6

 

We want to examine a brief account of the career of the first judge, Othniel. Othniel was either a nephew or brother of Caleb. He had already distinguished himself as a military hero, winning the hand of daughter by conquering a city (Judges 1:12-13).  Othniel's work is summed up in our text.

 

The most important characteristic of Othniel's life was that "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him".

God's Spirit, craftsman that He is, produced a wonderful masterpiece in the life of Othniel.

 

Using Othniel as an example, I want us to see what happens when the Spirit of God works. The Spirit hasn't changed. If He produced a masterpiece in Othniel, he can inside of us as well. There are five things that will happen when the Spirit of God works.

 

1. THERE IS A PERSON - Vs. 9

It was a dark time - Talk about verses 1-7.

In answer to prayer God raised up Othniel as a deliver.

God's Holy Spirit works through people.  Therefore there needs to be a person available whom the Spirit of God can use. 1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 8:9,14,16

The Spirit of God worked inside of Othniel, but the verses listed above make it obvious that the Spirit wants to work inside of every Christian.

 

Othniel was obviously available. We must make ourselves available to the control of the Spirit of God. We are available when we do not grieve nor quench the Spirit. Ephesians 4:30-32,

1 Thessalonians 5:19

 

2. THERE IS CONTROL - Vs. 10

We do not know exactly what Othniel did to defeat the enemy, but we do know that God's Spirit controlled him. If you are going to defeat the enemies of God, and be used of God, you must be under the control of the Holy Spirit! Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:16

 

3. THERE IS LEADERSHIP - Vs. 10

It says that "He judged Israel, and went out to war." He led the people.

When you are controlled by the Holy Spirit there will be times when the Spirit will lead you to take charge of a situation. God might call upon you to talk to a sinning brother or sister, or invite a person to church or teach a Sunday School class, or work on the building or serve on the board. Even when not in charge, we should lead by example. Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Timothy 4:12

 

4. THERE IS DELIVERANCE - Vs. 10

The enemy was defeated, and Israel was defeated from bondage.

The Spirit of God is in your life to deliver you from the bondage of sin. Romans 6:14

The Spirit of God is in your life to help others be delivered from sin. Acts 1:8, Hebrews 3:11-12, 10:25

 

5. THERE IS REST - Vs. 11

There was rest for almost 40 years because of the Spirit working upon Othniel.

We are promised rest as the Spirit of God works inside of us. John 14:16-17, 26-27

 

 

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Judges 3:12-20

LIMITED ABILITY, UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES

 

If you use this message in a prayer meeting, Sunday School class, or evening service, you might want to begin by asking these two questions:

 

"There is at least one thing you do well. What is it?"

"There is at least one thing you don't do well. What is it?"

 

In this passage of Scripture we meet Ehud, a man who was probably handicapped. Although he had limited ability, because God controlled his life, he had unlimited possibilities for usefulness.

 

Othniel, the last judge, had passed away (Vs. 11).  Israel went back to sinning against God (Vs. 12).

Eglon and his helpers were allowed by God to dominate Israel and Israel served him for 18 years (Vss. 12-14).

 

Israel cried out to God for help (Vs. 15)

 

Because God was in control of Ehud's life:

 

HE WAS ASSIGNED - Vs. 15

God raised up a deliverer. He assigned Ehud to the task.  God does not always assign the most obvious person to a task.  Ehud had a problem.  In a right-handed world, he was left-handed. Although we can not be certain, there is evidence that Ehud had little or no use of his right hand.

The phrase left-handed can be translated 'handicapped in the right hand.'

There is encouragement here for you and I. When God makes it obvious that He wants us to do something, we look at our limitations or "handicaps."  We think that God surely find someone better for the job. However God has a way of using those who just may not appear to be as talented or skilled as others (Zechariah 4:6, 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, 2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

HE WAS AVAILABLE

We have no record that Ehud ever thought of doing other than what God called Him to do.

He could have used his handicap as an excuse, but didn't. When God calls us we can find all sorts of excuses, but shouldn't! God is looking for men and women who are available (Ezekiel 22:30, Isaiah 6:8, Romans 12:1).

 

HE WAS ALERT - Vss. 16-26

God guided Ehud to devise a plan. A great plan it was. It even took advantage of his handicap.

When we are called upon to serve the Lord, our plans should be as well thought out and prayed over as these apparently were (Ephesians 5:15-17).

 

HE WAS AGRESSIVE  - Vss. 27-30

Ehud put quite a thrust into the belly of Eglon.

Then he took leadership responsibilities.

The fords were guarded. Nobody was allowed to escape.

 

Jesus told us to be "...wise as serpents, and harmless as doves"(Matthew 10:16).

If we are wise we will take initiative. We will be involved. We will often be zealous.

 

 

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