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“I have a secret message for you” 

God works in mysterious and wonderful ways, as seen in the victories of the Judges

Judges 3.5–31

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • December 1, In the year of our Lord, 2013


  1. Some people question why God used certain people, but 
    1. God does not glorify men and women into something that they are not.
    2. He does use people who love Him and their brethren.
    3. The Book of Judges shows heroes who were men and women as we are.
  2. If God could use them to do heroic things, 
    1. can He use us?
    2. Yes, He can, and yes, He does!


  1. Judges 3.5–8 – Inter-Spiritual Marriage

    5 Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 6 And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods. 7 So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs (Jdg 3.5–7).

    1. Believers in Jehovah God intermarried with believers in Baal.
      1. The problem was not interracial marriage, but
      2. inter-spiritual marriage.
        1. Israel did not learn from the generations prior to the Flood,2 the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose (Gen 6.2).
        2. Unbelievers do not compromise when they marry believers.
          1. Believers compromise when they marry unbelievers.
          2. Thus, the spirituality of the believer sometimes goes downhill.
            1. If you are married to an unbeliever,
            2. renew yourself in the Lord daily.
    2. They did evil in the sight of the Lord.
    3. They forgot God.
      1. He who forgets God will serve something else.
      2. He who forgets God has removed the restraint from all sin.
        1. That does not mean such a person will commit all sin, but
        2. he has left himself dangerously open to all sin.
    4. They served idols.
      1. The Lord had warned them that they would do something foolish,28 “And there you will serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell” (Deu 4.28).
      2. Why did Israel do something so foolish?
        1. Idolatry gave them permission to sin.
          1. For example, God says do not fornicate.
          2. Idolatry does not just allow fornication, but often demands it.
        2. Israel could see the idol.
        3. Israel could make the god according to their own image.
      3. This parallels the downfall of a Christian.“We dwell with the world. We start relating to the world. We end up worshipping with the world” (Jon Courson).
        1. Then doing things that we never would have done before,
        2. becomes easier.
    5. Israel angered the Lord with their infidelity,8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years (Jdg 3.8).
      1. Israel thought they would worship anything so long as it was not God,
        1. therefore, He allowed them to serve someone
          1. who could see, hear, walk, eat, smell, be ashamed, and be angry,
          2. things their idols could not do, and
        2. that someone was a foreign king from what is now modern Iraq.
      2. This lasted for eight years.
        1. Is this how long it took before Israel finally called on God?
        2. Did they cry to God immediately but He let them suffer for awhile?
  2. Judges 3.9–11 – They Cried to the Lord

    9 When the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother (Jdg 3.9).

      1. Why could not the Baals and Asherahs save Israel?
      2. Yet, see the beauty of the Lord.
        1. When His children finally cry out to Him,
        2. He hears and acts, and
          1. He answers with the same intensity
          2. that they ask Him.
      3. The Lord responded by raising up Othniel.
        1. Othniel had already established himself
          1. as a valiant soldier and
          2. a holy man.
        2. When his uncle Caleb asked who could conquer a certain land (1.13),
          1. Othniel spoke up, and
          2. won his cousin as wife.
    1. In Othniel, see the Spirit of the Lord,10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim (Jdg 3.10).
      1. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel, because
      2. he made himself available.
    2. This man of the Spirit brought rest,11 So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died (Jdg 3.11).
      1. They could enjoy the blessings of God again.
      2. However, forty years is enough time
        1. to forget what a previous generation suffered for its sin,
        2. for a new generation to arise and forget God, and
        3. it is enough time to get spoiled by blessings.
  3. Judges 3.12–30Ehud

    12 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD (Jdg 3.12).

    1. Israel failed to remember her own history, and fell away.
    2. Their unfaithfulness led to 18 years of oppression,13 Then he gathered to himself the people of Ammon and Amalek, went and defeated Israel, and took possession of the City of Palms. 14 So the children of Israel served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years (Jdg 3.13–14).
      1. The enemy humiliated them by taking the first city Israel conquered,
      2. the city of Jericho!
    3. Yet, see the beauty of the Lord again,15 But when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. By him the children of Israel sent tribute to Eglon king of Moab (Jdg 3.15).
      1. Is it not strange how we used to discourage left-handedness in America?
        1. If Americans had been busy reading the entire Bible,
        2. we may not have committed that fault.
      2. Only three times the Bible points out explicitly left-handedness.
        1. Two of those are in the Book of Judges, and
        2. from the tribe of Benjamin, which means “son of my right hand.”
      3. God did not merely give us a trivial detail.
        1. Whether God has made you left-handed like Ehud,
        2. slow of speech like Moses, or
        3. almost blind like Paul,
          1. He can use you for marvelous feats,
          2. as long as you submit yourself to Him.
    4. Now, see the sword of the Lord,16 Now Ehud made himself a dagger (it was double-edged and a cubit in length) and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh. 17 So he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.) 18 And when he had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. 19 But he himself turned back from the stone images that were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” He said, “Keep silence!” And all who attended him went out from him. 20 And Ehud came to him (now he was sitting upstairs in his cool private chamber). Then Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” So he arose from his seat. 21 Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. 22 Even the hilt went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the dagger out of his belly; and his entrails came out. 23 Then Ehud went out through the porch and shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them (Jdg 3.16–23).
      1. The blade of this dagger was at least 18 inches long, perhaps 21 inches.
      2. See this large man working to stand up, and
        1. while he does that,
        2. he is not looking at Ehud, and
          1. Ehud opens his clothing,
          2. pulls out the dagger, and
          3. quickly thrusts it into the belly of this huge man.
    5. Men fall before the sword of the Lord,24 When he had gone out, Eglon’s servants came to look, and to their surprise, the doors of the upper room were locked. So they said, “He is probably attending to his needs in the cool chamber.” 25 So they waited till they were embarrassed, and still he had not opened the doors of the upper room. Therefore they took the key and opened them. And there was their master, fallen dead on the floor (Jdg 3.24–25).
      1. Bodyguards should give their lives to protect the king.
        1. Remember when President Reagan was shot?
        2. Quickly a secret service agent used his body as a shield.
          1. Men guarding King Saul also failed
          2. when David twice entered the camp and stood over Saul.
      2. The bodyguards of Eglon should have been embarrassed.
    6. Ehud bravely encouraged Israel to follow,26 But Ehud had escaped while they delayed, and passed beyond the stone images and escaped to Seirah. 27 And it happened, when he arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the mountains of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountains; and he led them. 28 Then he said to them, “Follow me, for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” So they went down after him, seized the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross over. 29 And at that time they killed about ten thousand men of Moab, all stout men of valor; not a man escaped (Jdg 3.26–29).
      1. When a man valiantly stands up for God,
        1. the number and valor of the enemy
        2. means nothing.
      2. The weapons of our warfare today are not of the flesh.
        1. Our enemies are increasing their oppression, but
        2. the Lord has delivered them into our hands, if we use our weapons,3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled (2Co 10.3–6).
    7. Ehud brought something Israel had not had in 18 years that lasted 80 years,30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years (Jdg 3.30).
      1. Would the land of Palestine today know what to do
      2. with eighty years of peace?
        1. When was the last time we had war in America?
        2. When was the last time Josephine County had war?
          1. We will continue to have peace,
          2. if we listen to the Lord, but
            1. we will have war,
            2. if we fail to heed His word.
  4. Judges 3.31 – Shamgar

    31 After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel (Jdg 3.31).

    1. The Philistines had prevented Israel from having weapons, but
      1. that does not stop a man of God from delivering Israel.
      2. He used what he had and God did something wonderful with it.
    2. One commentator described the ox goad like this,“An instrument of wood about eight feet long, armed with an iron spike or point at one end, with which to spur the ox at plough, and with an iron scraper at the other end with which to detach the earth from the ploughshare when it became encumbered with it. The fact of their deliverer having no better weapon enhances his faith, and the power of his Divine helper. At the same time it shows how low the men of Judah were brought at this time, being disarmed by their oppressors (v. 8), as was also the case later (1 Sam. xiii. 19)” (Fuller, p. 423).


  1. God can use anyone with anything. 
    1. If He could use a left-handed man,
      1. who had to make his own weapon,
      2. He could use a man who only had an ox goad.
        1. Moses had a rod.
        2. David had a sling.
        3. Peter and Andrew had fishing nets.
        4. A boy had five loaves of bread and two fish.
    2. Whatever you have and
      1. whatever you are,
      2. the Lord wants to use you.
    3. Do you want Him to use you?
      1. If you are a Christian,
      2. you have already answered that question.
        1. You died to yourself;
        2. now you live for Him.
    4. What do you have?
      1. Make it available and
      2. see what the Lord does with it!
  2. Look at what we saw in the first three judges,

    “In Othniel, the power of the Spirit; in Ehud, the power of the Sword; in Shamgar, the power of service. These three elements—the Spirit of God upon you, the Sword of the Lord within you, and service for the Lord through you—will lead you into much fruitfulness as you do battle in the Land to which He has brought you” (Jon Courson).
  3. Therefore, if something is oppressing you, 
    1. do what the Israelites did,
    2. call on the Lord.
      1. Be prepared for Him to send a helper, and
      2. be ready to cooperate with that helper.
        1. Or you might be the helper.
        2. Be ready for anything and anyone.