A Passage and A Prayer



When Ehud had finished presenting the tribute (to King Eglon of Moab). . . he said, “I have a message from God for you.”  Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into Eglon’s belly.  And the hilt went in after the blade and the fat closed over the blade. . . Ehud escaped. . . He sounded the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim. . . and he was their leader.” Judges 3:18-27 excerpted (ESV)
The account of Lefty Ehud freeing Israel from the control of Moab is not a Sunday School story.  In fact, adults might say “T.M.I.” – too much information.  So why is this in the Bible?  Why is there so much violence in the Bible? 
One answer is that Scripture is real history, not mere spiritual philosophy, not ancient mythology, and not religious rules to make people nicer. The story of sin and grace happened in real history, culminating in the violent death of the Son of God to save us from our wickedness.  Only revisionists who want to clean up history could deny that the record of human interaction is ugly.  When you are disgusted by the violence and corruption on the evening news, be reminded that this is the consequence of sinful people rebelling against their Creator.  And thank God that he has redeemed you from giving way to your own worst inclinations.
God acted in human history, and he gave us a record of what happened.  He used heroes of faith to right wrongs and accomplish his purposes.  To prevent demonic wickedness from dominating life in God’s world, those heroes of faith exacted God’s judgment on the agents of evil.  God doesn’t need us to defend his actions, of course; and we aren’t authorized to explain what he does or allows and why. He is sovereign.  Just remember that the history of Israel is about how God preserved the promise of a Savior through a weak and willful nation until, in his timing, Jesus came to accomplish our salvation.
The Old Testament “judges” were freedom fighters, leaders who released God’s people from oppression and brought them back to their God.  In the fullest sense, that’s what Jesus did.  
Forgive me, Lord, for times when the wickedness of this world has caused me to question your goodness. Confront me with my own sinful inclinations, and comfort me with the forgiveness won by the violent death of my Savior.  Open my eyes to the many ways in which you enrich my life because you love me.  Amen.