#178 (5/27/18 morning)

(Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

Please read Judges 3:12-30.  This is the story of Ehud, God's chosen man to deliver Israel from the oppression of Moab.  Look at verse 12:  "and the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD".  How easy it would be to replace "Israel" with our own name.  We cannot point the finger at Israel; Christians are just as bad and probably worse.  Not only did they sin AGAIN, but they did it "in the sight of the LORD".  Not behind His back, not in darkness or secret, but right in front of His face.  Take note that Eglon the king of Moab was strengthened by God because of the disobedience of Israel.  Moab was not strengthened until Israel sinned.  Through their disobedience, Israel chose Moab to be their enemy; disobedience strengthens our enemies against us!  Moab robs the Christian of two things:  gratitude and thanksgiving.  In verse 14, the word "served" means to be owned, to become an oppressed servant to the point when the oppression is felt.  For 18 years Israel was heavily oppressed, they were owned.  This is the sequence:  Israel sinned, the LORD strengthened Eglon of Moab, they lost their gratitude and praise, then became owned servants of Moab.  The LORD was telling Israel, "If your'e going to sin, then you will become an owned servant to that sin and it will rule you".  Moab means "father" which represents security and protection.  From this definition, we can deduce what the sin of Israel was:  they were putting their need for security and protection in something other than the LORD.  

In verse 15, it took Israel 18 years to produce a certain cry.  This word "cried" means a cry from a disturbed heart that needs help.  Also, a heart that feels oppression and anguish.  We have a need for security that we draw from Moab (father) and the world.  Christians turn to the world to receive protection.  They find security in the familiarity of sin, the flesh, and the devil.  Sin, as it were, becomes a father.  They become owned, oppressed servants to Moab.  If we insist on sinning, then we become a servant to that sin until.......out of anguish and a disturbed heart we cry for help to be delivered!  Deliverance is elusive until the anguish of being an oppressed servant causes our heart to turn to the only one Who can help---our Heavenly Father!  Our REAL Father Who provides our security and protection.  We are to serve NOBODY but the LORD God Almighty!  That includes Eglon, king of Moab.   

In verse 16, Ehud makes a special, two-edged dagger just for Eglon.  Eglon means fantasy, to frisk about in a circle thinking of ways to please self.  Notice Eglon was very fat.  Fat speaks of zeal.  He was zealous about pleasing himself.  He fantasized about how things should favor him.  He plotted and planned about how to make his life pleasurable and easy.  He thought of new ways to eradicate pain and displeasurable circumstances.  He was continually concerned about himself and his pleasure!  Does this sound strangely familiar?  Christians have this same Moabite nature within the heart.  Eglon had a summer parlor (verse 20) just for himself where he could shut the door, feel secure, and fantasize about how to please himself.  His parlor was a refuge to contemplate his delight and pleasure.  

Ehud (meaning unity) cries, in verse 28, "follow after me".  Eglon the fantasizer, the leader, was killed first.  After came the slaughter of Moab.  When the leader (fantasizer) was dead, then the whole nation was subdued (verse 30) and the land had rest for 80 years.  When we put our need for security in the LORD, and let Him be our Father, gratitude and praise return and we find our protection in Him and Him alone.  When our world revolves around self and its pleasure then we are in slavery.  When our world revolves around the LORD and pleasing Him, we enjoy life, joy, freedom, peace, and security.  If we choose the path of personal pleasure (which is the path of least resistance) the end is slavery and oppression.  The path to the New City is one of suffering and refusal of the world and its pleasures.  Jesus said if we suffer with Him we will reign with Him.  Once a Christian chooses a path, he or she cannot swap ends.  Whatever path is chosen the end comes with it.  Believers cannot expect reaching the prize, the New City, when a life is lived pleasing self.  Take the two-edged dagger and slay Eglon.  Join your mouth with the LORD's mouth and shove the Word into the fat belly of Eglon until the dirt comes out (verse 22).  Then, the land will have REST!  Our Father is a HAVEN OF REST!!!