How many want to make a difference in the world? How many want to pass on your faith to the next generation? Tonight I want us to think about making a difference not only in our community but in our homes, neighborhoods, work places etc..
The name of the book of Judges comes from the title given to the 12 leaders (“judges,” whose temporary leadership was both civil and military) of Israel during the period between Joshua and Samuel. The book is anonymous; nowhere in Scripture is any author indicated. The book consists of various blocks of material about different judges, which conceivably could have been written by multiple authors over a period of time. Late Jewish tradition ascribes authorship to Samuel, which is certainly possible. However, in the end, the book’s author is not known. (ESV Introduction)
The book of Judges was written to show the consequences of religious apostasy (turning away from ones faith) and to point the way to a king who, if righteous, would lead the people to God.
Judges 2:6-10, 16-23
6 When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land.
7 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel.
8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years.
9 And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash.
10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.
(You have Moses who led the people out Egypt into the Desert, he dies before they enter the promised land and then Joshua is raised up and leads the people into the promised land, now after Joshua you have this next generation…)
16 Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.
17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the LORD, and they did not do so.
18 Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.
19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways.
Judges 3:31 – After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.
Judges 5:6-8 – In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned, and travelers kept to the byways. The villagers ceased in Israel; they ceased to be until I arose; I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel. When new gods were chosen, then war was in the gates. Was shield or spear to be seen among forty thousand in Israel?
1. Where do we begin?
We can infer that Shamgar was a farmer by the mention of an oxgoad.
– Shamgar started where he was. He didn’t have to go to seminary to save Israel. He didn’t have to get his ducks in a row before he started his godly purpose. God chose Shamgar where he was.
– In fact Shamgar by his his fathers name is guessed to be a Canaanite.
– Shamgar means “stranger.”
– Like Shamgar, Jesus calls believers to a start where they are.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Start where you are. Home, Neighborhood, Work, Social Circles etc…
2. What are our resources?
Shamgar had an oxgoad. Being a farmer, this is what he used. What do we have?
LIST (Not Exhaustive:
2. The example of the apostles and Biblical figures.
3. Pastors & Teachers
4. The Holy Spirit:
Acts 1:8: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
3. Are we prepared?
Shamgar killed 600 Philistines. With God’s leading Shamgar saved Israel. The question for us this evening is, Will we allow God to use us to make a difference? Shamgar killed 600 Philistines to save Israel. are we called to kill philistines? probably not, but are we called to kill sacred cows? Kill worthless idols in our homes?
If not me then who, if not here then where, if not now then when? Will we make the most of every opportunity presented to us? (Not sure the origin of the quote)
We as believers are called to be prepared at all times:
1 Peter 3:15 ..but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..