A Life With Extraordinary Impact
Day: 27 | Plan: Joshua-Judges
Today's Reading: Judges 3
Judges 3:31 (NIV) “After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.”
One verse. That’s all Shamgar gets in this chapter. One verse tucked in at the very end of Judges 3.
But tucked into this one verse, we see three things Shamgar did that resulted in his life having extraordinary impact:
1. He offered God his willingness.
2. He used what God had given him.
3. He stayed true to who he was.
And in doing those three things, it was enough. God used him to save the nation of Israel.
The reason his story sticks with me and stirs my soul is because I want to make a difference for Christ in the world. I want my life and legacy to count for something with eternal significance. I want to stand before God one day knowing I fulfilled the purposes He had for me.
But there’s always this nagging sense inside of me that the world’s problems are too big and I am too small.
Can you relate? That’s why I’m so fascinated with Shamgar. He was an ordinary person, in an ordinary place, doing an ordinary job. The thing that made him extraordinary wasn’t anything external. It was his internal drive to do the right thing and be obedient to God right where he was. His job was to be obedient to God. God’s job was everything else.
The same is possible for us. If we are obedient to God in the midst of our ordinary lives, extraordinary impact is always possible.
I doubt Shamgar ever expected to be used by God to save the nation of Israel. When we take a closer look at his life, we see several things that could have left him feeling like the wrong man for a “Deliverer of Israel” job title.
First is the matter of his background. “Shamgar” is a name with Canaanite roots, not Hebrew. This fact has led some scholars to believe it’s entirely possible Shamgar was both Jew and Gentile. And since God had commanded His people not to intermarry with Gentiles, Shamgar’s lack of a pure bloodline from his parents could have easily led him to label himself an unlikely candidate for a mighty work of God.
Then there is the matter of his occupation. Shamgar’s use of an ox goad to kill the Philistines implies that he may have been a farmer. Can we just stop and process that for a moment? He was a farmer. Up against an organized army. Of 600 men. If I had been Shamgar, I imagine I would have been raising my hand with a few questions for the Lord. Questions like, “Are You positive You’ve got the right person??”
And we can’t skim over Shamgar’s choice of weapon. Talk about unlikely and ordinary. An ox goad was an instrument typically used to prod oxen, not wage war. But since the Philistines would not allow the Israelites to have any weapons (1 Samuel 13:19-22), they were forced to use whatever they had on hand. So Shamgar simply sharpened what he had and offered it to the Lord.
I love that God’s hand is never limited by what we have in ours. We’ll see this truth all throughout the book of Judges. Ehud uses a sword of his own making (Judges 3:16), Jael does God’s will armed with nothing but a tent peg (Judges 4:21), and Samson battles a tremendous number of Philistines using only a donkey’s jawbone (Judges 15:14-17). Each story gives us a glimpse at how God can do the incredible through whatever we have available.
Do you long to live a life that has extraordinary impact? I pray you will grab hold of the encouragement found in Shamgar’s story.
Offer God your willingness. Even if you feel small … even if you feel unlikely ... even if everything in you is screaming you’re not someone who can be used by God … simply offer Him your willingness.
Use what God has given you. What’s in your hand, sweet friend? What gift, what talent, what ability? Whatever it is, take time to sharpen it. And choose to believe that God can use it when you humbly offer it up to Him.
Stay true to who you are. God didn’t ask Shamgar to be anyone other than a farmer. He’s not asking you to be anyone other than you either. You do you, and then watch with humble amazement as God uses your willing, obedient, ordinary life to accomplish extraordinary things in His name.
Prayer: Lord, I cannot thank You enough for the powerful encouragement You tucked into this one verse about one man. Thank You for reminding me that You can use anyone and everyone. I willingly offer You all that I am and all that I have – choosing to believe that who I am is enough to be used by You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
One of the key themes of the book of Judges is how God provides judges to deliver the people of... Read More
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