This Sunday I will be starting a new series going through the book of Judges. This book is such an amazing testimony of God accomplishing his work even through the opinions, relative morals, and quite frankly the deep evil of His own people and their surrounding enemies. Whether it’s Moab, Canaan, Philistia, or even Israel, God uses these countries for his glory and accomplishes his work of redemption.
Our series, When Opinions Reign, starts with an ordinary man named Ehud who is called by God to deliver Israel from Moab. After 18 years of paying for their own evil, Israel finally stops looking inward towards the evil that captivated them. That’s right. 18 whole years Israel had ignored God in captivity (Jg. 3:14). Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD and then God raised up an ordinary man from Israel.
Ehud was an interesting Judge with a dark humored narrative. God tells us in the book of Judges of how Ehud declares to Moab’s King that he has brought a divine message from God. King Eglon jumped at the thought that God would send him a personal message. Little did the prideful king know that the divine message was an 18 inch handcrafted dagger that would send Eglon to his Creator for eternal judgement.
The dark humor comes from King Eglon’s pride. The dude is on his roof in the cool of his chamber. Most commentaries, pastors and scholars I have researched this with point to King Eglon having this conversation with Ehud in his bathroom chamber on the roof. The context of God’s Word seems to support this notion as well (Jg. 3:22,24). King Eglon and Ehud ordered his servants away outside the locked off area. While the servants thought Eglon was relieving himself, Ehud delivered the divine message in full. This powerful king died alone under the judgment of God, while his servants stood an embarrassing amount of time outside the room waiting for king Eglon to finish relieving himself.
After they waited long enough and no answer was given to them, they burst through the locked barrier and found him dead in the roof chamber. They had no clue how he died, because Eglon was so overweight that when he was stabbed, his body essentially swallowed the 18 inch dagger and hid the mortal wound. Ehud slipped away like a sly assassin, and in their confusion was already preparing to ambush the city with some of the people of Israel. Because Israel turned back to God in genuine worship and prayer, God honored their pleas and delivered 10,000 Moabites into Israel’s hand, allowing them 80 years of rest and peace.
When I think of this biblical narrative, my mind goes to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was a pastor and author during WWII and he watched Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s seduce Germany and go on to bully the continent. As their bullying turned into the attempted genocide of the Jewish people, Bonhoeffer and a select few trusted men attempted to dismantle Hitler’s empire from the inside by sabotaging it. These trusted, godly men attempted the impossible.
They planned to kill Hitler from the inside. Against all odds, they knew their own sacrificed lives were nothing compared to the many lives they might save if Hitler was taken out. Their mission was called Operation Valkyrie. Alongside their famous plot to kill Hitler, they protected the persecuted Jews and smuggled as many of them as they could to Switzerland.
Bonhoeffer and his compatriots ultimately failed in taking out Hitler, but against all odds they came close. Because of their amazing bravery and courage to stand up against truly evil men, a revolution of hope spread like wildfire! After his capture, Bonhoeffer continued spreading hope by preaching Christ to those in the concentration camp with him. He continued preaching until three weeks before his prison city, Berlin, was liberated. Bonhoeffer was executed at the hand of humanity’s enemy on the edge of deliverance.
Bonhoeffer was quoted at one point in his life saying, “When Christ calls someone: He bids them come and die”
And died he did.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer let his sin die at the altar of God in genuine worship, but he also sacrificed himself for godly reasons: the sanctity of life.
It is amazing to think that when God calls you, if you listen like Bonhoeffer and Ehud, you can be used for amazing purposes… that you can be used for God’s glory. Like Hitler, Eglon will mainly be known for his atrocities against humanity, but when you stand for God you have real eternal purpose. God used the Evil of Hitler to bring people to Him through amazing men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. God used Eglon’s evil to bring a nation of evil Israelites back to Him in genuine humble worship. Time and time again, God uses people’s evil choices and opinions to bring people to Him. Other people’s evil pushes people towards the only source of righteousness there is, because only God can right the wrongs of evil.
When you watch the election debates, hear about impeachment, watch the news at any time, see the real atrocities across the world, weep over the Christians killed every day for believing in their savior Jesus, or you face evil directly in your own life…
Know that hope is coming.
Jesus Christ is coming to deliver the Christian. He will come with the divine message of truth and righteousness. Jesus comes bearing the Word of God, and in righteousness he judges and makes war (Rev. 19:11). Martyrs like Bonhoeffer will not have died in vain, and men like Ehud will one day see how God used them I amazing ways for His glory. Even for us today, I am looking forward to seeing how every conversation we have, every choice we choose to make, how God works it all together in a master piece for his glory.
Know that there is hope when evil reigns all around us. God will rise up deliverers amongst us when we turn to Him in repentance, worship and prayer. Jesus will one day come back and make all things right in His eyes.
For the Glory of God,