‘After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.’ Judges 3:31 NIV
Shamgar is mentioned only twice in Scripture, and his story takes up three lines and two verses. But his impact was amazing. And it’s a challenge to all those who think, ‘God would never use someone like me.’ He may have been the least qualified person to deliver Israel from the Philistines. For starters, it’s likely he wasn’t even an Israelite. His name seems to come from the Hurrian language.
He could have rationalised inaction in a dozen different ways. ‘I don’t have the right weapon. I can’t do this by myself. These aren’t even my people.’ If you look for an excuse, you will always find one. If you don’t, you won’t. When it comes to making excuses, we are infinitely creative. What if we channelled that creativity into finding solutions instead of finding excuses? If we did, God could use us as an instrument to fulfil His purposes just as He used Shamgar. When God stirs your spirit or moves your heart, you cannot sit back, you’ve got to step up and step in. And when you do, it can become a defining moment in your life. Don’t worry about the results. If it’s the right thing, the results are God’s responsibility. Focus on doing right things for the right reason, and don’t buy into the lie that it can’t be done! Yes, it will take all-out effort, but you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (see Philippians 4:13). A failed attempt is not failing. Failing is not trying. If you are trying, in God’s eyes you are succeeding. So grab your ox-goad—and go for it.
SoulFood: Is 38–41, John 6:60–71, Ps 96, Prov 28:17–20
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023