Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Shamgar the Son of Anath

"After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel." (Judges 3:31)

Shamgar’s story is told in one verse, and yet it is an encouraging story for God’s people. One of the few things noted about him is that he saved Israel not with iron blade and chariot wheel, but with the humble oxgoad - a stick with a sharp end which was used to prod cattle. The other passage that makes reference to him, Judges 5:6-8, notes that in his days the highways were abandoned. They were lawless days and people lived in fear. It also seems their enemies had kept them from accessing shields and spears (Judges 5:8, 1 Sam. 13:19). Even though Shamgar lived in dark times when the people of God were weak and outgunned, yet with faith and zeal he took up his oxgoad and fought to deliver his people. 

We learn from his story to not be discouraged in such times, for God is able to restore his church by what looks foolish and weak in the eyes of the world. May God raise up many with the boldness of Shamgar to contend against the world, the flesh, and the devil, forces which seek to keep the peoples in darkness and destroy the church of Christ. They have certain advantages, but God has given us the means to destroy strongholds and overcome the world: the word of God and prayer (Eph. 6:10-20), faith in Christ (1 John 5:4-5), and the fruit of the Spirit (2 Cor. 6:6-7, 10:4-5). He can work great victories through cattle herders like Shamgar and fishermen like Peter, for they are but instruments of his mighty power. May God use our faith and obedience for the good of his people and the triumph of his advancing kingdom. 

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