Used, Then Disgarded, By Yahweh

Being used by my Master has always been a goal of mine. But I have also run afoul of using this as a measure of my spiritual health. Being used by the Creator of the universe for His purposes isn’t a perfect metric of spiritual health. After all, if my Master can use a donkey and even speak His message through it, then how much of a “badge of honor” is simply being useful to Him? Pretty much anything is useful to Him. Such as fat king Eglon of Moab…

Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and defeated Israel, and they possessed the city of the palm trees. The sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. (Judges 3:12 — 14 NASB)

Yahweh strengthened Eglon, king of Moab. Yahweh chose Eglon, and used him to correct Yahweh’s people, the sons of Israel. Sure, Eglon was a foreign king, and yes, Eglon used other foreign enemies of the sons of Israel. But it was Yahweh’s strength that enabled him to prevail over the sons of Israel. Perhaps he didn’t know. Maybe Eglon was unwitting pawn in the hand of El Shaddai. But, what if he did?

Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. (Judges 3:20 NASB)

Why would Eglon rise from his seat when Ehud says he has a message from God? Why show respect if he had no understanding of his divine mission? Did Eglon know God as the sons of Israel? Ehud uses the term, “elohim”, which can mean “gods”, so it’s possible Eglon thought the gods sent him a message through Ehud. But whatever we surmise may have been, we know Eglon knew Ehud came from Israel and, therefore, was of this other God, Yahweh. 

Eglon rises, but the message is one of his own death. This tool in the hand of Yahweh now becomes disgarded by this same God. The One having strengthened him against Israel now destroys him before them. It’s a reversal of divine proportions, and it’s a crucial lesson.

Usefulness to our Master is not a sign of acceptance by Him. Our Master uses whomever He chooses, whenever He chooses, for as long as He chooses, for whatever He chooses. Our usefulness to Him is a sign of His sovereignty, not our quality. In fact, Paul says Jesus uses the foolish things to shame the wise, and the things that are not to nullify the things that are. 

The marks of our spiritual health is our love of Him, our worship of Him, our submission to Him, and our devotion to Him. When others discover the fruit of His Spirit growing on us, we are spiritually healthy. Even in this, it’s not about us.

That’s my view through the fence, what do you see through your knothole?


The Inglorious End?

Betrayed by his love for a woman. His eyes gouged out by his enemies. Forced to grind grain like an animal. Yahweh, the God of his people, had abandoned him, leaving him powerless for the first time in his adult life. This is the end of his life. There’s no way out, he’s blind, he’s weak, Yahweh is through with him…or is He?

Now the lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice, for they said,
“Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands.”
When the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said,
“Our god has given our enemy into our hands,
Even the destroyer of our country,
Who has slain many of us.”
It so happened when they were in high spirits, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may amuse us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars.  Then Samson said to the boy who was holding his hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.”  Now the house was full of men and women, and all the lords of the Philistines were there. And about 3,000 men and women were on the roof looking on while Samson was amusing them. (Judges 16:23 — 27 NASB)

The Philistines thought Dagon had defeated Yahweh, giving them the powerful weapon of Yahweh into their hands. From their belief about the cosmos, the spiritual conflict had finally been won by their god. It was time to party! It was time to gloat over the destroyer of their people, the one humiliating their god, Dagon. Now Dagon was the superior, had usurped the divine chief among the gods, and thrown down the pretender to El’s seat, Yahweh! Now Dagon is Elohim! Or so they thought.

Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.”  Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left.  And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life.  Then his brothers and all his father’s household came down, took him, brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. Thus he had judged Israel twenty years. (Judges 16:28 — 31 NASB)

Samson is placed in a temple supported by two pillars. The geniuses who brought us the least effective ambush ever, now party in the worst archetecural achievement of man. And, of course, when partying in an unstable structure, always party on the roof…with 3,000 of your closest friends. In way, this is a tremendous statement of faith. We only call it foolishness because they all died, crushed in the temple of their false god.

Notice a few things here. Notice , first, that Samson calls out to Yahweh again. He may have done so before, or he may not have. We’re not told. But he does now. He continues to seek Yahweh, his God. He hasn’t given into the belief that Dagon won, he knows where the failure comes from, he knows who truly failed. That’s the first lesson, keep seeking our Master, regardless of the circumstances.

Secondly, notice Samson acts on what he’s asked for. In fact, technically, he started to act before he even asked. He asked the boy leading him by the hand to let him rest against the two pillars on which the whole temple rested (is “village idiot” too strong a term for this kid?). After he rested against the pillars, then he seeks Yahweh. Samson demonstrates faith in risking action before he has confirmation. Or, is that presumption, assuming Yahweh wants what Samson wants? It’s probably faith. The second lesson is to act on what we ask before God answers. Samson didn’t have to ask whether destroying the temple of Dagon was in Yahweh’s will. That was a no brainer, he simply asked to be the one Yahweh used to do it.

Finally, notice that, in his death, Samson is a more deadly divine weapon. He gave his final breath in service to the purpose of Yahweh for him. He had been the weapon of Yahweh, like it or not. Now, at the end, he is the effective weapon of Yahweh, because he gives himself into the calling. Our final lesson is to surrender to the purpose of our Master for our life. We want to direct our own paths, do what makes sense to us, have what we want or desire, go where we want to go. This is choosing from the wrong tree, when we want the knowledge of good and evil for ourselves. Instead, let’s chose life, and let our Master direct our paths.

That’s my view this morning through this knowhole. What do you see of our Master through yours?