Judges 3* The nations left to prove Israel. (1-7) Othniel deliversIsrael. (8-11) Ehud delivers Israel from Eglon. (12-30) Shamgardelivers and judges Israel. (31)1-7 As the Israelites were a type of the church on earth, theywere not to be idle and slothful. The Lord was pleased to trythem by the remains of the devoted nations they spared.Temptations and trials detect the wickedness of the hearts ofsinners; and strengthen he graces of believers in their dailyconflict with Satan, sin, and this evil world. They must live inthis world, but they are not of it, and are forbidden to conformto it. This marks the difference between the followers of Christand mere professors. The friendship of the world is more fatalthan its enmity; the latter can only kill the body, but theformer murders many precious souls. 8-11 The first judge was Othniel: even in Joshua's time Othnielbegan to be famous. Soon after Israel's settlement in Canaantheir purity began to be corrupted, and their peace disturbed.But affliction makes those cry to God who before would scarcelyspeak to him. God returned in mercy to them for theirdeliverance. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel. TheSpirit of wisdom and courage to qualify him for the service, andthe Spirit of power to excite him to it. He first judged Israel,reproved and reformed them, and then went to war. Let sin athome be conquered, that worst of enemies, then enemies abroadwill be more easily dealt with. Thus let Christ be our Judge andLawgiver, then he will save us. 12-30 When Israel sins again, God raises up a new oppressor.The Israelites did ill, and the Moabites did worse; yet becauseGod punishes the sins of his own people in this world, Israel isweakened, and Moab strengthened against them. If lesser troublesdo not do the work, God will send greater. When Israel praysagain, God raises up Ehud. As a judge, or minister of Divinejustice, Ehud put to death Eglon, the king of Moab, and thusexecuted the judgments of God upon him as an enemy to God andIsrael. But the law of being subject to principalities andpowers in all things lawful, is the rule of our conduct. No suchcommissions are now given; to pretend to them is to blasphemeGod. Notice Ehud's address to Eglon. What message from God but amessage of vengeance can a proud rebel expect? Such a message iscontained in the word of God; his ministers are boldly todeclare it, without fearing the frown, or respecting the personsof sinners. But, blessed be God, they have to deliver a messageof mercy and of free salvation; the message of vengeance belongsonly to those who neglect the offers of grace. The consequenceof this victory was, that the land had rest eighty years. It wasa great while for the land to rest; yet what is that to thesaints' everlasting rest in the heavenly Canaan. 31 The side of the country which lay south-west, was infestedby the Philistines. God raised up Shamgar to deliver them;having neither sword nor spear, he took an ox-goad, theinstrument next at hand. God can make those serviceable to hisglory and to his church's good, whose birth, education, andemployment, are mean and obscure. It is no matter what theweapon is, if God directs and strengthens the arm. Often heworks by unlikely means, that the excellency of the power mayappear to be of God.
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