“And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel because they had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He gathered to himself the Ammonites and the Amalekites, and went and defeated Israel. And they took possession of the city of palms. And the people of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.
Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. The people of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. And Ehud made for himself a sword with two edges, a cubit[a] in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his clothes. And he presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. And when Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who carried the tribute. But he himself turned back at the idols near Gilgal and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he commanded, “Silence.” And all his attendants went out from his presence. And Ehud came to him as 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. And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the dung came out. Then Ehud went out into the porch and closed the doors of the roof chamber behind him and locked them.
When he had gone, the servants came, and when they saw that the doors of the roof chamber were locked, they thought, “Surely he is relieving himself in the closet of the cool chamber.” And they waited till they were embarrassed. But when he still did not open the doors of the roof chamber, they took the key and opened them, and there lay their lord dead on the floor.”
Many people in our culture struggle with the idea of how God could be good but still allow evil in the world. This idea has troubled many people in our world to the point that they have no desire to have a relationship with Jesus. They are quick to blame a holy and perfect God but are slow to look at themselves as the producers of evil. We live in a culture where we place responsibility on everyone but ourselves. To answer this question more adequately, we must put more of the focus on our evil than God’s “so-called” evil.
The people of Israel continued to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord again and again. As a consequence of their evil, they were defeated by Eglon, the king of Moab. God strengthened the Ammonites and the Amalekites to defeat Israel because their evil had grown so much against God. God desires to lead His people to holiness, never to evil. God is a God of justice, so He allowed Israel to be defeated to bring them back to holiness.
Israel cried out to God for help, and out of God’s grace, He raised up a deliverer for them by the name Ehud. Ehud made a sword with two edges and hid it under his clothes as he went to see the wicked King Eglon. His job was simple, straightforward, and sneaky. Ehud’s mission was to kill Eglon and he did just that. This allowed the people of Israel to find new freedom, which only came through the grace of God.
God is not evil. You are evil. God loves you so much that He has made a way through the perfect deliverer, Jesus Christ, so that you may be holy. Trust Him.
- Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
- Explain – what does the passage mean?
- Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
- Respond – how is God leading you to respond?