#191: It Takes Character & Courage to be Used by God

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Have you ever wondered why God uses some people in a mighty way and not others? It seems like God grabs the most obscure, least qualified person He can find to save the Israelites from impending doom. All the while the well-known, talented guy sits out the game on the bench.

Shamgar, oxgoad, oxen

We can learn a lot by studying the men and women God uses. In my case, I especially enjoy studying the obscure Bible characters. In the grand scheme of things, I can identify more with the obscure characters in the Bible because they seem more like me. Sometimes they are full of doubts, fear, and skepticism. Sometimes they are wholly unprepared for the task God has given them.

God Raised Up Judges

The Israelites had settled in the Promised Land but had failed to drive out the pagans completely as the Lord had commanded. Worse, the Israelites abandoned the Lord and worshipped foreign gods. God allowed marauders to come against the Israelites to test them; to see if they would return to Him. But they did not.

The people cried out to the Lord in their oppression and the Lord raised up a series of judges to save the people. Each of these judges led the Israelites to victory against their enemies. They would have peace for a time but eventually they would fall away from God again.

Shamgar: The Obscure Warrior Judge

Among the most obscure Bible characters is Shamgar. Shamgar comes on the scene suddenly. He is mentioned directly in only one verse of the Bible; Judges 3:31, and then is referred to in one other verse; Judges 5:6. Despite his fleeting appearance in the pages of Scripture, there is much we can learn from Shamgar who was used in a mighty way by God.

Shamgar was the third judge God raised up over the Israelites. Judges 3:31 records Shamgar’s military victory over the Philistines:

“After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath became judge. He delivered Israel by striking down 600 Philistines with an oxgoad” (Judges 3:31 HCSB).

Note: An oxgoad was a pole 8-10′ in length with a sharp point on one end to prod the oxen, and a flat spade on the other end to clean dirt from the plow.

That’s it. That’s all we know about Shamgar. But in this single verse we see a man of character and courage. Here are four important things to note about Shamgar:

  • Shamgar was busy working. Shamgar was a farmer with oxen for plowing. When God looks around for someone He can use, He always looks for someone who is already busy working. God does not call the lazy man to serve.
  • Shamgar stood his ground. The Israelites stayed off of the main highways and stuck to the side trails for fear of the Philistines (see Judges 5:6). When the Philistines attacked, most of the Israelites ran to hide in the hills or caves but Shamgar stood his ground, despite the danger.
  • Shamgar used what he had. The Philistines had confiscated the Israelite’s weapons, so the only weapon Shamgar had was his oxgoad. He didn’t let the lack of traditional weapons keep him from answering God’s call to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines!
  • Shamgar was called by God. Only God’s anointing and power enabled Shamgar to secure victory over hundreds of Philistines. Where God leads, God provides His anointing.

Shamgar was a man of character and courage who set aside his daily activities to answer God’s call on his life. He stood his ground against their enemy. He offered no excuses for his lack of equipment but used what he had at hand.

God is still raising up warriors who are willing to answer His call. Who will put God’s plans before their own? Who will stand their ground in faith knowing that where God leads, God provides?

What is there in your life worth fighting for? Your marriage? Your children? Your freedom to worship God and follow His commands? Those who don’t yet know the Lord?

If there is something in your life worth fighting for, if you are a warrior, be prepared to answer God’s call.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What traits do you think are most important for someone to be used by God?

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Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God




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