Bible studies for writers

Bible studies for writers | Judges 3

It seems like the Israelites failed big time after Joshua’s death. We talked a little in the last chapter about people needing leaders. This chapter kind of exemplifies those thoughts. We’ve also talked in the past about how one negative thing can overrule a hundred good things. This chapter also embodies that theory, and I’ll expand on that in a bit, but one thing I noticed right off the bat was that God gives us a couple reasons for His letting certain people groups in Canaan remain in their villages: He is testing the Israelites; He is preparing them for future, inevitable wars. Again, why can’t we all just get along? I don’t know, but God is very clear here in his intentions.

As far as the Israelites needing leadership goes, take a look at what happens here: when they’re on their own, they fail. Hashtag hardfail. And when they have a leader, who is filled with God’s Spirit don’t forget, they remain under God’s grace and mercy. They live in peace. The first leader, or judge, God puts His Spirit into is Othniel. Remember Othniel married Caleb’s daughter, so he is Caleb’s son-in-law, but as the text declares, Othniel also is Caleb’s nephew. Anyhoo, that’s not really relevant, other than to say, Caleb’s family rocked. Go them! And also, the Israelites lived in peace under Othniel for 40 years. Cool. But not so cool because the Israelites once again are left to their own devices. Urg. Hashtag failedagain. And then Samuel (or whoever wrote this beautiful little book) throws in some drama (and comical relief) about Ehud, who led the Israelites to peace for 80 years after a daring escape through the toilet! I don’t even want to know the details, but I’m thinking about Shawshank Redemption right now.

… {Andy raises his hands to Heaven as the thunder claps and storm rages on.}

I’ll get back on track. Finally, as I mentioned above, this chapter is dominated by tragedy, at least that’s what I got from it on my first read-through. How about you? But look at it, and do the math. The Israelites lived under other kings for a total of 26 years, but they lived under God’s peace for a total of 120 years! And while God wanted them to “get stuff” on their own, He didn’t deny them the leaders that they “needed” in order to stay on track. He saw the Israelites’ needs, and even thought they didn’t quite jive with what He was trying to accomplish, God showed mercy by appointing them leaders anointed with His very own Spirit. For some reason, that worked for the Israelites, and God saw that. God is good, all the time.

Writing prompt: Ehud

I didn’t mention my favorite characteristic of Ehud, but look at verse 15: Ehud was a left-handed man. I don’t know why that’s relevant, but I have a left-handed boy, and I just love that he is unique like that. It set him apart on the baseball team and other “sentimental mom” activities, like coloring and cutting paper. Did you enjoy the story of Ehud? Parts of it are very funny when you think about it! Ehud is one person we don’t hear about much … or ever. Come to think about it, I can say with confidence that I’ve never in my whole life heard a sermon on, colored a Sunday school picture about or even discussed in passing conversation the story of Ehud and his escape through the latrine. Let’s talk about him today. Write either your thoughts about today’s story, or give Ehud a Google and write about your findings. Alternatively, expand on Ehud’s story here by adding a few more (probably smelly and gory) details.

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