God delights in using weak people. God does not just use the popular, rich, handsome, talented, and prestigious; He uses the lowly, injured, and untalented. This is a theme that is clearly seen in the book of Judges. What were some of the limitations of the judges of Israel? Let’s quickly examine it today:
Ehud was Left Handed
We often overlook Ehud as one of the judges of Israel. He was the man who assassinated King Eglon. What makes his story notable though, is that he was left-handed. To understand the significance of that statement, at that point in time being left handed was almost seen as a disability. So today, left-handedness is seen as a minor inconvenience to those who are left-handed, back then is was just a little bit more than inconvenient. We understand that left-handedness is not really a weakness, but they did not see it that way back then. It is interesting that in Ehud’s case, not only did God use him despite his “weakness”, but his left-handedness served an important role in how God used him!
Deborah was a Woman
Deborah was the bravest judge in the whole book of Judges. Prove me wrong! However, Deborah had a small problem… she was a woman. Now, understand today that God loves men and women equally and God can use women just as much as God can use men. The problem is that history has proven that men sometimes have a hard time going along with God’s program. Were there stupid men back then who said, “I will not fight under the command of a women”? I’m sure! Because there are stupid men today that would say that! But again, God gave the Israelites a great victory through the leadership of Deborah!
Gideon was Hiding
Gideon is the most celebrated judge of Israel. But when we first are introduced to Gideon, he is hiding. I would never go as far to say that Gideon was a coward, I do not believe he was. However, There are a lot of people (a majority of people, even) who fall someone between coward and “mighty man of valor”. The point is, although the angel called Gideon a “mighty man of valor”, in our minds, we don’t picture someone who is hiding to survive.
Gideon comes across as calculated and slow, not simply because he was a smart man, but also because he was kind of afraid! Not only was he hiding, but Gideon even said to the angel that he was the lowest person, in the lowest family, in the lowest tribe of all Israel. Basically stating that he was the worst of the worst. Despite all of those things, God used Gideon, arguably in a more fascinating way than any other judge of Israel!
Samson was the Exception
One judge that did not have such set-backs was Samson. In fact, it is in my opinion that Samson should have been the greatest judge in Israel. To take it a step further, Samson was being set up as one of the greatest leaders in all of Israel’s history. Consider this: Samson’s birth was miraculous and promised by God. Samson was to participate in the vow of the Nazarite. Plus, the Spirit of God granted Samson great power. Take any one of those three details by themselves and we find Samson in a small pool of amazing people! When you take all three of these details, it is clear that God had big plans for Samson! However, we see that Samson’s life was one of wasted potential. What happened? Sin. It is a comfort to know that God still did something great through Samson despite the sin in his life, but it is heartbreaking to know that God could have done more through Samson if he had simply done what was right.
The point today is this: God can use anyone. He doesn’t care how talented you are. God is simply looking for a clean and willing vessel to perform His will.
Curtis wrote a book on the Judges of Israel! Check it out here!