Tuesday, December 21, 2010


     "Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a foot and a half long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing."  (NIV)

     This  verse is at the very core of an odd little story; it's one of my favorite Bible stories because of its oddness...
         Eglon was a foreign king who reigned over the Israelites for 18 years during the period of the judges.  Allied with  the Ammorites and the Amalakites, Eglon invaded the land of Israel.  His army captured Jericho, and he enforced taxation upon the Israelites. After the 18 year reign, God raised up Ehud to deliver Israel.  Ehud stabbed Eglon with his foot-and-a-half dagger, and did not draw the sword back out. Now, king Eglon was very obese.  When the sword went in to him, his fat closed over it - even over the handle. ( I'm not sure why this detail was included in the scriptures, but it was.  My guess is that's why he didn't pull the sword back out...he couldn't!)
         Ehud, the hero of our story, was left-handed.   In those days left-handedness was a handicap and was considered  a curse.  Being left handed generally meant ostracism from society.  But, as often is the case, God took a weakness (or a perceived weakness) and turned it into a strength. How did Ehud manage to get past the king's guards?  They  "frisked"  him as usual to check for weapons... Ah, but Ehud taped his sword to his right thigh.  Had he been right-handed, the sword would have been taped to his left thigh and the guards would have found it! ( God thinks of everything, doesn't he?)
     In II Corinthians 12:7, the apostle Paul says that he was given a "thorn in the flesh".  Many have speculated on what Paul's "thorn" was;  but no one knows.  We all could probably name something about ourselves which holds us back and keeps us from doing our best.  We are all "handicapped".  Limited.  Mortal.  Some handicaps are obvious: blindness, paralysis, or a missing limb for example.  Others are much more insidious: self-doubt, low self-esteem, or lack of direction in life.  With any of these challenges it would be easy to give in to negative feelings such as bitterness, rebellion, or self-pity.  But it is much more productive to accept ourselves the way we are.
     Yes, Paul mentioned his thorn in the flesh, and he prayed that it be removed, which it never was.  BUT  HE  KEPT  ON  WITH  HIS  MISSION.  He looked past his problems.  Didn't let them hold him back. Paul never mentioned what his "thorn" was.  He wrote a lot about Christ's suffering, about the cross.  A lot about the burdens of his fellow Christians.  Not much at all about himself.  Think on that.
     The Bible truly has a bit of everything in it, doesn't it?  I've heard people say they get bored reading the Bible.  My reply, "Well, you ain't readin' the same BIble I'm readin'?"  Seriously, read the Bible prayerfully; ask the Holy Spirit to open up the scriptures to you.  Read it with the eye of a detective.  Read it as your life depends on it...
     So, in spite of shortcomings, both Ehud and the apostle Paul changed history.  With God, in spite of our limited selves, we  CAN  make a difference.  Whose life could you change if you were willing to give up your handicaps?

No comments:

Post a Comment