The Dirty Work of Freedom

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 30, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Have you ever considered the cost of your freedom? Would you know how to get free if you were trapped?

I cannot and will not pretend to understand the price that has been paid for our freedoms in America - the blood spilled, the lives surrendered, the lives taken, the families grieved by loss, the souls lost to hell, the cultures destroyed, the nightmares endured, and the gratitude lacking. This is not meant to be a tribute to soldiers, first responders, and others who put their life on the line every day, but while I am on the subject I will say, “Thank YOU for your service.”

This is meant to be a blog post that helps us realize that rebellion against God has a cost. That cost is often paid by suffering, or human lives - as any soldier or first responder knows all too well. This post is also meant to help us see the primary tools God has given us to overcome consequences/circumstances in order to live morally - following God and being faithful to what is right, and good, and true.

Take a moment and read Judges 3:12-30. As you read, I want you to take particular notice of how Israel wound up in a bad place, and then the cost of their rescue and deliverance.

Did you see it? The people “did evil in God’s sight” - which usually means they broke God’s rules and worshipped other gods as well. So God lets them experience the consequences, by allowing them to be conquered by Eglon, the king of Moab. For 18 years they served Eglon and the Moabites. The Hebrew word used here in verse 14 for “served” means to be in servitude (like a slave), and its second definition can be translated as “worship.” Clearly based on this we are to understand that what Israel had done to the inhabitants of the land when they took over was now being done to them, and it was not at all good. They were being forced to serve (maybe as slaves), and there is a hint that this service may include some form of worship of the king of Moab (e.g. through the ‘tributes’ offered).

God raises up Ehud, a judge, a rescuer. And God positions Ehud as the one to go and offer the tribute to the king. Ehud’s name means “I will give praise.” Eglon’s (king of Moab) name means “circle” and carries the idea of going around and around and around.

Ehud kills Eglon, and the verses describe this in rather graphic detail. Perhaps the detail is to help us understand how bad the situation was and to give us insight into God’s judgment of Eglon and Moab. The Moabites were a people born from the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughter, when she took it upon herself to make herself pregnant (check out Genesis 19:30-38 for context). Perhaps the emphasis on Eglon’s size is also to make a point about how the Moabites lived - taking for themselves and indulging themselves, just as Lot’s daughter did. Regardless, Ehud brings freedom for Israel. And verse 30 says the “land was undisturbed for 80 years.”

Again we see a connection to the LAND benefitting from the peace and restoration of Israel from their own disobedience. Any time God restores Israel, the land gets a rest from turmoil.

Historically, these events are important and demonstrate God’s faithfulness to rescue Israel (and now followers of Jesus) even from situations we create for ourselves. Emotionally, physically, and morally, these events are a parable to remind us of the costly price of our rebellion and our freedom. But is there more to this story?

Remember the meaning of Ehud’s name? “I will sing praise!” Remember that Ehud was sent by the people to the king, and that Ehud had turned away from the worship of other gods or idols. Remember the weapon that he made? A sharp double-edged sword!

What seems important to remember, after considering the cost, is the way we see Israel returned to freedom. Worship/praise (Ehud) is the vehicle, the delivery method by which we become free. And the Word of God, “sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12), is the weapon we deliver to take down any stronghold, any oppression, or any self-inflicted bondage.

What trap are you caught in, what hole have you dug for yourself, or what slavery have you become bound to? Are you ready to seek God, align your life to Him, give Him thanks and praise, and deliver His Word into the middle of that situation? If so, your freedom and peace for the land you live in may be just ahead of you.

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