An Unlikely Deliverer of an Undeserving People

Pastor Tom Ascol finds in Judges 3:12-31 “An Unlikely Deliverer of Undeserving People.” The picture presented in this portion of Scripture points to an even greater Deliverer of other undeserving people.

In this passage God provides the judge Ehud to rescue Israel. The nation had been defeated by an unlikely foe, Moab. Moab was related to Israel through Abraham’s father. Furthermore, Moab did not live in Canaan and had been terrified by Israel when Israel passed through their country during the Exodus. Still, Moab enslaved Israel for eighteen years. Eglon, the Moabite king, almost as if to add insult to injury, established a residence in Jericho. The unlikeliness of Moabite dominance pictures potential pitfalls in the lives of believers. Jericho was Israel’s first conquest in the Promised Land. This scenario provides an analogy to modern believers. Can we envision areas of our lives that supposedly seem to have been mastered but which present problems later in a Christian’s walk? Sin does not sleep; it is deceitful and always at the door ready to defile. Even a believer’s Jericho, their first overcoming of sin, is no assurance of a forever-conquest of that sin.

Yet, God once again raised up a judge in response to Israel’s crying out. Ehud was an unlikely deliverer. The original Hebrew can be read to indicate Ehud may have had a deformed right hand. In addition, the right hand was considered the more honorable. Psalm 110:1, for instance, says God establishes His Chosen One at His right hand. Further, a deformed hand surely would not indicate a warrior. The nation would not normally look to such a one for deliverance. Yet God may have used this disability to enable Ehud’s private audience with Eglon. The unlikely meeting of an enslaved leader without guards for the king points to lowered precautions. Nonetheless, Pastor Ascol notes this unlikely deliverer delivered his people in an unlikely manner. A concealed dagger was thrust into the king, the door locked, and Ehud escaped soon rallying troops to defeat leaderless Moab. Ehud’s disability or out-of-the-norm abilities were used by God. An apparent drawback became an advantage.

The greater picture, the picture of which this deliverance is but a shadow, points to the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the Old Testament God was moving to fulfill the promise of a Savior made in the Garden immediately after the Fall. That promise survived war, good and evil kings, division, and captivity to find ultimate fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ. He too was an unlikely deliverer. Born of a young maiden in a stable, the nation would not look to Him for deliverance. Israel envisioned a military conqueror as its physical savior freeing them from Rome. Instead, Jesus came as a servant willingly giving of Himself for the spiritual salvation of those that turned to Him freeing them from the eternal ravages of sin. That unlikely deliverer, the Savior, still willingly delivers the undeserving in the unlikely way of the Cross. Salvation is available only by turning to Him.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
Get Founders
in Your Inbox
A weekly brief of our new teaching resources.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Teaching BY TYPE
Teaching BY Author
Founders Podcasts