An Unlikely Deliverer of an Undeserving People

Tom Ascol
| Judges 3:12-31

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.