“After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.” Judges 3:31 (NIV)
I am a woman who wants to make a difference for Christ in the world. I want my life and legacy to count for something with eternal significance. I want to stand before God one day, knowing I fulfilled the purposes He had for me.
But there’s always this nagging sense inside of me that the world’s problems are too big, and I’m too small.
Can you relate? That’s why I’m so fascinated with Shamgar.
We learn who Shamgar is in one small verse hiding at the very end of the third chapter of Judges … “After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel” (Judges 3:31).
Tucked into this one verse, we see three things Shamgar did that resulted in his life having extraordinary impact:
1. He offered God his willingness.
2. He used what God had given him.
3. He stayed true to who God created him to be.
And in doing those three things, it was enough. God used him to save the nation of Israel.
Oh, how Shamgar’s story stirs my soul. He was an ordinary person, in an ordinary place, doing an ordinary job. The thing that made him extraordinary wasn’t anything external. It was his internal drive to do the right thing and be obedient to God, right where he was. His job was to be obedient to God. God’s job was everything else.
The same is possible for us. If we are obedient to God in the midst of our ordinary lives, extraordinary impact is always possible.
I doubt Shamgar ever expected to be used by God to save the nation of Israel. When we take a closer look at his life, we see several things that could have left him feeling like the wrong man for a “Deliverer of Israel” job title.
First is the matter of his background. “Shamgar” is a name with Canaanite roots, not Hebrew. This fact has led some scholars to believe it’s entirely possible Shamgar was both Jew and Gentile. And since God had commanded His people not to intermarry with Gentiles, Shamgar’s lack of a pure bloodline from his parents could have easily led him to label himself an unlikely candidate for a mighty work of God.
Then there is the matter of his occupation. Shamgar’s use of an oxgoad (another word for a cattle prod) to kill the Philistines implies he may have been a farmer. Can we just stop and process that for a moment?
He was a farmer. Up against an organized army. Of 600 men. If I had been Shamgar, I imagine I’d have been raising my hand with a few questions for the Lord. Questions like, “Are You positive You’ve got the right person??”
And we can’t skim over Shamgar’s choice of weapon. Talk about unlikely and ordinary. An oxgoad was typically used to prod oxen, not wage war. But since the Philistines would not allow the Israelites to have any weapons (1 Samuel 13:19-22), they were forced to use whatever they had on hand. So Shamgar simply sharpened what he had and offered it to the Lord.
I love that God’s hand is never limited by what we have in ours.
Do you long to live a life that has extraordinary impact? I pray Shamgar’s story encourages you.
Offer God your willingness. Even if you feel small … even if you feel unlikely … even if everything in you is screaming that you’re not someone who can be used by God … simply offer Him your willingness.
Use what God has given you. What’s in your hand, sweet friend? What gift, what talent, what ability? Whatever it is, take time to sharpen it. And choose to believe God can use it when you humbly offer it up to Him.
Stay true to who God created you to be. God didn’t ask Shamgar to be anyone other than a farmer. He’s not asking you to be anyone other than who He designed you to be, either. Whether you work in ministry or the business world or at home with children, watch with humble amazement as God uses your willing, obedient, ordinary life to accomplish extraordinary things in His name.
Lord, thank You for reminding me that You can use anyone and everyone. I willingly offer You all that I am and all that I have — choosing to believe that who I am is enough to be used by You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (NIV)
Uncertain times can create anxiety. If you’re feeling a heightened sense of concern about what tomorrow might bring, we invite you to listen to the Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast episode titled Therapy and Theology: Dealing with Anxiety. In this episode, Lysa TerKeurst and her licensed professional counselor discuss how to address anxiety in a healthy way.
Has rejection left you feeling unloved and unusable? Start believing that even when you are overlooked by others, you are handpicked by God with the help of Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited. Order your copy, here.
You can connect with Lysa on a daily basis on her Facebook.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
What gift or talent has God given you that you can purposefully sharpen and offer to Him in this season? Join in the conversation here.
© 2020 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.