One of my favorite stories in the bible is the story of Ehud the “judge” of Israel. You can find the story in Judges 3.
Israel had turned away from God, so He allowed them to be taken captive by Elgon, king of Moab. The Israelites didn’t like that very much, and they cried out to Jehovah to deliver them from this new oppression. By the way, the book of Judges is all about people getting comfortable and turning away from God. Then God allows them to be oppressed, so they cry out to Him. Then He delivers them, and the cycle starts over again.
God did send a deliverer, Ehud. Ehud was a left-handed man from the tribe of Benjamin, a tribe that was known for its warriors in the bible. Ehud had made a double edged dagger about 18 inches long that he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing.
The Israelites decided to send Ehud to the king with a tribute from the nation. Upon arriving at their destination, they paid tribute to the king, and Ehud sent the men away who carried the tribute for him. Ehud began to walk out and had just gotten past the statues of the Moabite gods when he turned back and said he had a secret message for the king.
The king sent out everyone from the room and Ehud approached the king to deliver his message from God. As Elgon stood to receive the message, Ehud reached in and grabbed his sword.
Now it is necessary to describe Elgon a bit. He was fat. The bible describes him as overly obese. This fact will play into this story in a minute.
Eduh grabbed the dagger and plunged it into the king’s belly. The blade came out his back, and because he was so fat the sword was lost in the king’s belly and Ehud couldn’t remove it.
Ehud then slipped out quietly and locked the door. The guards didn’t go in because they assumed the king was going to the bathroom. When they waited an embarrassingly long time to check on the king they decided to go in and found him dead. Ehud had gotten away scot free.
This event motivated the Israelites to rise up and take back their freedom, and with God’s help they did just that.
I know. This seems like a really strange story to be someone’s favorite, but I read this as a boy and was fascinated that the bible would put so much detail and have so much humor in this story. I was shocked that the bible would talk about the king being fat. I was grossed out by the description of the stabbing. I chuckled at the guards thinking the king was on the other “throne”. Remember, I was just a boy when I read this.
I’m telling you the story now because I want you to see the color that is in the scriptures. So many people treat the bible like its some bland book of rules and regulations, but it is so much more! It is full of stories with excitement and humor. There is much sarcasm and laughter. There is weeping and comfort. Every emotion can be found there in the scriptures.
I read “The Hunger Games” in about a week – all three books. I was enthralled by the story. When was the last time you felt that way about the scriptures? How long has it been since you responded to a story from the bible with that sense of awe and wonder that a child has when hearing the story of Jonah for the first time?
Last week I wrote about the need for all of us to have a secure foundation of the scriptures in our lives. I hope that this week you can see just how vibrant and alive and entertaining and intense that collection of books truly is.
May you fall in love with scriptures once again – or maybe for the first time. Pick them up and read. Put yourself in the stories and watch them come alive. Listen to the messages God is trying to tell you therein. Once you meet God there, you will have a grander vision for meeting God in other places in your life.
These are not mere stories; they are history. They are true, and archaeology proves that a little more and more each year. But even though this is a historical book, it is not dull, and you can find yourself in so many stories as the characters are just like you and me.
Let’s get back to the bible. Let’s be excited once again about the Word of God.
If you’d like to talk more about this feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this article on my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. You can also call me at the office at 979-245-1611 extension 103. God bless you as His Word fills your heart!