Introduction to a Sermon on Judges 3:12–31

Judges 3:12–31 (ESV)

12 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

This passage contains an earthy tale; it’s one of the raw parts of Scripture. It is full of graphic violence, blood, and gore, with a little bathroom commentary. It has drama, intrigue, deception. It may leave us blushing, and thinking that such things should not be on the pages of Scripture.

From here forward in Judges, most of the people God uses to deliver Israel use methods that are morally questionable. But the Ehud episode has something uniquely disturbing about it: it is entertaining, and we feel uncomfortable with that. And yet it is here not merely for entertainment purposes. It intends to make an important theological point. The Bible is not all neat and tidy. The central message of the Bible, the very gospel of the Son of God, comes to us in a most earthy fashion. The gospel is none other than a story of the Seed of the woman crushing the head of the serpent, while being bruised himself. It pleases God to rescue his people in the most surprising of ways. The Holy Spirit gave us passages like our text to show us the lengths to which God went to save his people.

Our lives are not always the calm, predictable, and happy days we wish they were. Our lives are sometimes chaotic, something like the days of the judges. And yet, our God is not a God who stands off. He’s actively involved, even when our lives are not pretty. This text, then, is yet the realistic Word of God, and another good picture of the gospel.