If Othniel made sense, then the rest of the judges don’t. Ehud (Judges 3:12-30) is described as left-handed which may not seem like a big deal today but it was a huge deal in the ancient world and even up until the early 1900s. In the ancient world languages, many times the word left was closely tied to the word wrong and sinister. Thus a left-handed human was at his core a wrong human.
This means that God went from Othniel to someone who everyone in the ancient world would have immediately mistrusted. Ehud does not make sense to lead the people of Israel to let alone for 80 years. But that’s the story of Ehud. God empowered him to lead Israel back to him. It is not the story of Israel or God.
The story of Israel and God can be found in two simply placed verses that truly show what’s going on in this story between God and His people. Reread verses 19 and 26.
Notice how the stone idols and just kinda there as landmarks. At first blush, you might think nothing of them, but if you remember the ten commandments then you know those aren’t supposed to exist in Israel. If the writer of the Book of Judges is Samuel that means those stone idols have been there as landmarks from the time of Ehud through Samuel or maybe a few hundred years.
Even more astonishing is their location, Gilgal. Gilgal was the place the Israelites renewed their covenant with God upon entering the Promised Land. It was not prompted by God but the people sought to renew their covenant. That means idols lasted for hundreds of years in a place where the people renewed a covenant to not have idols. It’s no wonder the Israelites have trouble following God.
But aren’t we the same way? Are we any different? We try to find loopholes in things we have given to God. We create and sustain idols that we know we shouldn’t in areas that are consecrated to God. For me, the first thing I thought of as an example of an idol I keep and sustain is videogames. There nothing wrong with videogames, but I easily invest too much time energy and thought into them. It is something I am changing with the reminder given to me in this passage. What are the idols of your life? Comment below. Sometimes the first thing we can do to rid ourselves of the idols is to recognize what they are.
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