Three Ways

Ehud

Not the usual type of leader!

Tags: leadership self-esteem courage gifts

The story so far …

The nation of Israel had made a binding covenant with God. They obeyed him; he’d bless them. They disobeyed and he would punish them. Since occupying the land he had promised to their forefather Abraham, Israel had not done well at keeping their part of the deal. They had worshipped other gods, broken God’s laws and disregarded him. They were living with the consequences of that; occupation by other nations.

However, God, gracious despite everything, provided ‘judges’, military and religious leaders who would get Israel out of the mess they had got themselves into.

Read Judges 3.12 –30

METHOD 1. Inductive study

What strikes you?

Key Principles?

Application to your circumstances

Action to take?

METHOD 2. Guided study

Some background information might help. At this time left-handedness was regarded as a disability in Israel and the surrounding nations. ‘Real’ warriors fought with their right hand. Benjamin was also the smallest and weakest of Israel’s tribes.

  • What strikes you about
    • God’s choice of leader for his people?
    • The tactics Ehud uses?
    • The personal risk Ehud took?
  • How did Ehud’s unorthodox qualities make him effective in rescuing God’s people?
  • If you are a leader, in what ways are you ‘unusual’?
  • Why do you think we find it so challenging to be slightly ‘different’ to cultural norms?
  • Given how God worked through unorthodox Ehud, how might;
    • That affect the way you view others who you consider unusual?
    • God he able to use the unusual things about you for his glory?

METHOD 3. Reflection on Ehud

Israel was in a real mess; oppressed by Eglon, king of Moab. In desperation they cried to God for help and got an unusual answer – Ehud. From the smallest, weakest tribe and with the social stigma of being left handed (considered a disability, sign of weakness and failure) Ehud was not the obvious ‘hero’ type.

However, combined with his almost reckless courage, cunning strategy and obedience to deliver God’s message, Ehud's seeming weakness became his greatest strength! Had he been a mighty warrior Eglon would never have agreed to see him alone. Had he been ‘able bodied’ he could never had smuggled in a sword. Had he not had God’s favour he would never have got out of there alive!

This story seems almost comical from our perspective but God has a habit of using the seemingly weak and unusual to carry out his plans.

  • Make a teenage virgin the Messiah’s mother?
  • Use a shepherd boy to kill a giant warrior?
  • Turn his greatest persecutor into the mighty apostle Paul?

Ehud was one amongst many. Perhaps we should reconsider who we think God can use? Or if you are unusual too, for whatever reason, be encouraged. There are things that only you, with your combination of strengths, weaknesses and apparent individuality can achieve with God.

If Ehud was useful, so are you!

© Ruth Perrin 2008. Last revised on 1 December 2008

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Cloud of Witnesses is a series of Bible studies on the men and women of scripture. You'll find everyone from Gideon and Andrew through to Tamar and Tabitha.

For ideas on how to use these studies most effectively, click here

Ruth Perrin, the author, is on staff at King's Church Durham and holds an MA in Theology and Ministry.

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