SWIFT, STRONG, SERVANT
These words typified three judges barely noticed in God’s word. And then there was a fourth.
Ibzan, his name means swift. He may have been a Gentile for he sent his daughters abroad to find husbands and brought wives from abroad for his sons. I wonder if his name characterized him. Was he swift to exact judgment on his enemies? The word doesn’t say. But his name turns my mind to a day when the Lord will act swiftly to exact judgment on those who are the enemies of the cross.
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be…Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matt.24:27,44.
Elon, meaning oak, judged Israel for ten years. Was he fearful and learn to trust in the Lord’s strength even as Isaiah did centuries later, and we can today as we face our enemies?
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isa. 41:10.
Abdon, the servant, was a man of great possessions. Did his possessions possess him or did he use them as his name indicates to serve the Lord by serving Israel? Did he serve knowing what we know?
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:” Heb. 12:28.
Samson, meaning distinguished, was set apart before birth as the Lord’s servant to deliver Israel from the Philistines. When wronged he reacted swiftly in revenge, using the Lord’s gift of strength for his own advantage. His lack of wisdom and commitment to the Lord’s design for him, eventually, ended in his captivity and the loss of his physical strength. It is in his weakness he cries out to the Lord and serves God’s purpose.
“And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.” Judges 16:28-30.
Samson’s parents committed him to the service of the Lord before he was born, and in his death he fulfilled the commitment. His story is found in Judges 13-16. The conclusion is found in Hebrews 11:32-34.
“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae: of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”
Be Swift to Obey
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Heb. 5:8,9.
Strong in the Lord
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Eph. 6:10,11.
A Servant of God
And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many…Matt. 10:44,45; I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Rom. 12:1.
We met famous judges and obscure judges, each name recorded in God’s history. Your name will never be found in the scriptures but is it found in the Lamb’s book of life?
One final chapter remains to finish our walk with Christ through Judges. I hope you will join me next time.