Since childhood, I've been captivated by the tale of Ehud (Judges 3:12-20). In essence, Ehud, a left-handed Benjaminite, liberated a repentant Israel from Moab's oppressive rule. Tasked with delivering tribute to the portly King Eglon, Ehud seized an opportune moment, claiming a secret message for the king's ears only. The king dismissed the servants, leaving only himself and Ehud in the chamber. Alone, Ehud drew a hidden sword from his right hip and delivered a divine message, “I have a message from God for you,” resulting in a fatal blow.
Eglon's size was such that the entire 18 inches of the blade, along with the handle, penetrated him, leading to an unfortunate outcome. First, he soiled himself, and then his death ensued. Subsequently, Ehud discreetly exited the room, securing it behind him. The unsuspecting servants, assuming the king sought privacy during a moment of relief, patiently waited before unlocking the door, only to discover Eglon's lifeless form. Seizing this interval, Ehud swiftly rallied Israel and orchestrated an offensive against Moab, breaking free from their oppressive rule. Ehud's strategic actions resulted in 80 years of peace for Israel, marking a triumphant chapter in their history and the longest peaceful period in Judges.
As a child, I loved this story for its action-packed heroics, vivid imagery, and a touch of potty humor – elements that resonated with my nine-year-old self. However, as an adult, I began to grasp the deeper meaning of this story. Ehud's left-handedness and Benjaminite origin marked him as seemingly weak and unremarkable. Yet, he turned these perceived weaknesses into strengths.
Ehud's apparent vulnerability and unconventional hiding place for his sword allowed him to get close to the king, showcasing his cunning nature. He used his weaknesses to his advantage, creating an opportunity for Israel to triumph over Moab's oppression. Yes, Ehud’s story is a bloody one, but that is not what we celebrate. The narrative’s importance is the conviction that weaknesses, so often concealed for shame, can be transformed into strengths.
We tend to believe that weaknesses should be hidden, but Ehud's story challenges this notion. God called on Moses, a stutterer, to speak, emphasizing the importance of deliberate speech. Similarly, those who have experienced loss often attempt to minimize their emotions, believing that their sadness is a burden to others. Yet when they lean into their experience, they are often able to connect most profoundly with those undergoing present suffering and offer hope and comfort.
While I can't claim to know how your specific weakness contributes to the Kingdom of Heaven, I encourage you to reflect on your vulnerabilities this week and consider how God may call on you to use them. How might they assist in your Christian journey and the work of the Kingdom?