Book of Judges Bible Study - The Message of Judges: Chapter Three
Ehud, the Fat Man and the Power of Praise!
by I Gordon
The Power of Praise
 ↩ The older writers took Moab as a picture of profession. William MacDonald does in the Judges section in his 'Believers Bible Commentary.' William Newell in his 'Old Testament Studies' comments on the book of Ruth stating 'It should be noted that it is to Moab that they went, not to Edom (indulgence of the flesh); not to Egypt (the godless world outright); but to Moab, the place of mere profession. A 'name to live', a 'form of godliness' with neither the life nor the power...' Likewise, Samuel Ridout, in his commentary on Judges speaks of Moab saying 'Profession bears the closest resemblance to divine realities - profession without reality. Profession may claim natural relationship to faith; it may say we are the people of God, we are separate from the world, we belong to Christ. But all these things mark mere empty profession, and thus the king of Moab governs God's people.'
 ↩ John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' is amazing! He deals with 'empty profession' in the form of two characters 'Formalist and Hypocrisy'. As Christian is going on his travels to the Celestial City (heaven), he spies these two men tumbling over the side of the wall to get into the way. He asks them why they didn't go back to the beginning and go through the gate (salvation through Jesus) and they explain that the gate is considered too far by their countrymen, and that it's ok because people have been avoiding the gate and jumping over the wall for over 1000 years! And while Formalist and Hypocrisy think that there are few differences between them, and that they obey the laws as well as Christian, Christian points out that they don't have any robes (righteousness), God's mark on their forehead (ownership), nor do they posses the scroll (the assurance of salvation).
 ↩ If you want a good case study of this that you can do in your own time, have a look at the nation of Israel in 1 Sam 4. Having lost the reality and importance of God, they go into battle against the Philistines thinking that it, the ark of the covenant (not God), will deliver them from their enemies. Talk about just going through the religious motions! Beware any religious 'formula' that doesn't give God His rightful place in the center of it! A great defeat occurs, the ark is lost, and Eli the Priest dies because of the shock! Read the entire chapter and then contrast it with another battle against the Philistines four chapters on in 1 Sam 7. This time the importance of God's place in their lives is back! No empty profession here... And though they go out in fear, God gives them a wonderful victory because the focus of their hearts is right!
 ↩ Just a couple of well-known verses about Meditation as a timely reminder...
Josh 1:8 'This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success.
Psalm 1:1-3 'How blessed is the man whose... delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season. (See also 119:97-99, 1 Tim 4:15)
 ↩ There is a really interesting picture of praise back in the first chapter of Judges that should be mentioned. William Newell brings this out in his book 'Old Testament Studies'. You may remember that the Lord chose Judah as the first tribe to go and take their inheritance. (Judges 1:1-2) This is not surprising as Judah was the kingly tribe from which the Messiah would come. (Gen 49:8-12) Now Judah took his eyes off God and subsequently could not drive out their enemies. Judah's failure leads to the successive failure of Benjamin, Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebbulun, Asher and Napthtali. Until finally we read in the first chapter of Judges of Dan's total retreat in the face of the enemy. My point? Well, remembering that Judah, God's kingly tribe, means 'praise', William Newell writes 'Praise failing, universal unbelief sets in, and total failure follows.' The tribes of Israel's failure began when Judah (praise) failed. Remember this... in fact I'll say it again. 'Praise failing, unbelief sets in and total failure follows'. Next time in gets hard, don't let your praise fail. Don't let unbelief set in!
 ↩ The great legendary unforgettable Christian, George Herbert (ok, I've never heard of him either!) said, 'Thou who has given so much to me, give one thing more - a grateful heart!'
 ↩ I had to drive to a different city for work recently so I grabbed an old Keith Green tape I hadn't listened to for ages. One song really stood out called 'When I hear the praises start.' Here are some of the lyrics and by them you can tell he knew the power of resting and praising - Oh, alright. I'll even sing it for you!
'My son, my son, why are you striving? You can't add one thing to what's been done for you. I did it all when I was dying. Rest in your faith, my peace will come to you. For when I hear the praises start, I want to rain upon you, blessings that will fill your heart. Oh I see no stain upon you. Because you are my child and you know me, to me you're only holy, nothing you've done, remains, only what you do for me.'
 ↩ For your own study, please have a look and meditate on the following verses - Psalm 50:23, 2 Chron 20:1-30 (this is a fantastic passage on the power of praise and is a corresponding passage to this one in Judges for it again shows the power of praise over the Moabite enemy! The whole chapter is awesome but in context with what we are saying, especially note verses 20-22. As a side note I think I will write this chapter as a separate study cause it deserves a lot of attention!) Isaiah 54:1, 61:3, Psalm 98, 100:4, Eph 5:19-20, Heb 13:15.