A Secret Message Made Public: Part 1 of 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
“Follow me, for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand.”
12 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.
13 Then he gathered to himself the people of Ammon and Amalek, went and defeated Israel, and took possession of the City of palms.
14 So the children of Israel served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years.
15 But when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. By him the children of Israel sent tribute to Eglon king of Moab.
16 Now Ehud made himself a dagger (it was double-edged and a cubit in length) and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh.
17 So he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.)
18 And when he had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who had caried the tribute.
19 But he himself turned back from the stone images that were at
Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” He said, “Keep silence!” And all who attended him went out from him.
20 So Ehud came to him (now he was sitting upstairs in his cool private chamber). Then Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” So he arose from his seat.
21 Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly.
22 Even the handle went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the dagger out of his belly; and his entrails (inner parts) came out.
23 Then Ehud went out through the porch and shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
24 When he had gone out, Eglon’s servants came to look, and to their surprise, the doors
of the upper room were locked. So they said, “He is probably attending to his needs in the cool chamber.”
25 So they waited till they were embarrassed, and still he had not opened the doors of the upper room. Therefore they took the key and opened them. And there was their master, fallen dead on the floor.
26 But Ehud had escaped while they delayed, and passed beyond the stone images and escaped to Seirah.
27 And it happened, when he arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the mountains of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountains; and he led them.
28 Then he said to them, “Follow me, for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” So they went down after him, seized the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross over.
29 And at that time they killed about ten thousand men of Moab, all stout men of valor;
not a man escaped.
30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years.
One of the fascinating things about the Bible is that it has spoken so powerfully to people who lived long ago, and yet it has a clear message of God for us today.
In the time in which we read of in Judges, God’s people were trying to be like the world. They got caught up in the worship of idols. They were defeated by their enemies. They suffered years of bondage because of their sins. Whenever they repented and turned back to God, God would send them a deliverer to rescue them from their sinful situation.
Our message today is “A Secret Message Made Public”. The message is this.........YOU CAN’T DO WRONG AND GET BY WITH IT. I believe that’s a secret message that must be made public.
“YOU CAN’T DO WRONG AND GET BY WITH IT”
Verse 12 says, “And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.”
God will not necessarily step in when you sin several times. God is patient with us. God is longsuffering.But the children of Israel did evil AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN! The lesson is plain in scriptures; God’s people can’t continue in sin and expect nothing to happen. I’ll give you four examples that back up what I said
Example #1: Noah built an Ark. Genesis 6:5 says, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” GOD STEPPED IN WITH A FLOOD.
Example #2: Lot was in Sodom. The wickedness there came to such an extraordinary level that God had to do something about it.
Example #3: Nineveh became such a wicked city, that if they had not repented, God would have had to destroy it.
Example #4: In History, God has allowed great empires to be destroyed because of their wickedness. Hitler’s Germany is an example. The Soviet Union is another example of an evil empire.
GOD WILL USE WICKED KINGS AND EVIL EMPIRES TO DISCIPLINE HIS CHILDREN.
The passage said that
“The LORD strengthened Eglon...” Eglon, the king of Moab, united with other pagan countries to go against Israel. Moab was the descendants of an incestuous affair between Lot and his daughter-in-law.
Amalek is the descendants of Esau. Esau, despised his birthright and chose the way of the world. The Moabites and the Amalekites have been thorns in the sides of Israel down through history. Ammon is the descendants of Lot.
All of these pagan nations were the results of compromise in the lives of God’s people. Every false religion and every pagan tribe in our world is the results of God’s people compromising with the world somewhere in history.
It says in verse 13 that “they defeated Israel...and took possession of the City of Palms”; that’s another name for Jericho.
And then, in verse 14 we are informed that the children of Israel served Eglon, king of Moab, for 18 years. One minute is too long to be in bondage to some ungodly king. They served Eglon for 18 yrs. Sin leads to BONDAGE!!!
The Message is: YOU CAN’T DO WRONG AND GET BY WITH IT, AND continuing to do wrong leads to an evil lifestyle, which leads to bondage and death. “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, and keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
The children of Israel did not remain in bondage for 1 or 2 years, it was 18 years. And they were required to pay a large sum of money each year to King Eglon. The children of Israel selected a man by the name of Ehud (a left-handed guy) to take this tribute money to king Eglon each year. Once again, this is how the saying goes: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Someone might say, “This is the year 2005; things have changed, it is not like it use to be, you can do certain things...it is expected of you to go much farther than your parents and explore the unknown and get familiar with that which has been off limits.”
Bondage is real! People today are in bondage to drugs, alcohol, immoral lifestyles. People are in real bondage, and they can’t walk away from it in their own power. They need deliverance!
WHAT IS THIS SECRET MESSAGE THAT MUST BE MADE PUBLIC?
1. YOU CAN’T DO WRONG AND EXPECT TO GET BY WITH IT.
2. THERE IS DELIVERANCE FOR FOLKS WHO TURN TO GOD.
Verse 15 says, “But when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud........” The children of Israel could not rid themselves of this fat bull of Moab. King Eglon grew fat on the labors of Israel. He was not going away quietly. He had no plans to leave.
The children of Israel served him....and they began to wake up to the fact, that serving Eglon was not fun anymore. They could not in their own power rid themselves of Eglon. They needed divine assistance. They prayed, and they cried out to the LORD. God heard them and He raised up a deliverer. Here we see the importance of prayer. Here we see the importance of repentance.
The secret message that must be made public all across our country is that deliverance can come if God’s people will humble themselves and pray and repent and turn their hearts back to God.
Next, I will attempt to show you that GOD WILL SUPPLY THE MEANS FOR OUR DELIVERANCE.
There’s a connection between deliverance and three important aspects of the Christian life.
First, Deliverance is connected to worship and praise! Ehud’s name means “one who praises God.” Ehud was a worshipper of God. Our deliverance begins at the moment we begin to worship and praise God.
We notice that king Eglon took possession of the City of Palms, or Jericho. Do you remember how God delivered Jericho into the hands of the children of Israel? They marched around the city and shouted, blew trumpets, and praised God; and then the walls fell down.
Ehud’s very name means “one who praises God”. There is power in praise! To experience deliverance from being in bondage to profanity, we must give our lips to the praises of Jesus! To experience deliverance from bondage to pornography, we must give our eyes to the praise of Jesus.
People speak today of all kinds of addictions. So and So is addicted to this, and so and so is addicted to that. BECOME ADDICTED TO PRAISE, and those unclean thoughts, and unclean habits will just have to go. Fill your mind with only that which is of praise and glory to God and your bondage to wickedness will have to go.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things.”
GOD WILL SUPPLY THE MEANS OF OUR DELIVERANCE; OUR PART IS TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP HIM AND GIVE HIM HONOR AND GLORY.
Secondly, Deliverance is connected with a life of dependence upon God. Remember, verse 15 said Ehud was “a left-handed man”