God and gloves

23 Apr

In the book of Judges God repeatedly raises up leaders and deliverers to rescue Israel from her enemies. This happens repeatedly in a cycle - but only after the Israelites have turned back to God and cried out to him. One commentator has pointed out how God used very different people each time - which is encouraging in that he does not have one preferred ideal type of leader or persona that God can use. Othniel (the first judge) was a classic front man leader with strong leadership skills and a military tactician. But there are other types too, Deborah for instance, Shamgar, and Gideon the cowardly and timid. God uses all sorts. 

One seemingly weak character has always fascinated me - Ehud. 

He was 'left handed' which actually means that he had a withered right hand. He was considered a non-threat and was despised because everyone looked upon his disability - his withered right hand. He was an apt symbol of a conquered people. For this reason he was allowed as a tribute bringer into the presence of the enemy Moabite King Eglon. Ehud - a man with a withered right hand -  a symbol of disability and weakness.... what danger could he pose to the oppressor?

Everyone laughed and focused on Ehud's withered right hand. But God was looking at his left hand! It was with his left hand that he acheived unexpected deliverance for Israel when he used it to kill the enemy king Eglon with a left handed dagger. 

Others may look at our disability - but God does not. He looks at what He can do through us. He looks at the left hand.

God uses people who can seem weak. I have often spoken of George Stott a 19th Century missionary who had a wooden leg. He was rejected by all the missionary societies - and when they asked him "Why do you - who have a wooden leg - want to take the Gospel to China?" His reply was "Well all my friends with two legs are not going, so I thought I had better go!" The China Inland Mission society under Hudson Taylor decided that God could use him and he was sent to a town in China where there were no churches. After some years he met a handicapped young man. Together - a man with a wooden leg and a handicapped young man - they planted a church. Today this town in China is nicknamed the Jerusalem of China. There are I think around a 1000 churches - many underground. All this can be traced back to two weak people who trusted in a strong almighty God who could use them.

Sometimes the weaker flimsy surgeons glove is better than the strong thick gardeners glove. The weaker glove can be used to do a delicate operation. It can be used to change oil in a car engine. The thicker glove, although useful in a garden is not good for these more delicate needs. God uses the right gloves for the right situations. God is like the hand in the glove and we are the glove in this picture. Sometimes a weaker but more flexible glove is easier for God to use! 

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...." (2 Corinthians 12:9)   and as one Psalm says the strength of natural man is not God's way - "His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, (i.e. cavalry) nor his delight in the legs of the warrior (i.e. infantry); .....the Lord delights in those who fear him..." (Psalm 147: 10) .

The Lord encourage you.

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