The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Defeating the Flesh

Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly.” – Judges 3:21


In the Old Testament book of Judges we have the account of God’s deliverance of Israel through the judge Ehud, of His people from the oppression of the Moabites under king Eglon. There is a picture of dealing with the flesh from this account. We are told Ehud was left-handed; he was out of the ordinary or extraordinary. Ehud made a dagger 18 inches long and fastened it under his clothes. Ehud used to bring the tribute extorted from the people of Israel to king Eglon and used this as an opportunity to deal with the oppressive king. This tribute was usually presented to the images of the gods of the Moabites, but this time it says Ehud turned away from the images and sought a private hearing with the king (Judges 3:19). When he was alone with the king Ehud spoke and acted in the following way:


  • Judges 3:20-23 – “And 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 hilt 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 came out.23 Then Ehud went out through the porch and shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.” 

This is certainly not a very pretty picture, but you know what, dealing with our flesh is not a pretty picture either. Even the word that “flesh” is translated from in the New Testament is an ugly sounding word. “Flesh” in Greek is SARX. Uggh! That’s an ugly word! King Eglon here is a type of the flesh. The flesh robs you, extorts from you, steals from you, oppresses you and it keeps you from what God has for you. That’s what the flesh is like, it is the excess produced by self-indulgence and the abuse and misuse of others, it’s the ugly excess fat of Eglon. Have you ever seen what a pound of fat looks like? It isn’t pretty and if you ever want to lose weight I suggest you look at what a pound of fat looks like. When you see it you’ll do everything in your power to rid yourself of that stuff that is in you. The same is true of our flesh nature; it is like the spiritual fat produced from indulgence, lusts and abuse of others. It’s an ugly picture isn’t it? That fleshly fat is not something you want in you or ruling you.

Now notice also that the reign of the oppressive symbol of the flesh king Eglon was in a position over Israel because they had done evil in the sight of God (Judges 3:12). The evil of Israel opened the door for the fleshly king to rule over them. That is always the case; if you make sinful choices, the flesh will rule you.

You don’t have to be ruled by your flesh. When Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD sent a deliverer (Judges 3:15). This deliverer was unique, out of the ordinary, extraordinary, he was a left-handed man. God often sends deliverance through unique or out of the ordinary people. Ehud was a man of faith who boldly in faith, “turned back from the stone images at Gilgal”  (Judges 3:19). He was God’s man, God’s deliverer and he was willing to turn his back on the world’s idols. That’s the first step in deliverance from the flesh, in faith turning your back on the idols of the world. 

Where these idols were is significant too. Gilgal was the place where Joshua had circumcised the new generation going into the Promised Land; it represented the place where Gods people dealt with the fleshly residue left over from their stay in Egypt (a type of the world or worldliness – Joshua 4 and 5). They had left Egypt, but there was still a little Egypt left in them.

The weapon judge Ehud used was a dagger, a type of the “sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Judges 3:16; Ephesians 6:17). God’s word combined with trust in God is the means to be delivered from the flesh.

Ehud defeated the fleshly king Eglon by first telling him, “I have a message from God for you” (Judges 3:20). We can defeat the fleshly carnal nature the same way. The use of Gods’ word in being delivered from the rule of the flesh cannot be overemphasized. He then drew out his dagger and plunged it deep into the belly of fat old king Eglon. Ehud didn’t deal gently or kindly with the fleshly king, he drove the dagger home with purpose and zeal. Ehud meant business; he was not messing around. In the same way, the only way to rid yourself of the flesh is to boldly in faith take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God and tell your flesh, “I have a message from God for you,” and then plunge it home and reckon it dead (Romans 6). That is how you deal with your spiritual fat, your flesh. Jesus told us to deal mercilessly with sin in our lives, to pluck it out or cut it off (Matthew 5:29-30). When you plunge God’s word into your flesh, when you plunge it deep to its core, right up to the hilt, having no mercy on it, victory is just ahead and the flesh is soon to be subdued (Judges 3:26-30). That’s what Ehud’s dealings with fat old king Eglon illustrates for us. What about you, got any fatty flesh that’s needs to be cut? Do it now and do it with a zealous faith in God and the sword of His Spirit.

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