“And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.” (Judges 3:31)
The story of Shamgar occupies only one verse in the Bible, and yet his life speaks to every generation of the grace and power of God. The setting for the story takes place in the days of the Judges. The judges were temporary and special deliverers, sent by God to deliver the Israelites from their oppressors. The work of the individual judges was often initially bloody and violent reflected in Shamgar who took an ox goad and killed six hundred Philistines.
Following heroic acts of divine deliverance the judges then administered justice to the people. Their authority was generally recognized and respected until social events dissipated to the point that God allowed Israel to be disciplined again through foreign conquest. Time after time the people of Israel would be put in servitude. Eventually, after about four hundred and fifty years (Acts 13:17-20), the era of the judges would give way to a demand for a king by the Israelites and the nation would move from a theocracy to a monarchy.
The story of Shamgar is the story of how God will allow people to feel overwhelmed, and under equipped. Shamgar was outnumbered six hundred to one. He was overwhelmed. Shamgar had only an ox goad or a sharpened stick in order to fight the Philistines. He was under equipped. And yet, Shamgar was victorious because he had righteousness on his side and the power of Almighty God. When righteousness is united to a just cause and empowered by God, mighty and miraculous events take place. Faith is the still the victory that overcomes the world.
The story of Shamgar is the story of Noah who was told to build an ark to the saving of the animals and his family. The ark was to be 450 ft. long, 75 ft. wide and 45 ft. high. It was to have three decks, be divided into rooms and have a door in the side. Noah was to find one male and one female of every kind of animal and bird and take them into the ark. He also had to take food for all those animals. Noah was overwhelmed and under equipped.
The story of Shamgar is the story of Abram who became Abraham. Abraham was instructed to take his son, his only son Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice to God. Though his heart was broken, in gospel obedience Abraham began the journey up a mountain. His son carried the wood. The heart of Abram was overwhelmed and he was under equipped emotionally for the assigned task. But by the power of God he prevailed and won the victory in that he loved God more than anyone else.
The story of Shamgar is the story of Moses who was called upon to go before the Pharaoh of Egypt and declare, “Thus saith the Lord. Let my people go!” Once the exodus was underway, Moses was responsible for the safety and care of more than two million people. He was overwhelmed and under equipped.
The story of Shamgar is the story of Joseph who was the object of jealousy and sold into slavery by his own brothers. Later, he was falsely accused and placed in prison for a crime he had not committed. Joseph was overwhelmed and under equipped.
The story of Shamgar is the story of Gideon who was instructed to go against a mighty Midian army with only three hundred faithful men. He was overwhelmed and under equipped.
The story of Shamgar is the story of David who stood before a giant over nine feet tall. Facing the enormous champion warrior who had been trained to fight since childhood, David might have felt for a moment overwhelmed and under equipped with just a sling shot in his hand.
The story of Shamgar is the story of Esther who dared to intercede with the king of Persia on behalf of her people. “If I die, I die,” she said. She was overwhelmed with her responsibility and under equipped.
The story of Shamgar is the story of the disciples who were told to give five thousand men plus women and children food to eat. All they could find was a few fish and loaves of bread. They were overwhelmed and under equipped.
The story of Shamgar is the story of your life and my life as we find ourselves in difficult situations where we need the omnipotent power of God to be made manifest. And it will be, by faith for God is most glorified when His strength is displayed through human weakness. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18-24)