Judges 3:31, “… Shamgar the son of Anath killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel”
“I can’t do it.” Have you ever spoken those words when faced with a task that seems too great? I have! Perhaps you’ve been offered a promotion at work, but are afraid you’re not skilled enough. You may have been asked to teach a Sunday school class, but fear you don’t know the Bible well enough. God may have put it on your heart to write a book, but the voice that clamors for your attention says that you’ll fail. Often the thing that God lays out for us to do is bigger than we are. God often accomplishes great and powerful things through a few weak people. When we serve out of our weakness and God’s strength, it is obvious to everyone that the power of the Holy Spirit and not the strength or wisdom of man has accomplished great things, and the victory won can only be credited to His power and guidance. Our text speaks of Shamgar who had nothing to rely on but his ox goad and the Lord. The goad was a long pole with a point on one end that was used to prod the oxen. Shamgar did not shrink from the job at hand. He went ahead with trust in God and won a tremendous victory, slaying 600 Philistines. My friend and brethren, in order to succeed in our walk of faith as believers in Christ, we all need help. We can’t do it by ourselves. We need the help of all three Persons of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to give us guidance, strength, and especially instruction.
While writing this devotional my thoughts were of Noah, Joseph and Gideon and how the Lord used them to accomplish His plans. If you remember that during the time Noah was building the ark, he was only one person; however, he won. And when Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, he was only one, but he also won. When Gideon and his 300 followers with their broken pitchers and lamps put the Midianites to flight, they were only a few, but they also won. You too are only an individual, and may think you don’t have much to offer, but God can use you if you will yield yourself to His will and to His Spirit. Above all, don’t be discouraged or question your humble position or talents. Remember, mighty things are done by those who depend on God’s power.
Each day as you go about your business, acknowledge that you can’t do it, but God can. Put your dependence completely on God for his strength, wisdom and goodness – not your own. Throw yourself into the arms of Jesus and ask him to carry you as you do the work he has called you to do. As you begin to see success, don’t forget that it is God who strengthens you, provides the ability for you to do the work, gives you favor, and opens doors. It isn’t about you, but about the God who deserves all the honor and glory. He is the One who should be acknowledged in the midst of “your” success. Hear what God’s Word says concerning our inability to function properly apart from depending upon Him:
(1) Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builder’s labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain”
(2) Jeremiah 10:23, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps”
(3) John 15:5,”I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”
(4) 2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that we are competent to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God”
The most practical way to live the life of dependence upon God, is to make prayer the central activity of our lives. In prayer we recognize our need and God as the One who can meet our need. We come before Him with empty hands, having nothing to offer but our need. This is the place that causes many to resist being people of prayer.
Our limited ability accents God’s unlimited power.