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#Awkward OK we are starting a new message series for the month of March called #Awkward.

Have any of you ever been in a situation that was really awkward? How about something like this: Id been going out with my boyfriend for about a month, when his parents invited me over for dinner. While at his house, he was using the toilet and I thought it would be funny to take his jar of money and treasured comics, put them in a random plastic box I found, hide it and watch him freak out. I am a bit of a prankster and practical joker and he is quite laid back so I thought hed be cool about it. Unfortunately as I ran down the stairs with the box preparing to hide it in the kitchen cabinet, his parents came out of their room, which shocked me so I tripped and fell. All the money and comics fell out of the box by the front door. At that exact moment my boyfriend came out of the bathroom and he and his parents just stood there staring at me. It looked like I was trying to steal his things! Then to make things worse as I was explaining that it was meant to be a joke his parents told me Id better leave. As I was getting ready to leave coins started to fall out of my pocket that were there from when I was trying to pick up the mess and put them back in the jar. Needless to say, we broke up as his parents didnt want him dating a thief. #Awkward. What we are going to do in this series is we are going to look at a few stories from the Bible that if we had been there we would have tweeted the event with the hashtag awkward. The first even that we are going to look at, I think, is one of the weirder ones that we are going to see and its found in the book of Judges. Before we enter into these events lets look at what the book of Judges is all about. The deal is that the Israelites have left slavery in Egypt and made their way through the desert to the Promised Land, or modern day Israel. A guy named Moses was their leader but he died and so Joshua took over. So it was Joshuas job to lead the army to conquer this land. Once the people in the Promised Land had been defeated and the Israelites had settled the land Joshua retired as the leader and he kinda left the Israelites on their own with no leader. So God brought these dudes called judges who would come along after Israel got off track and help to get them back on track. Their stories usually start off with the phrase once again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Then the Bible goes on to tell us what happened as a result of their doing evil. After that we are then told of what happens when the people of Israel finally get sick of it, turn back to God and then God brings someone to deliver them from whatever it is that has taken

control of them and caused them such pain and suffering. This is what the book of Judges is all about. We are going to look at chapter 3:12-30, read. Alright so what do we have here? We have a king, who must have been a large man. He is the king of the Moabites and these are the people, that is the country that is tormenting the Israelites. The Israelites decide they are tired of living under the oppression of Moab and so they cry out to God. God says OK I got this, Im gonna send someone to take care of this. He chooses this guy named Ehud. Ehud comes up with this plan. He gets a double-edged knife that is about 18 inches long and straps it to his right leg under his pants. He then gets a tribute (a tribute is a gift given on behalf of the people to the king) and goes up to meet this king Eglon. He and his men deliver the tribute. He and his men turn and leave. But after starting the journey back towards home Ehud tells the men to go on and he heads back to see king Eglon again. He must have known the king somehow because he is allowed in to see the king without any body guards. The king is sitting in the upper room of the summer palace. Here is what you need to know about the upper room back then. The literal translation of this phrase is the upper cool room. The cool room back then was the word that they used for the bathroom. So the king was hanging out in the bathroom, maybe he had the runs or something but hes hanging in the bathroom and Ehud comes and says, Bro I got a word from the Lord for you and it cant wait till you are done with that dump. So the king says OK lets do this now and tells all his attendants to leave him. They leave the king, the king gets up from the toilet, Ehud pulls out that knife that he had strapped to his leg and stabs the king. It says the knife and the handle sunk into his belly, the blade came out the back, and his fat sucked the whole knife in including the handle and closed around the wound. The king drops to the floor and Ehud locks the door and escapes out the back. Well meanwhile the servants are out front waiting for the king to tell them to come back in. They waited a really long time. Perhaps they knew the king had the runs or maybe they thought he was stopped up so they waited a long time. When the king did not come out after hours of being on the toilet they decide that they better go check on him because he may have gotten stuck on the can. We watched the show Life in the ER one time and that happened to a lady. She got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and when she sat down she got stuck. She was stuck for like 19 hours before they finally got her free. So maybe the king was stuck on the can. They try to open the doors but they find the doors locked. When they finally get in the room there is their king lying on the

floor with his pants down, dead. What a way to be found because Im sure that whatever had him on the toilet in the first place was now all over the floor as well. If you had been one of the people that found the king you probably would have tweeted: Just found the king dead, lookin like a fool with his pants on the ground and poop all around. #awkward. That would have been the tweet. And when you listen to the story you are probably wondering what we can get out of this event that will help us in our life because you do not plan on getting that fat, becoming king of Moab, or becoming an assassin or assassinating anyone. Those things, you feel, are not in your future. Well I think there are a couple of things that we can take from this and apply to our walk with God. The first this is that God is calling us to use our strengths, use our abilities for his kingdom. What do I mean by that, well here is the deal Ehud is a trained warrior who is left handed and all of this is very important to understanding this. I dont know if you know this but in the time of Judges the tribe of Benjamin had like an army ranger unit made up of left handed people. They are talked about a little later in Judges 20. It tells us about their accuracy with the sling and their skill in battle. They were a bad military unit. Now we do not know for sure but it is believed that our boy Ehud was one of these left handed warriors. He was a trained and skilled soldier that understood what combat was, understood how a military operated, and knew how a nation would defend their king. He knew what he was doing when he was sent on a mission to assassinate the king. He was trained for this. But there is also a second thing that we can learn about him from him being left handed. The phrase that describes him being left handed in Hebrew literally says that he was hindered in the right hand. This means that there was something that was wrong with his right hand that made it useless. He could not hold a weapon, he could not hold an axe, a shield, or anything else really. We dont know what the problem was, if it means that he had some sort of disease in his hand, or maybe it had been hurt in combat, we dont know. What we do know is that he could not use his right hand. We do know that it must have been visible, something that everyone else could see. Why? Because when he went in to see the king Im sure that they searched him for weapons. He wasnt the first guy to hide a knife to kill the king with. They searched him, but they probably didnt search his right side, which is where he had the knife hidden. Because if you were going to hide a weapon you would put it on the side that was easy for you to reach so that you could get the knife out and kill the king quickly. So with his right

hand being all messed up they probably didnt think they needed to search the right side of his body for a weapon because it wouldnt make sense for him to have it there. He would have to reach across his body and pull out a knife, something that would have taken time and been obvious to the person that he was trying to kill. And so he used that to his advantage. He utilized what he had at his disposal, the strengths, the abilities, the special gifting he had been given and hid the knife there so that he could carry out his mission. God wants all of us to do the same. We all have strengths and abilities within us that God wants us to use to his advantage to defeat the kingdom that is oppressing us. But we need to look beyond what we think are strengths. See I dont think many of us would call an injured hand a strength, and advantage, but you know what, God does. Many of the things that have hurt us, many of the things that have wounded us God sees as strengths to be used for the kingdom of God to defeat the enemy. What are you looking at when you look at your strengths? Do you look at how well you sing, whether or not you play an instrument, how good you can speak or pray when you get in front of people, or other things like that? That is not the only place you should be looking. You should also be looking for the injured hand in your life. So many times we miss this as followers of Jesus but the things that we view as things that hold us back are really things that we can use as strengths in Gods kingdom to defeat the enemy in our life. A second thing that Ehud had was that he did not let fear stop him from confronting the enemy and carrying out his mission. Think about what he did for a minute, put yourself in his spot. He was the only one there, he had no back-up, if something went wrong he was gonna die. He had to be able to get that knife out smoothly and quickly otherwise the king could have time to scream, and if he screamed that was it. There would be men rushing in there to kill Ehud. I mean if I was in this position I can feel my heart beating fast, I can feel the sweat running down my skin because of the adrenalin of what was about to happen. It would make me fearful, just the thought of all of that would probably make me not want to go into that whole mess. And I think that many of us are the same way, that feeling of fear comes over us and it keeps us from getting into the fight. Im sure that those things were there for Ehud too, Im sure there was fear in his heart but he didnt let the fear stop him. And we need to have that same thing in us that does not let fear stop us from killing the enemy. Who is the enemy? The three enemies that we have are sin,

flesh, and the satan, and many times we fear these enemies, but we just dont fear them we fear them so much they stop us from doing what God is calling us to do. We fear satan because we think of this dude in horror movies who can make peoples heads spin all the way around, make them throw up on priests, cause dolls to pick up butcher knives and chase us around the house, and stuff like that. And we are afraid of that happening to us. We think that if we are doing things that hurt Satan that our life is going to get crazy. We dont want Barbie or Furby chasing us around the house at 3AM with a knife. But it doesnt work like that, satan cannot do stuff like that. That is Hollywood, those are movies. Also we have to remember that there is power in us through Christ to defeat any of his little plans or games. So when we go into battle its OK if we have a little fear in us because its gonna be intense, its gonna be crazy, Satan may come at us. But we cannot let that fear keep us from the battle. And we can say the same thing for sin and the flesh. It is something that when we battle it, its going to be intense but we cannot let our fear of the battle keep us from fighting it. Go after sin in our life and beat it at its own game. How? By whatever means necessary. I mean thats the way we fight a war and we are at war with Satan, sin and the flesh. It looks like this. There was a pilot who was addicted to pornography and sex. Whenever he would travel for work and have to spend the night in hotels he would either hook up with someone or get porn from the internet or TV. One day he gave his life to Jesus and he knew that he needed to defeat that sin in his life. So what did he start to do? When he would check into hotels he would disconnect the TV, pull it off of whatever it was mounted to and set it in the hallway. He would unplug the phone so he couldnt call anyone and set it at the front desk. He would lock his computer in the hotel safe so that he could not access it in the middle of the night. Most of the time he would sleep with his clothes on so that he would not have to take them off at all. And if it got really bad he would just go lay in the hallway and sleep in the hallway all night. Was it weird? Yes. Did people talk about him behind his back? Yes. But he was trying to win the war against sin and he was doing whatever was necessary to win. He knew people would be saying things, he knew that he would be considered odd, but he didnt let that fear keep him from winning the war. The same is true in the battle with our flesh. We are in a war and because of that we need to push through our fear and win the war at all costs. And these are the types of people that God needs in this day and age. He needs people that are ready to utilize their strengths and willing to overcome their fear

and not let that hold them back so that the kingdom can advance. And that is the question that all of us need to answer tonight, are we that person?