Most of us would probably agree with the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The often ignored parallel idea states: “If it is
broken, do fix it.” There are many reasons why we don’t apply the second rule, but the main one is our failure to acknowledge the problem. We look at shattered relationships and chaotic situations and murmur, “It’s not that broken,” or “Maybe it’ll fix itself,” or “Let’s see how it looks tomorrow.” We end up living with broken things for years!
The people of Israel rarely maintained their relationship with God for long. They broke it by neglect and by deliberate action. They ignored Him and disobeyed Him. And then they refused, sometimes for decades, to admit anything was wrong. And the consequence of the broken relationship was slavery, poverty, humiliation and defeat. God would let things deteriorate until people finally cried out, “All right Lord, we admit it’s broken! We broke it! Please fix it!” Then God would send a mechanic, a handpicked fixer, who became known as a judge. We meet the first two of these judges in today’s reading: Othniel and Ehud. Each had a unique character and skill that God put to good use. Othniel was a warrior, and Ehud was a courier. Othniel delivered defeat; Ehud delivered a message. When the Bible introduces each of these judges, it tells us, “The LORD raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel” (Judg. 3:9,15).
The main point here is that God chooses and uses His servants according to His purposes. God placed the judges and filled them with His Spirit (3:10). Othniel, Ehud and the rest had unique skills, but their real contribution came as a result of God’s guidance. They brought about God’s will—God’s deliverance. When the people repented of sin, God intervened with human servants. God still makes unlikely heroes out of ordinary people. He accomplishes extraordinary good in our lives by unexpected means. His Word and
His Spirit are His primary tools. But He also fixes broken things using His servants, His churches, His Bible-teaching radio programs, His books— God delivers!
God doesn’t force deliverance on us. He patiently and lovingly waits for us to acknowledge the sin-chaos in our lives and say to Him, “All right, Lord, we admit it’s broken! We broke it! Please fix it!” Then He delivers.
God demands our attention. Judges 3:12 tells us, “The LORD strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel.” Does it ever feel to you like God lets bad things get worse in your life? The lesson is not to assume God is always punishing you, but to assume God always wants you to live in His will. If you make it your purpose not to do “evil in the sight of the LORD” (v. 12), but to walk with Him, you won’t have to worry when difficulties arise. What things in your life is He using to get your attention today? Will you make it your purpose to walk with Him?
Ask God for vision to see and courage to admit broken areas of life. Express your dependence on His deliverance. Meditate on Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and
strength, a very present help in trouble.”