Vol.XVI No.II Pg.1
April 1979

Just Plain Shamgar

Robert F. Turner

"And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who smote of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also saved Israel" (Jdg. 3:31).

Troy Mulhollan, one of our faithful members, used this as his text for a Wednesday night talk recently. He announced his subject, A Man Named Shamgar, and commented, "That isn't a household name around Burnet." True!

The man is mentioned only once more in the Bible — in Judges 5:6. And yet he, with Othniel (Jdg. 3:9-11), Ehud (3:15-30), and others more widely acclaimed, "also saved Israel." Does it really matter about "credits" if the deed is rightly done, and the doer serves his purpose in life?

Was Shamgar a simple working man-an ox driver? If so it wouldn't be the first or last time God used plain ordinary folk to accomplish His work. Jesus called fishermen, a tax collector, and such to announce salvation to the world. The potential in just plain folk, when serving God, is a sleeping giant. But your part can be played only when you throw off the debilitating concept that "God surely wouldn't use a nobody like me." In humble earthen vessels the glory is clearly seen to be of God (2 Cor. 4:7).

Why did Shamgar use an ox goad? It may have been the only type of weapon available (1 Sam. 13:19-f.); or it may have been God's way of showing that the victory is not in armor but in the Lord (1 Sam. 17:47). Brother Troy said there was no way of knowing, but suggested this plain ordinary oxen driver may simply have used what he had. It is not a bad though with or without specific information.

If every plain, ordinary person could be persuaded to take what he or she has — in talent, money, opportunity — and put it to work for the Lord, we would begin to recognize the power of leaven in meal, of salt spread throughout the world, of tremendous candlepower. And, a dedicated worker will sharpen the goad, trim the candle, do whatever is possible to make the best use of what is available.

You exist for a divine purpose. There are no little people with God.