June 1, 2023
“Nahash the Ammonite came up and laid siege to Jabesh-Gilead. All the men of Jabesh said to him, ‘Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.’ Nahash the Ammonite replied...”
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“Nahash the Ammonite came up and laid siege to Jabesh-Gilead. All the men of Jabesh said to him, ‘Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.’ Nahash the Ammonite replied, ‘I’ll make a covenant with you on this condition: that I gouge out everyone’s right eye and humiliate all Israel.’ ‘Don’t do anything to us for seven days,’ the elders of Jabesh said to him, ‘and let us send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. If no one saves us, we will surrender to you.’” 1 Samuel 11:1-3 (HCSB)
Such is the arrogance the world has for God’s people! The Ammonite mind was not to simply defeat the people and exploit their resources but to humiliate and mock them.
So, why gouge out an eye, and the right eye for that matter? Most people are right-handed. Try closing your right eye and waving your right hand. No matter how frantically you wave it, your hand does not come into sight until it is almost to your nose. Now, take into consideration a man in battle. He carries a sword in his right hand and holds a shield over his left eye as he marches forth, slashing away.
By gouging out the right eye of every man, the Ammonites are ensuring never-ending subservience, for it made most men unfit for military service. Notice Nahash’s plan was to eventually humiliate ALL Israel, perhaps, one tribe at a time. In his arrogance and overconfidence, Nahash made a crucial slip-up. He gave the men of Jabesh-Gilead an opportunity to gather support. Even today, the Enemy picks us off, one by one, because he is confident Christians will not work together. Nor does he believe Christians will rely on God’s Spirit but will try and collaborate with other oppressed believers to develop some man-made rescue attempt.
The whole scenario brings to mind the words of Jesus:
“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” Matthew 5:29-30 (NASB)
Jesus is saying our self-reliance is actually part of our problem! Gouge out the right eye, and we can’t see to fight with our right hand. Cut off our right hand, and we’re completely useless for conventional battle. But aren’t we in a spiritual battle? Rely on His Spirit, and heaven’s forces will rally around you!
Notice how the Bible says the Spirit of God “rushed” upon Saul. (v.6a) When God’s people humble themselves and seek Him as their only source of salvation, no physical, financial, relational, or other disabilities can hinder God from accomplishing His purposes in, for, and through them.
©Steve Wiggins 2021