Shamgar got only one verse.
Sure, he gets a glancing mention a few chapters later, but his contribution is described in just one verse.
Gideon got three chapters!
Samson got four!
Stuck scripturally between an obscure left-handed guy who shanks a fat king on a toilet, and a woman – Deborah (who by the way, got two chapters); Shamgar only gets one verse – “After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel” – Judges 3:31.
So, who was this guy – this “one-verse-wonder?”
His name is foreign. Some hold that he wasn’t even an Israelite. “Son of Anath” indicates that he was from Beth Anath (Judges 1:33), a wicked Canaanite city the tribe of Naphtali couldn’t drive out. Some believe that his family worshipped Anath – the evil pagan goddess of war – Baal’s kid sister. Yet others believe that “Son of Anath” was a military term meaning Shamgar was a great and proven warrior. This is for certain, whoever this guy was, his background was highly unorthodox. Great! One verse and ambiguity!
All we know is that on one day “Johnny-One-Verse” (whoever he was) took an oxgoad (a long wooden rod used to drive draft animals) and killed 50 dozen Philistine men with it – and according to the author of Judges (Samuel, Nathan, Gad, or D. All of the above) – “saved Israel.”
Here’s what I want you to get.
Shamgar played a part in the story God was telling. It was a bit-part, but, a part no less. Even though his background and family was a bit embarrassing – he played a part!
Even though he is mentioned in the most abbreviated way – he played a part! He is forever remembered and memorialized in Scripture (one verse out of 31,000) for doing something unreasonable and impossible for God’s glory – for doing something in his life and with his life he could never accomplish apart from God.
So, how about you?
Listen. God is still telling his story! From before the creation of the world when his lamb was slain (Revelation 13:8), he has been telling the epic story of all epic stories – the story of a King of Kings and Lord of Lords who went to scandalously loving lengths to rescue his subjects and make them his children! A true tale far greater than “Braveheart” on its best day! And here is the amazing thing – God is inviting you to be in it – to be a name in the rolling credits as his redemptive masterpiece continues.
Here’s the big-ticket question: Will you allow him to include you – even if it’s a verse or two?
Maybe like Shamgar, your background and past are a bit sketchy – God will write you in!
Maybe like Shamgar, you don’t have a lot to contribute – God will write you in!
God isn’t looking for a pristine resume.
God is looking for faithfulness.
God is looking for availability.
God is the master of taking little and making much!
He took six days and made a universe we’re still discovering.
He took one stone and killed a taunting giant.
He took five fish and two loaves of bread and fed thousands.
He took bread and wine and made a covenant meal and memorial for millions.
He took three nails and one cross and gave the entire world eternal hope!
Shamgar proved that one faithful and available life can make a big contribution.
Be a Shamgar and write your verse!
Steve Kiefer is the lead pastor at the First Christian Church in Suisun City. He can be reached at www.1stchristianchurch.org.