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Men Who Beat the Odds, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2021 8:00 am

Men Who Beat the Odds, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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April 15, 2021 8:00 am

A lot of times, when we try to size up our circumstances, the odds against us can seem overwhelming. But Dr. Tony Evans is here to tell us about some important factors we may have left out of the equation.

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When God is ready to move, He don't need a bunch of stuff, but He needs to own the stuff. Dr. Tony Evans talks about the importance of putting everything in God's hands, especially when the odds are stacked against us. When you take what you have and God can get a hold of it right, you will be amazed at what He can do with it. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. A lot of times when we try to size up our circumstances, the odds against us can seem overwhelming.

But today, Dr. Evans talks about some important factors we may have left out of the equation. Let's join him. A man went to a pet shop that happened to have a talking parrot. And when the parrot saw the man walk in, the parrot said, Mr., you ain't nothing but a punk.

Of course, the man was shocked and miffed that a parrot would be trained to say such a thing, but he ignored it. The next day he had to come back to the pet shop and the parrot was there again. And when he walked in the door, the parrot said, Mr., you're nothing but a punk.

But he ignored it a second time. The third time he went into the pet shop, the parrot again said, Mr., you're nothing but a punk. So the man goes over to the owner and he tells the owner, you need to teach your parrot some manners. Because your parrot, I don't know who taught him this, but he insults me every time I come in here. He tells me, Mr., you're nothing but a punk. And I am insulted. The owner of the pet shop said, I'll take care of it. I'll handle it. So the owner of the pet shop talked to the parrot and let the parrot know that you can't be talking like that to our customers.

You can't be insulting people who come in here to frequent our business. Lo and behold, a few days later, the man returns. The parrot sees him walking through the door.

The parrot says, Mr., you know. Sometimes the devil wants to keep reminding us of what's wrong with us. Sometimes using whatever language he can come up with, he wants to keep us down, ineffective, and without impact. And even when he doesn't say it directly, he finds some other way to keep us from maximizing our spiritual potential. In our verse today, you read about a man named Shemgar. There are only two verses in the Bible that mention his name. Chapter 3, verse 31 of Judges, chapter 5, verse 6 of Judges.

Yet, as we will discover, this man has a message for the men in this house today, for all of us, but especially for the men. We're told in chapter 5, verse 6 that during the days of Shemgar, nobody was traveling along the highways. They went in roundabout ways.

The main highways had been deserted. And if men wanted to go somewhere, if people wanted to travel, they had to go roundabout ways. They had to go on the dirt roads. They had to go on the side roads.

They couldn't go on the main fair affairs. To understand why we're told that, you have to understand the book of Judges. You see, the book of Judges talks about God's people in a failed scenario. Judges 21, verse 25 says that there was no king in those days, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

So, during the days of the judges, this was a time of what we would call the day postmodernism. No absolutes existed. Everybody had their own truth. Everybody did what was right in their own eyes.

Everybody dealt with situations based on how they felt about it. There was no governing standard that governed everybody, so people made up their own rules, leading to cultural chaos. So, when you read throughout the book of Judges, there's one chaos after another chaos. There's family chaos. There's community chaos. There's national chaos. There's all kind of violence.

There's all kind of scenarios that was tearing people apart. It was a calamitous situation in Israel because there was no standard in those days. So, people individually became their own god, became their own king, and did their own thing because they were their own standard.

There was no super intending, governing guidance to which all the people subscribed. Enter the Philistines. The Philistines were the enemies of Israel. When they saw the chaos in the society, they took that as an invitation to take advantage of a disintegrating culture. Since the folk can't get along, since everybody else is making up their own rules, since there's chaos everywhere we look, we, the Philistines, are going to invade Israel. So, you have an invasion occurring. That's why it talks about him slaying the Philistines because you have chaos.

Now, you don't need to read the Bible to see what that looks like. All you got to do is read the newspaper or look at the news and you will see today we are in a chaotic situation because people have made up their own rules about life, about sexuality, about race, about culture, about class. Nobody getting along with anybody. And there's conflict in a person's own life, in our family's frame, in our communities divided over all of these issues. And so, you get arguments back and forth and back and forth and marches about this and complaints about that. And there is chaos which always sets the stage for the enemy to invade the environment. So, don't be surprised when things get worse when there is no standard to which all can appeal as an absolute standard. If your child goes to college today, it will be made inextricably clear that there are no absolutes. You make up the rules.

And so, we've got people redefining themselves, coming up with new words for themselves, coming up with new definitions of themselves. Why? Because there's no abiding rules. And so, what is the culture doing trying to accommodate it?

Why? Because there was no standard in those days. And so, everybody did what was right in their own eyes. In our culture, we were birthed in a Judeo-Christian ethic. It was not obviously perfectly applied, but it was there to appeal to.

Today, there is no standard that we can appeal to because everybody has their own. So, that was the situation that brings us Shemgar, a chaotic situation of violence, of terrorism, of cultural collapse, of people defining themselves not by God, but by their own thinking, their own feelings, or their own information, opening the door for the Philistines to invade the land, which affected commerce because you could not do the main roads anymore. So, any business that you needed to conduct, anybody you wanted to visit, you had to find a side way to get to them. You had to go roundabout, because if you showed up on that major highway, the Philistines were going to get you. They had shut down mobility in the culture.

So, you've got major cultural collapse. In the midst of the crisis, we have 22 words. Judges chapter 3 verse 31, 22 words about a man named Shemgar. But these are 22 powerful, powerful words that gives each of us, but especially the men here, principles by which if you grab them, understand them, and inculcate them, how you can make a difference in spite of how bad things are.

And trust me, if we don't make a difference, they're only going to get worse before they get better. After him, that is after the previous judge, Ehud, came, we're told, Shemgar. Now, the first thing I want you to note about Shemgar is what he did before he became a judge. Because it says he slew 600 Philistines with an ox gourd.

So that tells us what his job was before he became a judge over Israel. He's a farmer. Because an ox gourd is a eight-foot pole with a sharp metal tip on one end and a flat chisel area on the other end. So this was a very important tool in the hand of a farmer. Farmers had ox goats. So, we find out about Shemgar that he doesn't start off as a judge, he starts off as a farmer.

Now, why do you need to know that? You need to know that because the first thing you and I need to do is start where you are. You don't start where you want to be, you start where you are. A lot of folks are waiting until they get more money, more education, higher position, more notoriety before they do anything. Many people are praying for God to do something big when God can't get them to move on something small. He doesn't start out as the big name in Scripture.

All this man is doing is plowing his field. Unless you are willing to let God use you where you are, then you will keep him from doing with you where he ultimately wants you to go. Dr. Evans says that's exactly the problem we're facing in our modern Me First culture. He'll come back with some thoughts about that in just a moment. First though, I want to tell you about his brand new book, Kingdom Men Rising. This just released title empowers men to be strong, courageous, loving leaders at home, at work, at church, and in the community. You learn how to reject society's warped image of manhood and replace it with the biblical blueprint God had in mind when he created you.

What becomes of the next generation of men depends on what happens with this one. That's why we want you to be one of the first to have a copy of the new Kingdom Men Rising book as our thank you gift when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on the station. Along with it, we'll send you all 12 messages in Tony's Kingdom Men Rising series as a bonus.

You can get them on CD or digital download. But this limited time offer won't last long, so be sure to get in touch with us today to get the details and make the arrangements. You can do that online at tonyevans.org. And while you're there, you can also check out getting a copy of the Kingdom Men Rising Bible study that can help you dig even deeper and assist in sharing this important biblical insight with others. Once again, that's tonyevans.org. Or reach out to our resource center at 1-800-800-3222 any time of the day or night. That's 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that information for you right after part two of today's lesson.

Here's Dr. Evans. We are living in a day when people are refusing to do what God says now hoping that God will do something else bigger for them later. You start where you are, you don't start where you aren't. There are many things in God's kingdom that do not get done because He's waiting on God's people to move with where they are right now. Stop waiting on God because God is tired of waiting on you and me and us. If there is no movement where you are, then what you're saying is, I don't trust God here.

I'm only going to trust Him when I go there. Shemgar, we find him on a farm. However, even though he was on the farm, he was not satisfied with the conditions in which he was having to farm. Because we're told what was happening in the days of Shemgar. So even though he was a farmer, he had a vision for a better community in which to live.

One no longer run by the terrorists or the gangs. One of the things we must have along with fulfilling what God has given us today is a vision for a better future. You're supposed to be a vision caster.

Why? Because without a vision, people perish. The reason why many men are having trouble with their wives is they've never given their wives a vision for where the family's going. So since she doesn't have your vision to follow, she creates her own. Then you get mad that she going in her own way when you've not given her a dream to go your way. So it is the man's role to cast a vision.

This is where we are. I don't like things as they are, so I'm going to seek God to give me a vision for what he wants to do to take it from where it is to where he wants it to be. Shemgar is a farmer, but he's dissatisfied with the conditions.

But because he's a man of vision, it dawns on him. I can use this ox goad for more than farming. I can use this ox goad to make this a better place to live, work, play, raise a family.

I can use this tool to do something more. God wants you to start right where you are, but guess what else he wants? He wants you to use what he's already given you. You see, he's already had an ox goad. He's already got that right in his hand. He just never knew it could be used for more than farming until it dawned on him one day, wait a minute, I already have what I need to get what God wants me to do done. See, a lot of folks are looking for new stuff when God has already given us the old stuff if we would ever learn to use it for his purposes.

But because we've been so secularized in thinking, we use it for our growth, our income, our notoriety, our prestige, and we forget that there is something bigger on the stage. It says that he slew 600 Philistines with the ox goad. Now, let's talk about the odds. That's 600 to 1 odds.

That's big odds. Now, I know a lot of men in here have things against you, but it's probably not 600 to 1. This is 600 Philistines against one guy who only has one tool. He slew 600 Philistines with one ox goad. Because when you take what you have and God can get a hold of it right, you will be amazed at what he can do with it.

He has one ox goad and this one ox goad gets rid of 600 problems. He had one tool, but because he knew how to use the one tool the right way under divine influence, it was able to get the job done. When God is ready to move, he don't need a bunch of stuff, but he needs to own the stuff. God asks Moses, Moses, what is that in your hand? He says, it's a shepherd's hook. God told him, well throw it down.

He throws it down and all of a sudden it becomes a snake. So Moses runs, because it's a poisonous snake. Then God says, Moses, pick it up by the tail. Sometimes God will ask you to demonstrate your faith by asking you to do something opposite to your logic. Because what's getting a lot of us in trouble is our human understanding, our human logic.

This is the way we raise, this is what they taught me in school, this is what I'm used to, this is what I think, this is how I feel. And God said, totally something else, and we never get around to the something else, so we never see what our ox goad is. Moses picks it up by the tail. It becomes a shepherd's hook again. Only now he can use it for more than leading sheep, because now he can go to Pharaoh and say, God said, let my people go. He can turn water into blood, he can get lice to come down, he can get frogs, and then he can come to the Red Sea and hold it up, and the Red Sea opens up. And then he can stand on the mountain while they were fighting in the valley, and it says whenever he held the rod up, God's people would prevail, but when the rod came down, God's people would lose.

Why? Because it was now no longer called the rod of Moses, it was now called the rod of God. If God could ever get a hold of the ox goad in your life, what he has handed you that he wants to use for something bigger than just your little small world, because you're dissatisfied with the confusion, you're dissatisfied with the crime, you're dissatisfied with the chaos, you're dissatisfied with the terrorism, but now you want to take what God has given you, hand it back to him. All David had was a stone, that's all he had, but he said, who is this uncircumcised Philistine that would taunt the armies of the living God? He just had a stone and a slingshot, but he also had one thing, he says, you come to me with all that equipment Goliath, I come to you in the name of the Lord. So let's see what he does with this stone when I let it go. Holy Ghost took the stone, drew it into Goliath's head, he chopped off Goliath's head. In other words, all he needed was what he had, it just had to get sanctified by God, so that it could now do something bigger than it could ever do on its own. All Samson had was the jawbone of a donkey, a thousand Philistines came against him, he put himself in the crevice of the rock, and the Bible says when the Spirit of God came on him, he slew 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.

Why? Because it was no longer just the jawbone of a donkey. God had gotten a hold of that thing, and he did something bigger with that than Samson could ever do on his own. All the little boy had was sardines and crackers, a couple of fish and some barley loaves, but Jesus turned it into a Moby Dick sandwich. But he only turned it into a Moby Dick sandwich when the little boy gave his sardines and crackers to Jesus Christ.

And when he gave it to Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ prayed over it, and it did something bigger than what the boy could ever do on its own. If you will allow God as a man to give you a vision for what he wants to do with your life, he will blow your mind as to how he can take a little and do a lot with it. Dr. Tony Evans will have more tomorrow on how the odds of victory can swing in our favor when he continues this lesson from his teaching series, Kingdom Men Rising.

I'll have more on that in just a moment. Every man wants to make a difference, to influence others to impact the world around him, and Tony Evans has written a powerful and personal book to show you how. Kingdom Men Rising, the long-awaited follow-up to Tony's previous bestseller, Kingdom Man, with over 400,000 copies sold, shows you how to take the next step on your journey to intentionally live as a man of influence right now. Get Kingdom Men Rising online at tonyevans.org or at your favorite Christian bookstore today. Together we rise. and sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional.

That's tonyevans.org. Also, if words like salvation and the idea of being born again aren't familiar to you, understanding what they really mean can change your life. The Bible says that every one of us has fallen short of God's standard. In other words, we've sinned, and that our only hope of heaven is trusting that Jesus' death paid the price to make it right. Learn more about how this truth can rewrite your future. Visit tonyevans.org and follow the link that says Jesus. Well, tomorrow, more from Dr. Evans about standing strong in the face of overwhelming opposition. I hope you'll be with us. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-01 21:48:54 / 2023-12-01 21:57:27 / 9

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