After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel (Judges 3:31).
You may not have heard of Shamgar the son of Anath. He only appears in one verse in the Bible. He was an ordinary farmer, seemingly a nobody.
But he had a massive impact.
When his family and his nation were being threatened, he overcame an onslaught of 600 enemy warriors. And he did it with an ox goad.
In case you’re wondering, an ox goad is a farm tool used to keep oxen moving when they don’t want to plow anymore. It’s a wooden pole with a sharp point on the end. Shamgar took this unremarkable farm implement and destroyed 600 trained and armed warriors. He overcame incredible odds and achieved incredible victory.
Could you use some victory in your life? I don’t know what problems you’re facing today. I don’t know what kind of attack you’re dealing with. But I do know three secrets that brought success to Shamgar, and they can to the same for you.
- Start where you are. Shamgar started where he was. He wasn’t in a powerful position. He didn’t have prestige and influence. He wasn’t famous, or wealthy. But he didn’t wait for a more opportune time. He didn’t wait until things got better. He didn’t wait for a promotion or a raise. He started where he was.
You can waste your life waiting for things to be different before you do something. Get started. Today is the right time and where you are now is the right place. Move forward. Take action. Start where you are.
- Use what you’ve got.You may think your resources are too limited to be successful, but remember Shamgar’s only resources were his bare hands and an ox goad.I imagine him looking at the approaching enemy, then looking down and seeing the ox goad in his hand, ready to be used.
He used what he had. He didn’t have a Black Hawk helicopter or a team of trained Navy Seals. He didn’t even have a rusty sword. But he used what he had to destroy the enemy and save his family and his nation.
You may not have an ox goad, but everyone has these three things:
- A skill, a talent, or a strength that can be used to bring victory. Just as God gave Shamgar an ox goad to win the battle he faced, God has given you what you need to win the battle you face. Stop focusing on what you don’t have and concentrate on what you do have.
- A dream that motivates you and makes you unstoppable. A dream is an inward picture of the future we desire. A God-given dream helps us reach our destiny. Know where you’re going, and follow the dream God puts in your heart.
- Passion and enthusiasm. Shagmar didn’t demolish 600 enemy warriors without passion. He was passionate about overcoming the enemy. Everyone is passionate about something. What are you passionate about? When we allow God to channel our passion in the right direction, strongholds are broken and victories are won.
- Do what you can. The first and most powerful thing you can do is pray. Remember, the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (see James 5:16). Whatever you’re facing, cover it with fervent prayer.
Second, stay focused. Shamgar wasn’t distracted by the weather, his crops, or what he was going to have for dinner. He stayed focused on the battle. It’s easy to become distracted by the smaller issues in our lives and lose sight of the important things. The apostle Paul said, “This one thing I do,” not “These fifty things I dabble in” (See Phil. 3:13). Know what matters and maintain your focus.
Finally, never give up. Never stop trying. Never stop trusting God. Don’t allow discouragement or doubt to overtake you. Regret looks back. Worry looks around. But victory looks up.When things get tough and there doesn’t seem to a way out, stand up, look up, believe God, and keep going. You’re not finished unless you quit.
We all have a God-given purpose. We have battles to fight—and victories to win! Don’t waste a single day of your life trying to substitute other things for the destiny God has planned for you. God put that destiny inside you. He wants you to live it out.
Don’t wait. Start where you are. Use what you have. And do what you can. Then watch the plan of God unfold in your life.