Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Judges 1:4-7 4 When Judah attacked, the LORD gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek. 5 It was there that they found Adoni-Bezek and fought against him, putting to rout the Canaanites and Perizzites. 6 Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes. 7 Then Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

Many years ago, my dad taught me that trick that looks like you are taking your thumb off.  I’m pretty good at it too.  I can take my thumb off with the best of them.  It’s fun to freak out the kids and watch their confused faces.  Of course, they know I am not really taking my thumb off.  They are smart enough to know that there would be blood and screaming and stuff if that really happened.  But it’s fun to make them ask, “how do you do that?”

Kicking off the book of Judges is a story about a guy getting his thumb taken off, his big toes too.  But it is no magic trick, no illusion.  They actually removed his thumbs and big toes.  That’s gotta hurt!  So why would they do something like this?  Why would they choose to cut of toes and thumbs?  Well, apparently this king had done the same thing to 70 other kings he had conquered.  That being said, this apparently wasn’t so unusual of a practice after all.  It seems as though they did this to disable the king and render him useless from battle.  Without big toes he would have terrible balance and would not be able to run effectively.  Without thumbs, he would not be able to hold a sword or a shield.  His ability to attack was rendered useless.

I wonder if there are things we should be doing to render our enemy useless. Our fight is not against an earthly king, but against the rulers and principalities of this world. In other words, our struggle is against Satan and his cronies.  And I think that we ought to do some things to make his attacks against us ineffective.  We ought to be inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on him, like calling to mind the cross and victory of Jesus.  There are other things that we can do to render him useless as well.  I will name just a few:

-Stand firm in our identity in Christ

-Clothe ourselves in righteousness and holiness

-Recognize temptation and resist it

-Pray on all occasions in every season

-Be humble and recognize our need for God

This is just a handful of general things we can do.  You may have some more specific to yourself.  It could be refusing to give way to fear or trusting the Lord in the midst of your circumstance.  Whatever the case, we need to work at rendering the enemy useless.  We cannot afford to allow him to defeat us when Christ has already defeated him. Let’s get some resolve today and cut off some thumbs and big toes!

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