Mockery in the Service of God

“Thus, Ehud made for himself a dagger (and it had two mouths) a cubit in length. And he bound it to himself under his robe on his right side. And he took the gift to Eglon, the king of Moab. Now, Eglon was a very fat man.”

(Judges 3:16-17)

As the elements of this story are laid out, you can almost hear the elders of the family telling the story to the children around a fire or a dinner table, all the while, the children (who have heard the account numerous times), giggling in anticipation for what comes next. You have the making of the 18” long dagger, the tribute or gift mentioned again (and again in the context of the dagger) and that it is hidden under his robes, so there is some intrigue afoot. Further, we are told that the “fattened calf,” Eglon is a fattened man as well. As a storyteller, this is the point in the story where you feign fatigue and tell the children it is time for bed and we will resume the next night. It is also the point where the children cry out, “Noooooo!”

And so, the fun of the story continues. When the dagger is introduced, it is introduced as having “two mouths,” a reference to the double-entendre of this account, though the natural interpretation is that it is two-edged. Its mouth can cut in both directions. Further, Ehud hides it in an inconspicuous spot to avoid detection (perhaps we can equate Ehud with an ancient James Bond…just a thought). Anyway, the story unfolds.

One thing that I think we miss, in our “politically-incorrect-aphobic” society is the value of being able to genuinely mock those who honestly deserve to be mocked. Even God mocks those who raise their puny fists into the air against him (Psalm 2:4). Eglon, though raised up by God to punish the people for their idolatry, has still raised his fist against the people of God and thus against God himself. Similarly, while there are many who aim their wrecking balls at the true church, God assures us that those who take refuge in Him will never be destroyed (Psalm 34:19). And thus, those who target the church with their foolishness deserve to be mocked.

We, of course, need to be wise as to how we go about mocking, for some of those we mock may one day be called “brother” or “sister” in Christ. Yet, where those ideas are raised against the knowledge of God, we should not be shy about tearing them down. And where the ideas of the enemies of God are clearly foolishness, then the only right response is to point out their foolishness, which is mockery. Perhaps even, the embarrassment caused may be the tool that the Holy Spirit uses to illuminate the fool as to his foolishness. Otherwise, it leaves the fool with no excuse.

Mockery should not be spiteful nor should be be arrogant, it is simply the normal response, when one knows the truth, to the incredulous ideas that the fools espouse. And, it is my contention that if Christians paid more attention to what they believed, they would be more apt to recognize foolishness for what it is and respond accordingly.

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