Judges 1:7, “…Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, ….”
Understanding the Culture
This is one of those Bible stories that is only understood if the culture of the day is factored into its interpretation. In Bible times, a king would cut off the thumbs and great toes of his enemy. In so doing, he rendered them harmless for life. Is this more information than we need, or is there some subsurface and timeless truth hidden within this account of these kings having their thumbs and great toes cut off?
Keep in mind that, in those days, the two most important weapons a man had for war were his hands and his feet. Without toes, his mobility would be greatly restricted because he could not keep his sandals on his feet. Without thumbs, his ability to shoot a bow and arrow with any degree of accuracy would be impossible because he could not hold the arrow on the bow string. Therefore, whatever warring skills he had left after having his thumbs and great toes cut off were pretty much neutralized for life.
Protect What is Essential
Let us fast forward this story 2,000 years into our day. We see the events are different, but the principle remains the same. We are still in the battle. There are certain essential things that we cannot allow to be cut out of our lives if victory is to be ours in the Christian life. So is that the hidden truth in this story … to protect what is essential to winning the battles?
We all have heard of a brother who experienced “moral decapitation”. Do you wonder what Adam’s life was like after he had his “thumbs and great toes” cut off at the tree in the garden? We have read where Delilah cut off Samson’s hair (thumbs and great toes) and he lost his ministry. I am sure you know of some ministers of the gospel whose feet are no longer beautiful because his great toes are gone and his hands are disfigured.
Keep Your Thumbs and Toes
It is not my assignment in this devotional to name all of the essentials in the Christian life which are necessary for you to stay in the battle and, in so doing, be victorious. I leave that up to the Holy Spirit of God and your conscience. As a man who has fought the devil and, by the grace of God, kept his thumbs and great toes for more than half a century, I suggest we keep short accounts with sin. I know that advice may seem superficial, but it is Biblical. I do not believe men fall into sin, but gradually descend to the place of no return. Verses like “… let not the sun go down upon your wrath: …” (Ephesians 4:26) and they “… searched the scriptures daily, …” (Acts 17:11) are good advice for keeping your thumbs and great toes.