Thursday, October 27, 2011

Judges 1-3 Obedience to God is the Key

Children have plenty of excuses for breaking the rules of the home or not doing homework.
  • ·        I forgot my science book at school.
  • ·        The teacher didn’t explain how to do this.
  • ·        I didn’t hear you say to be home by 6:00.
  • ·        You didn’t say I couldn’t juggle 2 liter bottles in the living room.
  • ·        Everybody else gets to stay out until midnight.
  • ·        Oh, were you taking that cake to CBS?
The Israelites probably had their list of excuses for breaking the covenant with God.
We forgot the laws of Moses.
We didn’t know we had to kill everybody.
These pagans will make great servants.
Just being Good Neighbors
Only looking
The book of Judges takes its name from the history of the 14 men and one woman who delivered Israel from servitude. God did not choose a national leader to take Joshua’s place in the way had with Moses. The Hebrew word “to judge” carries the idea of ruling, liberating, and delivering. The phrase, “In those days there was no king in Israel,” appears four times in the book. The judges were to acknowledge God as their supreme ruler and invisible King in what was called a theocracy. The period of Judges lasted 350 years until Samuel, the last judge, anointed Saul, Israel's first king.

Ladies you may turn in your Bibles to Judges 1
Obedience to God is the key.
Rich Israel relaxes (1:1 - 2:5).
• Rejection of God causes Israel’s ruin (2:6 - 3:8).
• Israel repents and God rescues her repeatedly (3:9-31).

·        Rich Israel relaxes (1:1 - 2:5).
1 After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the LORD, “Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?”  2 The LORD answered, “Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands.”
The first battle 4-Judah attacked, the LORD gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek.  It was there that they fought against Adoni-Bezek and cut off his thumbs and big toes as he did to his enemies. Since he could no longer hold a sword or balance himself to lead in battle, he could no longer qualified as king. “Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.”

God keep his promised to fight for Israel as long as she was faithful. Verse 19 tells us the LORD was with the men of Judah and again in v.22 The house of Joseph attacked Bethel, and the LORD was with them.

However, verses 27-36 give a list of the remaining tribes and their failures to conquer the land God had given them. The Israelites had relaxed their standards and did not finish what they started.


Winston Churchill’s quote during World War II would have been a good one for Israel to remember. “We shall neither fail nor falter; we shall not weaken or tire...give us the tools and we will finish the job.”

“The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit. I want to run all the way with the flame of my torch still lit for Him.” Joseph Stowell


Israel dropped her torch before she reached the finish line. Her people failed to realize that Obedience to God is the key to their success.

Rejection of God causes Israel’s ruin (2:6 - 3:8).

1 The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? 3 Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.”

 Another incidence of Christophany-foreshadow of Christ. Wesley’s commentary 2:1 The angel - Christ the angel of the covenant, often called the angel of the Lord, to whom the conduct of Israel out of Egypt into Canaan, is frequently ascribed. He alone could speak the following words in his own name and person; whereas created angels and prophets universally usher in their message with, Thus saith the Lord, or some equivalent expression.

Bokim means weepers. The people wept not because of their convictions of sin but because of the consequences of their actions. It is a sad and temporary repentance that never leads to salvation. Doesn’t that happen to our children and even ourselves. Obedience to God is the key.

J V McGee suggests that Chapter 2 outlines the entire book and God’s philosophy of human history. The words for “judge,” “judgment,” and “judged” are used 22 times. The word “evil” occurs 14 times. The people did evil and God raised up judges (vv. 11, 16). The people did evil because they did not obey God (vv. 2, 17). They did not obey because they did not believe God (v. 20).

 The cycle of history that they followed is given in verses 11 through 16.
Israel disobeyed God by not completely destroying all the wicked and corrupt nations from the land. They did evil, forsook God and worshipped other gods. True to His promise in Joshua 23, God did not fight for them but sold them into slavery and servitude at the hands of the surrounding nations. They cried out to the LORD and repented. Seven times they did this and seven times the Lord God in His mercy and grace raised up judges to deliver them.
Verse 19 says But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.

2:10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.

Can we lay the blame totally on this new generation? Who is at fault for this generation who did not know the LORD or His commandments?  In Deuteronomy 31 The priests were commanded to read aloud to the nation the book of the law every sabbatical year.
12 Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the aliens living in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. 13 Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Not only the priests and elders, but the parents too had failed to pass on the faith.
What are some things our children may have never seen that we cherish from the past? Eight track tapes, manual typewriters, roller skates with a key,  vinyl records, push mowers, and hand crank ice cream churns. I can remember taking turns sitting and turning.  When I became a teacher, I became a collector (maybe some would say a pack rat.) I still have a small vinyl record that I had as a child that played at 78 rpm. Today with MP3s and iPods, my children throw out anything that is not new. I call them the “disposable generation.” While my daughter may not share my love of the old and collectible, she does share my love of the LORD. She sings His praises and makes sure my grandsons are in church to learn God’s Word. We are commanded in Joel 1:3 (NIV1984)
3 Tell it to your children,
   and let your children tell it to their children,
   and their children to the next generation.
Obedience to God is the key. Are you being obedient to the LORD and telling your children the mercy and love of the LORD and all the blessing He has bestowed upon you?
Israel repents and God rescues her repeatedly (3:9-31).
Caleb’s legacy of faithfulness lives on in Judges.  In chapter 1 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, conquered the city of Debir and Caleb gave his daughter Ax-suh to him in marriage. The key to Othniel’s success was his obedience to God. Caleb’s daughter also had boldness enough to ask her father for springs of water in addition to the south land.
7 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. 8 The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Kushan Rishathaim king of Aram v. 9 After eight years of bondage, the people cried out and God raised up for them a deliverer Othniel, Caleb’s nephew and son-in-law. 10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, so that he became Israel’s judge and the LORD gave king of Aram into his hands. 11 So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel died.
As Sindy would say these Israelites remind me of shampoo. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
v.15-28 Ehud was chosen from the tribe of Benjamin to deliver the Israelites. Some commentaries claim he was not only left-handed but perhaps handicapped. He used this to his advantage as he bravely sought a private audience with Eglon the king of Moab. Ehud probably was not searched for weapons on the right thigh. His ploy, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” Gave him the time he needed. Verse 29-30 tells the rest of the story. 29 At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not a man escaped. 30 That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.
 31 After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.
 God can use any person or method to fulfill his plan.
Each day a lamb walked with his mother to the pasture. As he watched the pigs wallow in the mud it seemed like fun.  On an really hot day the lamb asked his mother if he could jump the fence and wallow in the cool mud. She replied, "No, Sheep don't wallow." This didn't satisfy the lamb. As soon as his mother was out of sight, he ran to the pig pen and jumped the fence. He was soon feeling the cool mud on his feet, legs, and stomach, as he wallowed deeper and deeper in the mud. After a while, he decided he had better go find his mother, but he couldn't move. He was stuck from the weight of the mud which had gotten into his wool. His pleasure had now become his prison. He cried out and was rescued by the kindly shepherd. When cleaned and returned to the fold, the mother rebuked him, "Remember, sheep don't wallow."
Sin is like that. It looks so nice, and we think we can escape whenever we wish, but it just isn't so. Our pleasures soon become our prisons. We must remember, "Christians don't wallow."
I have heard  my pastor repeat, “Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go.., Sin will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay..., and sin will cost you more than you can ever pay”
 The last verse in this book states: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” While most Israelites wallowed in wickedness, God continued to delivered His people and preserved a remnant. (LaHaye study bible)
The message is clear: Obedience to God is the key. If that’s the message, then what’s the application? There’s a message here for individuals and nations. As a believer, you have an obligation to God and your nation. You have an obligation to let other people know that obedience to God is the key.

Hebrew 12:10-11 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Closing Sentence: Will you choose to obey God? Will you share the message with others?