Judges 10 – Part 2QUESTION: Creation and Restoration - 2ANSWER:Judges 10 – Part 2
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“In verses three through five, we meet Jair who judged Israel for 22 years. He had his own police force. It says in verse 4 that ‘he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys’. Can you just see this posse of brothers? When a problem comes up, they take off in a cloud of dust to dole out justice. It makes you wonder what that might look like on an episode of ‘Cops’, doesn’t it?
“So, when Jair died, the nation of Israel had lived through 45 years of peace and quiet. But in that time of prosperity, their relationship with the Almighty went into the toilet. Verse 6 says, ‘Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals and Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and foresook the LORD and did not serve him.’ Look at that. How many gods were there? It looks like to me that the nation of Israel, each person, was serving every god in the world except for the real, true God. Wow.
“In verse 7, it says, the ‘anger of LORD was hot against Israel’ and the LORD allows the Ammonites and the Philistines to conquer Israel. They ‘harassed and oppressed’ them for eighteen years. Finally, the children of Israel cry out to God for help.
“Now let me ask you something: why did it take eighteen years for the children of Israel to cry out to the LORD? Could it be because they are just like us?
“America has lived in a time of prosperity for many years. Have we become complacent in our relationship with the LORD? I mean, how far are we missing it? Are we serving every god in there is – money, lust, power, comfort, gossip, cowardice, self – except the One, True God?
“Look at verse 14. God basically says He’s done with them. ‘Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.’ Man, oh man.
“That got their attention! In verses 15 and 16, the nation of Israel says that God can punish them, they deserve it. They pray fervently that He will deliver them and – watch this – they ‘put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD.’
“Then the LORD ‘could no longer endure the misery of Israel.’ And in Chapter 11 we’ll go to war with the Ammonites who’ve brought their army and camped out at Gilead.
“Note what the Israelites did. They repented. They confessed. No excuses, don’t explain, don’t complain. Admit your sin. Say to the LORD, ‘I was wrong. What is my punishment?’ Then, get rid of the sin. Purge it!
“In times of prosperity, it is so, so easy to slip away from God. We find ourselves spending less time in prayer and devotion and more time reading about the knowledge of the world. We turn away from praising the LORD and look after sensual images, sexy things. We don’t get around to reading the Bible and spend more and more time trying to figure out how to make money. It happens and it’s happening all around us.
“If you find yourself in that trap, turn back to God. Confess your sins. Submit to Him. Destroy those other gods. Many of you have heard me speak about repentance, rhythm, revival. When we are out of step with God, we must realize it first. Then, it’s the 3 R’s.
“Repentance is about confessing and changing. Turning the ship of sin around. Rhythm speaks to getting into synchronization with God’s plans. The only way to do that is to spend time with Him in the Word, in praise, and in prayer. Then, and only then, can He bring about revival in our lives and land.
“Do we need idiot lights like on the dashboard of your car to know when we are drifting? I don’t think so. I think the people of Jesus inherently know when we are not serving the LORD. I know it happens to me and I think it probably happens to you. Where are you at? Are you in the Word? Are you helping the needy? Are you speaking about Jesus to other people?
“It is so, so, so easy to slip away when things are good in the world. But that’s the issue – what does ‘good in the world’ mean. Does that contentment, by definition, mean that you are comfortable in the flesh?
“So I ask you, are you serving other gods today? Are you following Baal – the god of the intellect? How about Ashtoreth – the god of sensuality? Hmmm. What about Mammon – the god of money? Know this, in days of distress, you are going to have to call out to the god you are worshipping and living for. I just hope it is the one, true, living God.Judges 11 - Go!