Judges 12QUESTION: Impediments to Speech - 1ANSWER:Judges 12 – Part 1
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
The band on stage at the Dive Chapel that Sunday was a group of young ladies called “Pebbles”. They played rocking praise music, then transitioned into a soft, worshipful version of Psalm 40. . .
“I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me, and heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.”
The music was soft, acoustic. The vocal harmonies tugged at the heartstrings of the 400-plus member congregation. People stood, eyes closed, hands raised, in worship.
As the final chords of the songs resonated, Pastor Nathan Shepherd stepped to the front of the warehouse church. He stood on the concrete floor below the stage.
“Oh, kind Father, help Lord, we beg of you, to teach us to wait patiently upon You. So often we feel as if we are sinking in quick sand with no hope of life. But we know, we know, Lord, that you are with us. Even when it feels like you aren’t there, when we don’t hear you, Father, when we want to just stop in our tracks and weep… cry out to You in anguish. We believe that You are close by, inclined to us, and You WILL hear our cry. Thank You, oh Great Creator, for caring for us as only You can. Amen.”
“Okay, gang, this morning I want to take a few minutes and tell you about the ministries we’re involved in at the Dive Chapel and, hopefully, if you aren’t working, praying, and/or supporting one of these ministries, this will push you to become involved. I use that word ‘push’ and many of you know what that stands for. P – U – S – H, pray until something happens!
“First of all, the church, the Dive Chapel meets on Sunday mornings for praise, worship and teaching time. On Sunday nights we have a pizza party at 6:30. That’s your chance to come and pig out on pizza, but also to ask questions about that morning’s teaching. We all, including me, sit on the floor right here in this room and have a good old time discussing the Scripture.
“Monday nights we have a ladies’ Bible study that’s lead by my wife, Maya. It starts at seven. Right now, they are going through the book of Hosea. I’m not allowed to show up, but I keep hearing great things about that time. Tuesday nights, starting about six, we pull a couple of portable basketball goals in here and have ‘Guys’ night in’. We play round ball until about eight or so and then do about twenty minutes of Bible study. We’re currently in Colossians.
“The church is closely associated with a ministry here in town that I work for during the week. It’s called Reef Restoration Ministries and we do reef rescue, reclamation, and relief work. For any of you who aren’t familiar with RRM, we bring in college interns – juniors and seniors – in the marine biology fields of study and they get college credit for spending a semester working with us. We spend a lot of time examining the reef around here, the indigenous fish populations, and talking about Jesus the Creator. It’s really, really cool.
“Finally, we’ve got an outreach, foreign missions sort of, on the Caribbean island of Barbuda. It’s a long story, but we were given fourteen acres on the eastern shore of that small island a few years ago and we’ve got some friends down there who minister to the islanders. Actually, there are fewer permanent residents of Barbuda than there are average attenders here at the Dive Chapel on a given Sunday. We want to do a semester of study down there on the offshore reefs at some point.”
Nathan looked around the audience and said, “Are there any questions? We’d really like for you to get involved and you can find info sheets on all of these things back on the tables as you go out today.
“Okay, after that long intro, let’s jump into Judges, chapter 12. Remember last week we talked about Jephthah. He was a pirate, an army general, frankly a guy who got things done in a worldly way. But was he a bramble? We talked about the Lord’s leadership model in Judges 9 when we dissected Jotham’s parable. A bramble was defined as a self-aggrandizing leader who was low to the ground and ultimately brought destructive fire on the nation.Judges 12 – Read Part 2!