Judges 1 – Part 3QUESTION: The Ravages of Gossip - 3ANSWER:Judges 1 - Part 3
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“Now in verses 27 through 36 of Judges one, there’s a long, repetitive litany of ‘this tribe failed to drive out these Canaanites and they all dwelt together in the mountains and/or valleys.’ Ouch. They did exactly the opposite of what God commanded them to do. But watch this: they rationalized over and over, coming up with lame excuses for not driving out the pagan inhabitants. The leaders decided it would be better to tax the Canaanites and the Amorites than to slaughter them or drive them to other lands. Could it be that, in their own strength, they didn’t think they could conquer all of these cities? Or, like we do many times, were they just serving mammon?
“I always picture a little accountant type – my wife is a CPA, so I’ve got a real soft spot for accountants – standing up and saying, ‘hey, umm, guys, didn’t the Lord Almighty tell us clearly to wipe these jokers off the face of the Earth? The last thing we should do is let them live amongst...’
“And then I see the tribe’s leaders saying something cutting like, ‘shut up and count the beans you green-eye-shaded little worm.’
“As we’ll see throughout the book of Judges, they – and we today – are totally in for it if we don’t deal with our Amorites of sin right after our salvation. But very, very few, if any, of us do. So the Amorites of sin dwell amongst us and they keep jumping up to bite us, hour after hour after hour.
“So, if I’m reading Judges 1 correctly, our insecurities lead us to trust things and people other than God, and that causes us to co-habitate with sin and not do what He commands, that leads to negative attitudes and gossip, which leads us into slavery to sin.
“It’s a very painful memory for me when I think back to the effect of the first time I cut somebody down. It was in third grade and this little kid sat next to me all year in school. We were friends. We talked about stuff, worked on science projects, swapped lunchbox stuff and traded baseball cards. Near the end of that school year, out on the playground, we were playing basketball with some older kids and my friend wasn’t very good. Back in those days, and for several years after that, I basically worshiped basketball and wanted the big kids to think I was a cool guy and a good player. Somehow, I started cutting down my third grade friend. To this day, I don’t know why I did it, but I clearly remember the hurt look on his face and the disappointment in his eyes when I blathered out some cutting remark and the big kids laughed.
“We were never really friends after that. After I got saved, I longed to go back to my hometown and look that guy up and ask him for forgiveness. But he died in a car accident a few months after we graduated. I'm still haunted by the hurt in his eyes that sunny June day at the end of third grade. If you have hurt someone with your words, pray about going to them this week and asking forgiveness. Jesus longs for us to speak joy and life and encouragement into any situation in which we find ourselves."Judges 2 – Go!