Judges 3QUESTION: Obesity/Left-Handedness - 1ANSWER:Judges 3 – Part 1
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“Hey everybody, what a beautiful day to be in the Florida Keys, huh?” Nathan Shepherd, the pastor at the Dive Chapel in Candle Key, Florida, wore a huge smile as he encouraged the two hundred or so people in the semi-converted, concrete floored, bay front warehouse to turn to the book of Judges, chapter three.
“There are two main things that I want you to get out of this chapter and, although appropriate, eating right is not one of them.” Soft laughter filled the room. “I’m glad at least some of you read the text this week.
“We are back examining the same old circle of behavior that the Israelites of old and the Candle Key-ites of today continually face. It is a seven-step program and it’s not good. The top of the circle is us joyfully serving God. Then, we’re tempted, we have decisions to make and we tend to go off-road. Third, we succumb to sin. I do it. You do it, too. Fourth, we find ourselves enslaved to sin. Then, like the prodigal son, we find ourselves sorry about our sin and especially its consequences. So, at the sixth way point of the circle, we repent and the Lord delivers us from our sin. And we are back at the top of the circle – where we ought to be – joyfully serving God.
“The reason we are caught up in this cycle is that we, like the Israelites in the O.T., did not eradicate all of our Canaanites when we entered the land of our salvation. In verses one through twelve, we see the children of Israel in a quickview of the seven-step cycle. In verse 6, it says ‘they took the Canaanites’ daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to the Canaanites’ sons; and served the Canaanite gods.’
“Therein lies the whole problem. That is how we deal with the Canaanites of sin in our lives today. We do not detest them. We cohabit with them and it brings us down in the eyes of God. So the cycle continues in verses 7 and 8. Then, in verse 9, they cry out in repentance and in verse 10 God sends a Judge, a rescuer named Othniel. Othniel was Caleb’s nephew and he delivered Israel from the bondage of the king of Mesopotamia, Cushan-Rishathaim. See, they had hyphenated names way back then and I bet they would have had a lot of trouble fitting that one on the back of a football jersey.
“Anyway, Othniel judged or led Israel until he died, which gave them 40 years of peace, prosperity and walking with God. But after Othniel died, again came the slide…”
Chuckling and groaning could be heard throughout the room. Nathan looked up with a mock-hurt expression, then went back to the text.Judges 3 – Read Part 2!