Pastor Miles is back from a well-deserved four-week vacation ready to start our last message series, eight weeks before we move into our new building.
This week is the first of a series on the book of Judges, titled Home Exterminators. Today's message looks at Judges 3.
The book of Judges starts out with the death of Joshua leaving Israel with no king to rule them. So God appointed a Judge to rule over the children of Israel however they drifted away from God and the returned to Him as they were 'roped' into a loop of their own selfish and dysfunctional behavior.
Five-Step Cycle - ROPED In
The history of the Israelites in the time of Judges is a history of them rebelling and then returning to God over and over again.
Their nature during these times can be very similar to our own relationship with God, and how we seek him, fight him, and turn around and realize our mistakes only to do it all again.
Step One: Rebellious
Judges 3:7 says, So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord; They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs.
Miles pointed out that these people did what they thought was good in their own eyes but that our vision is unimportant. Only what God has said is good is good. And these actions in Judges 3:7 clearly are a violation of the first commandment that God had laid down for these people.
Now what about us? I find myself doing the same thing all the time, rebelling against what God has planned for me so that I can seek out my own selfish thoughts. And what happens next?
Step Two: Oppression
Now in Judges 3:8 the children of Israel were turned to slaves (Again!) and need I remind you that this is a cycle that Pastor Miles is going to show to us through out this book.
Now again what about us? We are enslaved ourselves when we reject God's plans for us. We are forced into a situation that isn't blessed.
A good example of this is buying an investment that we don't feel comfortable about or that God has indicated we shouldn't participate in. Usually that investment goes sour and our hard earned money is lost.
Or another example is dating someone we know isn't Godly (or we know we just shouldn't date) and we end up getting into a situation (or situations) that are bad; financially, spiritually, and physically.
Step Three: Prayer
Now after we realized that we screwed up and were rebellious and have paid the price for it we return to God in the only way we really can; prayer.
In Judges 3:9 we find that Israel is "crying out" to the Lord for help after being enslaved.
Like us, they were calling for help from the only one who could give it to them, the only one who could save them from their own sins and mistakes leading us to...
Step Four: Escape
Not just escape but supernatural escape! We see that in Judges 3:10 that Othniel was filled with the spirit of the Lord and he delivered his people out of slavery.
This was done through God as it couldn't have been done before otherwise they would have done it instead of being slaves for nearly a decade. Judges 3:8
How many times have we called on God for some help and it came in a way which we couldn't have conceived. Because God is all knowing and all seeing he knows what is best for us and has options in place for us that we don't have a clue about.
Step Five: Drowns
God drowns out our pain with peace. In Judges 3:11 it says that Othneil was the new judge and that the land was again in peace for forty years until he died. By living by God's plan we will find ourselves leaving in His peace, and there is only His peace otherwise there is chaos and disharmony.
However in the very next verse it is interesting to note that the children of Israel had already again fallen to evil and the cycle started again for a new generation.
It doesn't have to be like that for us (especially for those of us like me that have been through many cycles already) as we can just skip step 1 and 2, do 3 and have 4 & 5 for us all the time; as God wants for us.