We are going to look at Judges 2:6-15 [read].
The NIV bible entitled this section “Disobedience and Defeat”.
• Two other words that I find appropriate to describe this chapter are compromise and complacency.
• They compromised on God’s command and became spiritually complacent. Spiritual apathy leads to apostasy. God is being squeezed out of their lives.
Allowing the enemies to co-exist means that Israel is being introduced to the Canaanite gods and their practices.
• Who would still remain faithful to Jehovah, the only true God? Only those who have experienced God first-hand.
• So we have this sad commentary, that only Joshua’s generation and the elders who outlived him, knew God and served Him.
• 2:10 – after that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers (they died) – the new generation knew not God or what He had done for Israel.
And the result was - 2:11 THEN … the Israelites did evil, served the Baals (lords) and forsook the Lord.
• The author painted this contrast. Verse 7 opens with “the people served the Lord” and verse 11 ends with “the people served the Baals”.
• They served the Lord because they “had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel” (2:7).
• And switched to the other gods because they “knew not God and what He had done for Israel” (cf. 2:10)
The implication is clear. There is a need for us to tell about God and His works.
• People needs to know and be reminded. Without God, Israel has lost their one true reference point.
• When that happens, Judges tells us “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6, 21:25)
• Recurrent expression in this book (2:11, 3:7, 3:12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, 13:1): “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord”. What they thought was right was wrong, and what God says was wrong, they thought was right.
At each Passover, the Israelites are supposed to tell the story of their deliverance all over again.
KEEP GOD IN SIGHT, TELL HIS STORIES
We want to talk about what God has done and is doing today. We want people to know how God saved us, how He provided for us, and how He led us.
• We say it, and keep saying it, because the next generation needs it.
• In our context, we say it because THIS generation desperately needs it.
We are living in a time just like the times of Judges. People do what is right in their own eyes.
• There are no absolutes, no black-and-white wrong or right. It all depends on what you like think.
• When we have no reference point (God) – singular, the source of truth, we define everything.
Let me share with you this beautiful psalm – Psalm 78:1-7
1 O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old -
3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, 6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
7 THEN they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
KEEP GOD IN SIGHT, TEACH HIS WORD
Joshua’s generation had the privilege of growing up under Moses’ tutelage. They heard the Word of God through him.
• Moses spent time with the Lord in the tabernacle and came out delivering God’s Word to the people, many times and with repetitions.
• That kept them on the toes. Despite the occasional lapses, on the whole, they knew God, heard HIm and feared Him.
God directed Moses to tell the people the need to teach His Word - Deut 6:1-2, 4-9
1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
It starts in the home. Parents are children’s FIRST line of teachers.
• Children are seated on the front row – they hear everything and see everything.
• The sense here is that we are to do everything we can – to impress, to talk about it - at home or outside, to write them down and tie them as symbols, bind them on foreheads, and on doorframes - as constant reminders.
It is a lifestyle of imparting spiritual knowledge.
• It is not just something we do for 2 hours during our DG time or Sunday School. It is a lifestyle of imparting God’s truth.
• It is deliberate and intentional. It cannot happen by chance.
Are you learning from the Word? If you are not, then we don’t even need to talk about influencing the next generation. We have already failed God at this point.
• We cannot give to others what we do not have.
• Be serious about learning God’s Word. They are safeguards to your soul and life.
Study the Word and keep God in sight by talking about it. It takes effort!
A business consultant decided to landscape his backyard. He hired a professional with a doctorate in horticulture, extremely knowledgeable and with many years of landscaping experience.
The businessman travels a lot, so he kept telling the contractor the need to create his garden in such a way that it would require minimum or no maintenance on his part. He insisted on putting up automated sprinklers, fertilizer dispensers, and other labour-saving devices.
Finally the contractor stopped and said to the man, "There's one thing you need to deal with before we go any further. If there's no gardener, there's no garden!"
From FIRST THINGS FIRST by Roger Merrill
If you are not going to work at it, you are not going to have a garden. You cannot automate everything in life. Your relationship with God is one of them!
• The responsibility lies with us. We want to know God by knowing His Word.
• And then we can share it with others and be a blessing.
The context here in Deut 6 is the home and sometimes such passages give parents a lot of pressure. Always remember this, we cannot change lives, only God can.
• We are responsible to TEACH the Word of God. Everyone is responsible, eventually, for his or her own choices before God.
• We cannot take credit for the godly choices they make, neither are we responsible for the foolish choices they make. We teach and pray for God’s grace to come upon them.
When we teach the truth, it does not guarantee success.
But when we don’t, it is guaranteed to fail.
This is OUR calling. Not just for parents, or pastors or Sunday School teachers.
• Jesus says in the great commission (Matt 28:19-20) - go and make disciples, by teaching them to “obey everything I have commanded you.”
• He was not talking to parents or pastors but every believer. We cannot abdicate this responsibility.
• Everyone who is a serious follower of Christ teaches others to obey Christ.
• God expects that from us because we know Him and we know His Word.
KEEP GOD IN SIGHT, GUARD YOUR HEART
Joshua’s generation fought to get this land and they experienced God’s help.
• The new generation “inherited” this rest and comfort. They had nothing to fight for. They began to feel they do not need God.
• They do their own things and they suffered. And each time they were oppressed, they came back to God crying. God responded each time and raised up judges to deliver them.
• This cycle repeats itself throughout the book of Judges.
This is a reminder to us. The previous generations fought hard to give us what we have. In a sense, as 2nd or 3rd generation believers, we enter into their blessings and enjoy the comfort of their struggles.
• TREASURE this and guard your heart. Remember God’s blessings.
• There is nothing wrong with an easy life but with that kind of comfort, we tend to drift from God. We don’t really “need” Him.
• We become indifferent to God’s call, we become oblivious to the plight of men. We are enjoying our own lives.
Guard your heart. Remember that we have a calling. We are to tell the world WHO God and WHAT He has done for us.
• KEEP GOD IN SIGHT – tell His stories, teach His Word and guard your heart.