Summary: A quick obedience saves a lot of headaches.
A Stitch in Time
PPT 1 Series Title
The book of Judges might also be titled, “Heroes,” because it is a record of the men and women God used to rescue the children of Israel from the continual messes they found themselves in. The Judge was almost always a military leader, and an arbiter of legal matters. The two exceptions to that rule were, a woman named Deborah, and a man named Samuel, both of whom were not military leaders but were prophets, they did not go to war, but gave spiritual counsel to others who did.
Israel began (After Egypt) with a prophet at the helm (Moses), followed by a military leader, (Joshua), then had 400 years of vacancies or the judges leading them, it was a loose confederation of tribes, there was no organized kingdom. Samuel was the last judge and after him Israel transitioned to a nation with a king ruling over them. I said when I started this series that I didn’t want to focus on the negative, that Israel was always messing up and disobeying God, but on the heroes God used to get them out of messes they kept winding up in.
However I am going to use this one message to talk about the fatal mistake Israel kept making. It was the same mistake over and over and over again. Very simply it was that they didn’t obey the Lord. Or the same sin with a sinister variation, they didn’t obey the Lord immediately. With that in mind I have titled this message
PPT 2 Message Title, “A Stitch in Time.”
Finish the quote for me, “A stitch in time... Saves nine.” If people would do what God told them to do... And not do what he told them not to do
Now lets look at a passage from the book of Judges
PPT 3,4 text
Judges 3:1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them ([that is,] all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan;
Judges 3:2 only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly).
Judges 3:3 [These nations are:] the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath.
Judges 3:4 And they were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses.
Most often in life people take the approach that it is God who has to prove His love for them.
God if you love me...
Give me this thing I want
Heal me, take this problem away.
You get the idea, but the very same people rarely if ever consider the idea that God might say to them, “If you love me do this thing...”
Today I am here to challenge us with the question and idea, “what does God want us to do to show we love Him?”
Now when we want God to show He loves us, the thing we want is always something for our perceived benefit.
The amazing thing about when we flip that equation, when God wants us to do something to show we love Him, the thing He wants is always for our benefit or the benefit of others not His!
If we get rid of the Philistines who benefits? Us or God? Us.
That is my introduction, now let’s get into this message. I want to begin with my favorite definition of obedience, and show you why I think it is so good.
PPT 5 Definition obedience
Immediate compliance with the initial prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Now let me give you an example from both the New and Old Testaments will help you understand this definition. Here they are: (First the New)
Mr 1:16 And as He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen.
Mr 1:17 And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."
Mr 1:18 And they immediately left the nets and followed Him.
They left their job immediately. Think about that.
Here is a quote from Spurgeon, “Tomorrow is blood read with the murder of fair resolutions.”
The world is full to overflowing with people who have been stirred by good intentions, but who rarely follow through on them.
A couple years ago we planted some cherry trees. Cherry trees have beautiful blossoms, but if those blossoms are not pollinated by wind or bees you get no fruit. First year we got no fruit. I got two trees that wouldn’t cross pollinate. Last year I got another tree, but it flowers at a different time. So I got some strawberry plants and had lots of berries. Which were sad to say stolen by the birds. So this year I put netting up around my trees. Take that birds!