Summary: Everyone loves a vacation! It's when we get away to relax. We only carry people on our vacation who we like to spend time with. Do we take a vacation with God or From God? A must answer question
A Vacation from God
Judges 2:1-23, 21:25
• Every person in this building loves a vacation. This is summer time and vacations abound. It’s a time to rest, relax, and get away from the everyday pressures of life. This idea is to unwind and let what you are most comfortable with, take center stage. For instance, some take vacations & simply sit and read, others go camping, fishing, golf, sight-seeing, and the list goes on. The point is we take time to refuel (although today, many go so hard at the ‘pleasures’ of vacation that they have to come back and recoup from the pleasures – kind of weird).
• It’s kind of interesting, that some people take vacations WITH family while others take vacation FROM family. Consider that thought for just a second. Why would someone take a vacation FROM their family? The answer is ‘relationships.’ No one (purposely) goes ON vacation with a family member or a friend who causes them stress or other problems in their life.
• The title of this message is “Vacation from God” because as we will see in God’s word, the Jewish nation seemed to take a vacation from God when they could have vacationed with God. Years ago when I was a Music Minister, we had a man in the church who, when he went on vacation, would not consider attending worship. Even if he didn’t leave town, he would sit in his easy chair & take it easy and simply leave God out of his off time. Before we beat this man up, I have known others who go on vacation & have stayed within eye-sight of a church building, but they were on vacation so worshipping God was not done. Do we take God on vacation with us or leave Him out?
• As we read scripture & see the journey of the Jewish nation let us also see their journey through the lens of the United States of America (& we might find an application for the church).
• Let’s begin with Israel. God chose the Jewish Nation (Israel) as His own people!
• I submit that many in this room would have taken more permanent action had you been God and chosen this bunch of hard-heads, stiff-necked, arrogant, and self-serving people. Had I been God, things may have come out much different. After sending Moses & freeing them with those ten plagues – I would have become tired of hearing, “We would have been better off back in captivity!” I would have really quickly become tired of them attacking my man, Moses. My response would have probably been, “You really want to go back there? I can arrange that!” However, God didn’t and never will abandon His people. Make no mistake, God is serious about His people following Him and will send, shall I say, MOTIVATION for them to walk with Him.
• However, take a look at the progression & even results from taking a vacation from God;
1. It begins with DISOBEDIENCE. (V2) – God’s message to the Children of Israel was clear, “Obey me and I will take care of you”. God had provided them with extraordinary leaders in Moses and Joshua, had given them victories over their enemies, blessed them with a great land, and promised to stay with them always. However, God did have some rules – 10 of them to be exact. The first rule was THE MOST TESTING rule – “No Others Gods.” Walking in obedience is to have no other God in our lives. A god is anything which has first place in our lives. It can be sports, pleasure, job, family, etc – the list is endless. Taking a vacation from God means that you have, replaced God in your life. For the Children of Israel the issue was control, THEY wanted to control their own lives by doing things their own way. They felt like they ‘knew better’ than God so they chose their way over His thus, began their ‘vacation’ from Him. It seems they wanted a break – but it broke wrong.
2. Disobedience promotes Desertion (vs 12) – Verse 12 gives us a clear picture of this with the striking words – “They abandoned the Lord” and “They went after other gods.” When children come to the place that they are ‘too big’ to follow the instruction of their parents – they run off with the idea of doing their own things. They abandon or desert their parents for a while.
• This is a great illustration of how the COI (& us) respond to God when we want to take a vacation from Him. It’s rarely enough to walk away, most of the time, someone or something else becomes our object. Certainly this is true for the Children of Israel. It doesn’t stop there, it’s downward;