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Summary: Chapter 8 of The Story is about the book of Judges. A book full of relevant issues and powerful 'reveals' about God.

Breaking The Cycle

The Story Chapter 8

HEY – so how, is losing that hour of sleep working for everyone this morning…? Feeling awake? Feeling ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed?’

“excited and attentive… to be wide awake, not tired.”

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed comes direct and intact from the classic Fox Hunt. A fox with dull or cloudy eyes or a limp, listless ungroomed tail is one in poor health and will not provide a good active challenging chase over a long course.

NOW – I gotta to tell that I really love it when we fall back and in October and we get that extra hour of sleep… BUT – this loosing an hour of sleep, not so much. Yeah, I’m not feeling all that ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed… (like this fox that is ready to pounce on the little mouse)… IN FACT - I feel more like this kind of fox…

BUT HEY – it could be worse, we could have lost 2 hours…

QUESTION – when I say the word ‘Judge’… what words, thoughts or images into your mind?

GO AHEAD – and share your answers with the person next to you…

NOW – I think of words like… power, authority, punishment, pronouncing a sentence, sending to jail… black robes and banging gavels.

AND THESE are some of the images that come into my mind

(NOTE - I PUT IMAGES OF EACH OF THESE ON THE SCREEN)

Anyone know who that is? Judge Wapner

How about this one?

Judge Judy…

And this one?

Judge Mathis

And these 9 black robed people?

And of course this judge always comes to my mind…

Judge Dredd

Anyone know when the original JudgE Dredd (the ‘Sly Stalone One’) came out?

(1995)

AGAIN – when I think of a judge I think of someone in the position of authority who has the power to punish… wearing a robe and wielding a gavel… AND - for the most part a judge is not a guy I want to be standing in front of…

I MEAN – when I think of a Judge, I get the same feeling I get when I see those blue lights flashing behind me, when my wife (Laurie) is pulled over for speeding… no just kidding. Usually she doesn’t pull over, she just tries to out run them.

MAPLE GROVE…

THIS MORNING – we continue our journey in The Story…

TODAY – we are in Chapter 8… ‘A Few God Men… And Women”…

IN – a conversation that I am calling… ‘Breaking The Cycle.’

NOW - Chapter 8 of ‘The Story’ is about a period in the history of God’s people called, ‘Judges…’

AND LISTEN – the judges that we will encounter in this chapter are not like the (black rope wearing – gaveling waving guys) we mentioned earlier… NO - their job description and attire is a little different… THOUGH – they still had power and authority… THEIR – primary role was to… to tell the truth, call out right and wrong… AND – to lead God’s people out of trouble… YOU SEE – these judges didn’t come to put people into captivity, but to release them. THEY – came not to pronounce a sentence but to announce God’s deliverance and their attire was battle armor and they wielded a sword not a gavel.

The book of Judges covers a period of about 330 years… and during that time God raised up (He called, commissioned and empowered) 12 people to judge and lead God’s people. 11 guys and one a lady… (Deborah) who was a prophet and a judge.

NOW – ‘The Period of Judges’ takes place right after the book of Joshua.

AND LISTEN – as the book of Joshua ends (The Period of Conquest) things are looking pretty good for God’s people… IT - looks as if, THEY - have everything they need to become the people God called them to be…

UNDERSTAND – God’s has really set His people up for success…. HE – has totally stacked the deck in their favor… HE has placed an oversized ball on the tee, handed them an oversized bat and told them to swing away.

I MEAN – just consider all of things they are going in their way…

FINALLY – after 700 years… (from the time the promise was made to Abraham in Genesis chapter 12)

They are in their own Land… (a land flowing with milk and honey)

AS – we saw last week, Joshua led the people in a great military victory where they conquered the land… And the land was divided among the 12 tribes of Israel.

(I PUT A MAP ON THE SCREEN)

God’s Presence dwells with them in the tabernacle (to guide and direct them)

The sacrificial system makes forgiveness possible

God’s law instructs them how to love (Him and each other)

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