Summary: America reminds me of these 70 kings in our text: Dethroned and Disabled, and reduced to settling for scraps which fall from above sparingly. And we used to sit feasting at the table of the KING of Kings. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPt.

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Disabled Nation

Judges 1:1-7

America and Israel are much alike. They remind me of each other. And both remind me of these 70 kings in our text: Dethroned and Disabled, and reduced to settling for scraps which fall from above sparingly. America used to sit feasting at the table of the KING of Kings, but we are fast descending to the role of the Joker in the corner or the role of the beggar at the gate.

Judges is a book about incomplete victory...which stems from incomplete obedience. What is another word for ’incomplete obedience?’ DISOBEDIENCE!

Partial obedience in your morals is disobedience. [I’m not so bad! / But are you still willfully choosing to do wrong in some areas?] If you aren’t fully faithful you are unfaithful. If you tithe on about half of your paychecks you cannot call it a tithe. It may be 10% of THAT check but if it’s only 5% overall it is not credited by God as partial obedience, but disobedience.

When it comes to our commitment to Christ, let’s not do things halfway. Let’s be all or nothing Christians and nothing is not a good option! Jesus gave all and so should we!

1 Kings 18:21

21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

You are either committed or you are not.

And America cannot ride the fence. Either we are a Christian nation or we are not. Yes, we have freedom of religion, but many today are trying to exalt freedom FROM religion, and trying to tie our hands and gag our mouths in the process. Our freedom of speech is going down the toilet. The administration is trying to silence its critics and villainize any who dissent. It’s getting scary!

After turning [cramming] an 11 day journey from Egypt to the Promised Land into 40 years of meandering, Israel found itself IN the promised land, but not IN POSSESSION of it.

Israel did things halfway. In Joshua they were commanded to cross the river, conquer the enemy, and claim the inheritance. They crossed the river, then conquered SOME of the enemy, and stopped well short of finishing their conquest and claiming their inheritance. They wanted the blessings of the Promised Land, but didn’t want to pay the price for complete victory. They wanted something free, much like most Americans today. They demanded their rights and wanted privileges, but didn’t want to take responsibility. They were all take and no give.

They went back to their old ways of going in circles in the wilderness. Their progression was: Sin...Suffering...Supplication...Salvation

They would sin and naturally suffer for it, then cry out to God and He would come to their rescue. But God is not bound to always be a safety net for His people. He has come to our nation’s rescue many times, but like with Israel, His patience may soon run out and He may allow us to fall in order to look up. If the only way we’ll learn is by attending the school of hard knocks, then, well...maybe He will sign us up for class!

If you want to know just how up–to–date the Book of Judges is, listen to the words of the late General Douglas MacArthur: “In this day of gathering storms, as moral deterioration of political power spreads its growing infection, it is essential that every spiritual force be mobilized to defend and preserve the religious base upon which this nation is founded; for it has been that base which has been the motivating impulse to our moral and national growth. History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual reawakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”

The last war we won was WWII. That was back when generals fought wars to win them. Today, congress fights wars according to the polls and popular opinion and politics. No wonder we often lose or end in a stalemate at best.

Judges is about a small group sent by God to reclaim a fallen nation, to speak as prophets of judgment and turn them away from backsliding to repentance, revival, and recovery.

Again, this book is about incomplete obedience and incomplete victory, and their first instance of both is right here in chapter one. They begin w/ a victory in the first 7 verses, but then fail to continue, they stop short, satisfied w/ partial obedience.

Important symbolism:

Israel = God’s people, and could represent America, or the church, or us as individuals.

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