Summary: One of the great things about God is that He constantly offers a way out of the trouble we are in. For the people of Israel, their problem was caused by their sin, and so the solution began by dealing with it.
Passage: Judges 6:1-11
Intro: Early in our marriage, Jan and I discovered that communication could be a challenge!
1. particularly when trying to describe the solution to a structural problem of some kind.
Il) like rearranging the furniture.
2. we discovered best way was to sit down and draw what we were envisioning, but couldn’t communicate well.
Il) “a picture is worth a thousand tellings”
3. a story is a picture in words, and this is what God has done for us in the Bible.
4. last week, we painted a picture of a nation which, despite numerous warnings, had forsaken God.
5. may still be a little fuzzy, so God gives us numerous examples, stories of real people caught up in this low point in Israel’s history.
6. these are more than just stories, but they are stories with a distinct purpose.
7. the story of Gideon is a great one; extremely detailed, very exciting, full of principles we can apply to our own lives.
8. ultimately, the story of a man or a woman is the record of their relationship with God. That’s what counts. And sin frustrates that relationship.
9. 150 years into this 380 year period of the judges, things are dire.
10. let’s set the stage for the great deliverance that God provided through Gideon.
I. This Trouble Had a Specific Cause
PP we have been stunned by the destruction on the Gulf Coast this week.
1. at some point, we ask “why?” Was there something that caused this havoc?
2. I don’t have the ability to answer that.
3. bad things happen in this world all the time. The common grace of God limits evil but does not prevent it completely.
4. but here in our passage, there is no such mystery.
5. there had been 40 years of peace since that last judge, a woman named Deborah, had defeated the Jabin, the king of Hazor, and specifically a woman named Jael had nailed the commander of Jabin’s army to the floor of her tent with a tent peg.
6. but during that time of peace, the cycle of sin had repeated itself.
Il) moral slippage over 40 yrs not hard to see.
7. and so now the enemy is a group of nomadic Bedouin called the Midianites.
8. what the Israelites failed to realize was that God is faithful to all of His promises, not just the pleasant ones.
9. He had promised trouble, that if they forsook him and worshipped idols it would be the cause of a terrible effect.
10. God is righteous! He cannot make a promise and then fail to keep it.
11. God will not tolerate habitual disobedience; He will act!
12. His love for His children compels Him to use trouble to open our eyes to what is causing the trouble.
Il) “Tough Love”, a group that helps families intervene with rebellious children thru natural consequences, refusal to “bail the kid out of trouble”?
13. every time there is trouble, we don’t need to go into an introspective tailspin.
14. but when trouble abounds and continues, examine life according to God’s plan as revealed in Scripture.
-certainly this was the message of Revelation
15. Scripture is full of cause and effect in both the OT and NT. Don’t ignore it
II. The Effects Were Unrelenting
1. in every case in Judges, the discipline of God was continual, leading people to seek resolution.
2. none worse than this annual invasion of the Midianites.
3. words used to describe this situation are powerful.
4. “oppressive”, like a summer day in Houston
5. only place in Judges were people were clearly displaced from their homes. V2
6. v3 gives picture. Every year, after the Israelites had planted their crops and there was a carpet of green, the invasion began.
7. v4…”they camped on the land.”
8. picture this!
PP Woodstock during and after
9. these people were Bedouin, the offspring of Midian, a son of Abrahan by Keturah, who was sent “east” by Abraham with his brothers
10. they followed the available grazing for their livestock, which formed the main source of their food; meat, cheese, milk, and eggs and meat from fowl they kept.
Il) The Atkins diet!!
11. so every year the plan was “springtime in Israel”!
12. pack up momma and the kids on camels, take the sheep and goats and go to where there was a nice defenseless country filled with newly growing grain for the animals to eat
PP newly growing field
13. and while there, steal their livestock and completely ruin their economy.
14. v6 “impoverished” =their livelihood was gone. The Israelites were an agricultural economy, and without the protection of God from this annual “swarm of locusts”, they were helpless!