3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: Make the World Better

MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE (JUDGES 2)

After my stroke in August, 2018, my legs were weakened and I was wobbly as I walked. A Chinese herbalist suggested I hiked more to strengthen my legs and a friend suggested I walked faster and climb the stairs two steps at a time. I followed the latter’s advice but I still could not find a convenient place to do trekking.

One morning (November 2019) – ten years after I lived on the island - I saw some walkers, runners and even seniors walking up a steep hill to our island’s slightly hidden reservoir, with a bar gate and a sign discouraging pedestrians and strollers from walking the trek. After puffing my way up for the first time, I found the path a heaven-sent for my shaky legs.

Sweeping the track up the government reservoir from the iron bar entrance at the bottom of the hill onwards, however, was not the island estate’s business, so a small amount of trash was left by visitors and residents. A few days later an idea struck me. Why don’t I pick up trash on my way down since I do three runs a morning? I picked up a chair as my first task. Thankfully the bottom of the chair fell out, so I picked up the bottom the next day. On the third day my target was a plastic container and a sheet of aluminum foil. The fourth day I picked up 12 cigarette butts. Another day, I picked up napkins. My trash load included cigarette packets, food wrappers, plastic bags, parcel strings, three gloves, newspapers, a long wooden stick, a broom, on and on. The worst so far was dog poo-poo left in a plastic bag! Little by little, day by day, run by run, I made the place a decent looking place – just as anyone could, but it was embarrassing seeing people on the way down!

The death and departure of Joshua was a big loss and a big blow to Israel, not just for the physical presence but for the spiritual vacuum. From Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses (Num 11:28) to Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord (Judg 2:8), Joshua was given the highest accolade – the servant of the Lord - at his passing away, just like his mentor, predecessor and senior Moses at his death, too (Deut 34:5). At his death, Joshua, however, had shoes no one could fill, so God raised judges to fill the void. Joshua had often been unfairly blamed for not having a protégé himself, but God did not abandon Israel but raised up judges both sides of the Jordan, men and women, short-lived and long-lasting to lead His people.

What can a team of leaders do when an outstanding leader leaves for good? How can others fill the void? Why do we have a responsibility to transform the world rather than tolerate her decline?

God placed us Find the Solution Fear the Setback Source Stoppage

Fix Fight Face the Situation Restless Heart Problem Forsake the

Follow the Lord Solution

Face the Future

1The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? 3 And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’” 4 When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, 5 and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the Lord. 6 After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance.

Someone told G. Campbell Morgan that the preacher must catch the spirit of the age. Immediately this great preacher answered, “God forgive the preacher who does that. The preacher’s business is to correct the spirit of the age.” ( Illustrations of Bible Truths # 540)

Judges 2 begins with a resounding indictment against the Israelites in the new land with the four-fold repetition of the negative “no” plus the verb “listened” or “disobeyed/not hearkened” (vv 2, 17, 20):

Yet you have disobeyed me (v 2, not hearkened to my voice)

they would not listen (disobey) to their judges (v 17)

(not) obedient to the Lord’s commands (v 17)

not listened to me (v 20, not hearkened to my voice)

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