Summary: Gideon serves as a voice for people living in conflict with God. Verse 13 is a perfect example of a human mindset when life gets difficult.
Break the Cycle: Trouble Comes Along
Text: Judges 3:7-11
Big Idea: As we repeat the cycles of our lives, they are often defined by the trouble that we encounter. Trouble is unavoidable, and it is related directly to our tendency to wander away from God.
• Have you ever found yourself in trouble?
o About two weeks ago, I was driving my wife up and down the coast in Kauai, HI.
o I spent hours exploring the north shore of the island, which are beautiful but only suitable for snorkeling and swimming.
o I was itching to do some boogie boarding, and I started to get more impatient the longer we sat in the car.
o Finally, around 3:00 in the afternoon, I found a great place on the eastern shore with beautiful surf, so I grabbed my body board out of the trunk and sprinted down into the water.
o What I failed to see was the large orange sign about twenty yards away from us warning about riptides.
o Struggling around, not getting anywhere…
o Finally gave up and tried to wave for a lifeguard to come and save me…
o When I did make it out, he came over and said, “Are you ok, bro?”.
o Bro is actually a Hawaiian term for “stupid Caucasian tourist.”
o I collapsed on the beach and I was simply happy to be alive.
• Now, the circumstances may be different for you, but I bet you’ve had the same feeling that I did on that sand – you were just happy that you survived your time of trouble.
• Last week, Doug did a great job of establishing the cycle of behavior of the Hebrew people that we find in the book of Judges.
• Time and again throughout the book, the people of God find themselves in trouble.
• They were repeat offenders who simply didn’t learn from their lessons.
• Why is that? Why do any of us think that we can avoid trouble in life?
• Centuries later, the Jesus Christ himself promised that we can always expect trouble in life:
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
• It’s almost a naivety to assume that we can go through life without experiencing trouble.
• Yet, isn’t that what we do?
• Raise your hand if you have ever been guilty of driving your car for awhile after the “check engine” light came on. Or if you’ve dated someone thinking that they will change. Or if you bought a house between 2006 and 2008, thinking that home values would continue to skyrocket.
• The list can go on and on, but the truth is the same: we make decisions that are flat out dumb, and there are often consequences to deal with later.
• As Doug talked about, the Book of Judges shows us how a group of people make the same mistakes over and over and how they paid the penalty for it.
• Let’s turn over there now, as we begin with the first judge that God raised up to lead His people, Othniel:
7 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. 8 The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim,[a] to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. 9 But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge[b] and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. 11 So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died. - Judges 3:7-11
• Here we have a story that is repeated over and over again in this book, with only the names changing.
• The cycle of the Judges in laid out pretty clearly here:
o The Israelites do evil in the eyes of the Lord, as they wandered away from Him and worshiped other things.
o God is angered, and He allows consequences for their sin to come.
o The Israelites are brought to a point of desperation, and they cry out to God.
o God shows mercy, sends a savior, and the people find peace again.
o The same story is replayed with Gideon, Ehud and Samson.
• In this first example of a savior judge, we have Othniel, who really has no other distinction in the bible than simply being the first judge of Israel.