Summary: When things go wrong, we are right to look for a reason. Certainly in the case of Israel at the beginning of the book of Judges, the problems were obvious. Are these true of us?
Passage: Judges 2:1-23
Intro: “A man was walking home one night, and he fell into a huge, 12 foot hole in the road…. This happened several nights, until he finally went down another road.”
1. we have just finished Revelation, which showed us very clearly the consequences of our choices and actions.
2. and yet we find that our best intentions sometimes fail to keep us from making bad choices, sinful choices.
3. few things more frustrating to a Christian than continued failure.
4. here is the book of Judges, we find a cycle of failure that continued for 380 years!
Il) if we were in it today, in 2005, it would have started in 1625, Shakespeare died in 1616, El Greco in 1614. In 1610, Galileo proved planets circled the sun.
5. recognize ourselves in these people and break the cycle!
6. recognize what God is doing to break the cycle.
7. going to focus on Gideon, but need to set the background today, see the cultural setting he was in.
8. we’ll find it very similar to our own.
9. but we can do something about it!
I. They Lacked Personal Experience with God
1. Judges 2:1-10 tells a chilling tale.
2. Joshua’s generation had seen it all!
3. as young people, had participated in the Exodus from Egypt, seen Red Sea open, see miracles of provision in the wilderness.
4. they had walked through the Jordan River on dry land, seen walls of Jericho come down, fought battles to take the land God had promised to them.
5. God was not a distant deity to them, but a very present reality.
6. but this generation made a mistake, forgetting something God had instructed them to do.
7. perhaps it took a generation to happen, but ultimately
PP Judges 2:10
8. a whole generation, perhaps millions of people, who did not “know God”.
9. word means “to be acquainted with, and in terms of God, involving intelligent worship and obedience.”
10. another meaning is “to have experience with”
Il) I know this engine, this tool, this program, etc.
11. because of the failure of their grandparents and parents, a whole group of God’s people had no experience of God
12. this now dead generation had not told the story, had compromised and modified God’s commands, had become comfortable with the lies God had warned them of.
13. and so their children and grandchildren, without personal experience of the holiness and grace of God, had been easily lured into the lie.
14. their god was just like the other gods, and his worship was just like theirs.
15. He was not unique, so neither were they
PP I Peter 2:9
16. there are many things about God that cannot be learned in a book. They must be experienced, they must be felt and lived.
17. faith is an action, not an emotion
Il) a few weeks ago 2 of our young people went on a Missions trip to LA. They experienced God, they needed Him as they obeyed Him.
18. God has no grandchildren! Each of us are called to personal obedience, personal faith, personal experience of God.
19. that’s why we offer opportunities to serve God! The most satisfied, effective believers are those who are obedient servants in their area of giftedness and call. Do something that causes you to need God, see God at work!
II. They Refused to Learn from God’s Intervention
1. the history of God’s word is a record of the consistent intervention and revelation of God
2. from Genesis to Revelation, from the beginning to the end, God speaks and acts and intervenes.
3. God’s record of revelation is clear during this time as well.
PP Joshua 24:20
PP Judges 2:1-3
4. the 380 year history of the this period is a microcosm of the history of the world.
5. man’s sin, God’s active revelation
6. but as we’ll see, humans have short memories when it comes to God
7. God’s people of this period disobeyed the commands of God, ignored the warnings of God, worshipped the enemies of God, married the sons and daughters of those God had told them to have nothing to do with, cried out to God for help when desperate, and turned away from him as soon as the crisis was over.
PP Judges 3:5
8. sometimes we cry out to God, “I wish you would speak to me”
9. He does! In creation He speaks
PP Psalm 19:1-4
10. in His word He speaks.
11. in circumstances He speaks
Il) Peter recognizing that God wanted the Gentiles to hear the gospel
12. In Jesus He spoke to us
PP I John 5:20