This morning I had the joy and privilege of preaching the Word of God to Forest Hills Baptist Church. Here a summary of the sermon for your edification or review from Judges 2:11-23.
The book of Judges tells the account of God’s people Israel after they had conquered the promise land. It is a bleak and discouraging narrative as it recounts the constant sin of the people as they abandon their God for false idols.
God had made it very clear that Joshua and his generation was to fully drive out the pagan people in the land. However they failed to fully drive out the people in the land of Canaan as God had commanded them. As a result, the failure of the previous generation in obeying God’s command resulted in the apostasy of the next generation. Apostasy simply meaning, the abandonment of their faith in the true God, YAHWEH. Israel began to inter marry with these pagan people and began to worship their gods. As a result a pattern began to develop and is repeated throughout the book of judges. Here is the cycle:
- The Israelites do evil in the sight of the Lord
- God allows the nation to be conquered or oppressed by an enemy nation
- The people cry out to God.
- God sends a judge to deliver them.
The purpose of the judges were two fold, to show the people that they were under divine wrath and to show that the people divine mercy. God by his grace, would have mercy on Israel despite their wicked idolatry.
We must understand that God takes sin seriously
Rampant Idolatry leads to perverse immorality. We see this truth unfold in many countries around the world as they depravity is clearly seen as they worship gods made of wood and stone. However in America we are so engrossed in our sin, we fail to see our own idolatry. Our gods of sex, fame, money, success, comforts, sports, and entertainment are no different than false gods made of wood and stone. For example, our idol of sexuality in our culture has led to detestable immorality. Each second in the U.S. $3,075 is spent on porn. In that same second 28,000 Internet viewers are looking at porn. Even more staggering is the fact that every 39 minutes an adult sex video is being produced. It is estimated that Americans spend $10 Billion a year in pornographic entertainment. In the same way, our idols of comfort and self have lead to 50 million abortions in our country since 1973. These baby’s are murdered for the sake of our convenience, a human sacrifice made to the god of self.
Why are we so surprised at our cultures rampant immorality when we are so engrossed in idolatry? Why does human depravity surprise us? The depraved hearts the Israelites had is the same ones you and I are born with. Just like Israel, we so quickly worship false gods, abandoning the true God of the Bible. As a result we are completely deserving of judgement and God’s divine wrath against our sin. God takes our sin seriously and like Israel we are deserving of God’s righteous judgement, yet we take our sin so light heartedly.
God is Faithful to us Despite our Unfaithfulness to Him
The israelites were anything but faithful to God. Despite Israel’s whoredom God displays his faithfulness to Israel despite their unfaithfulness. As we know, God had made a covenant with Abraham, to make Israel his people and to use them to bless the world through Christ. God by his divine mercy keeps his end of the covenant with Israel even though they break their end. This has important application for us. God’s plans will not be thwarted despite our unfaithfulness. We will be used as instruments of his glory either in our salvation and deliverance or in our destruction, the name of the Lord will be praised. Remember, God is sovereign enough to accomplish his plans despite our failures. God by his grace and mercy is faithful to us despite our unfaithfulness to him.
We Need a Godly King
One of the main themes in judges is the need for a king. In fact, some have even argued that the end of the book of judges, chapters 17-21 was written as an apology for a King. At the end of the book their is a common refrain, “ In those days there was no king in Israel”. And the book of Judges concludes with 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” The book of judges reveals to us that we need a Godly King. The judges were used by God to show divine mercy, but these judges could not unite the people permanently and cure the nations apostasy and idolatry. The book of judges ends in eager expectation looking for a Godly king.
In fact, one of the main themes throughout the OT is the eager expectation for the true King, the Messiah, the Christ. The writer of Judges was looking to the Davidic Monarchy to provide a lasting God honoring kingdom, but we know this side of the cross that the Monarchy fails miserably as even the best of Kings had massive sin issues, and the worst of Kings rejected the Lord and worshiped false gods. In fact the end of the OT leaves us eagerly awaiting the arrival of a good and Godly King, and we know this king, this messiah, this Savior. His name is Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the God Man sent to earth to establish his eternal kingdom and to unite his people in everlasting worship. Where the judges, kings, and prophets failed in the OT Jesus would succeed. He establishes his kingdom, not in military conquests as most of the judges do, but by spilling his blood for the forgiveness of sin. Through his work on the cross he takes the most depraved, wicked, calloused, and idolatrous hearts and makes them new, a well that springs out worship of the true God! Now for those who choose to live under his kingship, by repenting of their sins and having faith in Jesus for salvation, live eternally as his chosen people and a s a holy nation. Our hope in this life isn’t in any elected individual or political party, our hope isn’t Rick Perry or Herman Cain or any other republican or democratic candidate, it’s only in Jesus Christ. As Jesus said when he first began his preaching ministry, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at Hand!” Forsake your sin, live under the Kingship of Jesus, cling to Christ, and by his blood even the worst of human depravity can be redeemed by His atoning blood.