Judges 2: How God Uses Our Failures

Last week we looked at the first chapter of Judges and saw how the Israelites explained their failure to conquer the land.  Basically they rationalized their disobedience by saying that the Canaanites were too strong to be dislodged because they had iron chariots and that it made better sense to let some of them go on living in the land.  
 
The difficult problem with the first chapter is that it almost makes sense.  We can sympathize with the Israelites because we all know there have been times in our lives when we’ve compromised and then tried to rationalize what we did by giving an excuse for our disobedience.
In chapter 1, the Israelites try to present themselves in the best possible light, chapter 2 tells a little bit different story.  In chapter 2 we get God’s view of the conquest. Basically what is going to happen is that God is going to rewind the tape or the DVD here and show us another view of the events.  He begins by going back to the time of Joshua and reminding the people of the covenant that He had made with them.
Look at verses 1-5
We are introduced in these verses to the Angel of the Lord.
“The Angel of the Lord” appears 11 times in the book of Judges and we encounter this figure many times in the Old Testament.  For instance:
  • In Genesis 16:off the Angel of the Lord appears to Hagar and Ishmael while they are out in the wilderness.
  • In Genesis 18 the Angel of the Lord was the spokesmen for the three figures that appeared to Abraham to announce the birth of Isaac.
  • Later on in Genesis 22 the Angel of the Lord spoke from heaven to stop Abraham from offering his son Isaac on the altar.
This mysterious figure has raised considerable speculation about who He is, but most Bible scholars agree that the Angel of the Lord refers to appearances of Jesus in the Old Testament.  In other words, here we have Jesus appearing to the people in His preincarnate state.
 
His purpose here is to remind the people of His past faithfulness and the results of their unbelief.  (2:1-5)
  • Past faithfulness – God was faithful in carrying out His promise to deliver the people from the land of Egypt.  Every promise that He made, He Kept.
    • One of the great values of the OT is that is shows us the faithfulness of God.
    • Every promise that He made to the Israelites had been kept.
  • But Israel had failed to carry out His command
    • God had given them simple, clear instructions
      •  they were to drive the Canaanites out of the land.
      • they were to tear down the altars dedicated to the Cannanite deities.
    • God knew that the Canaanites and their false religion would be a constant source of temptation to the Israelites.
      • Throughout this book we will see Israel falling into idolatry
      • The truth of the matter is that the Canaanite religions appealed to the basest desire in human beings.

Israel’s disobedience would come with a heavy cost. Disobedience always costs us more than we think that it will.  Let me show you three lessons that we learn from this chapter.

  1. Disobedience sets off a process of internal rotting in our souls (2:6-ff
    • The initial generation took their inheritance or at least most of it.
      • They even continued to serve the Lord throughout the rest of their lives.
      • But something, somewhere went wrong because look what happens in v.20
    • The next generation did not know God
      • One of primary responsibilities that Israelite parents had was to instruct their children about God.
      • Deut 6:6-7 “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to you children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
      • This command was given to ensure that their faith would be handed down from one generation to the next.
      • But sin has a rotting effect in our souls and one of the chief ways that it manifests itself is that we fail to pass on our faith to the next generation.
    • The problem is very simple– as disobedience rots us from the inside, our faith becomes nothing more than a shell.
      • The shell appears bright and shiny but there is nothing of substance inside.
      • In essence, disobedience rots away the vibrancy of our faith until it is nothing more than a cheap facade.
      • The best evidence of this occurring is our failure to pass the faith to the next generation.
    • Let me explain what I mean:
      • We share what is really important with us?
        • We tell people whenever something important happens in our lives- couple gets engaged.
        • We tell people whenever we are passionate about something – politics
        • We tell people about the people we love – when I call my mom I tell her about whatever Matt and Sara did this week.
      • A study conducted by Lifeway Research found that while 80% of people who regularly attend churn believe they have a personal responsibility for sharing their faith, only 61 percent have told another person how to become a Christian over the previous 6 months.
        • Let’s get person for a moment
        • When was the last time that you shared the gospel with someone?
        • When was the last time you sat down with your children to have a spiritual conversation with them?
        • What does this say about your relationship with God?  Is it real and vibrant or is it just a facade
  2. One generation’s disobedience leads to the next’s apostasy (2:6-10)
    • The generation that first entered into the land was disobedient
    • The next generation continued the process
    • Soon the people had forgotten God – “there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work he had done for Israel.
  3. God uses this basic spiritual pattern to drives us to a deeper dependence on the Gospel.  (2:11-19)
    • The people did was evil in God’s sight and abandoned God by chasing after idols.
    • God’s anger was kindled
    • He sent an invading army to discipline His people
    • God would raise up a judge to save them
    • They would repeat the entire process over again.
    • Does this sound familiar?  It should because it describes the process that we go through all of the time
  • But the surprising truth is that God uses this pattern as part of Hid plan for our sanctification. Look at chapter 3:1-6
If you are like me, you may tend to get a little discouraged, wondering why you can’t seem to break out of this cycle.  Well I have good news for you,  next week I will show you that this pattern is really part of God’s plan that helps to keep us focused on the gospel. But this morning I want to invite you examine your life, let me ask you three simple questions:
1.) Have you repented of your sins and placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? – if not this is your first step
 
2.) Are your experiencing the disciplining hand of God?- If so God is drawing you back to a deeper dependence on the gospel
 
3.) Are you passing on the faith accurately and by example to your children?- you need to start today.
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