Sermon – Introduction to the Book of Judges: Generation Degeneration (Judges 2:6 – 2:23) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Introduction to the Book of Judges: Generation Degeneration

Pete Woodcock, Judges 2:6 - 2:23, 4 February 2024

As we enter into our week of Media Fast:Bible Feast, Pete preaches an overview of the book of Judges. Judges 2:6-23, shows us how God raised up judges as saviours of the nation, who foreshadow Jesus in various ways. How can reflecting on the gospel help us to avoid spiritual apathy and remember the redemptive work of our Saviour?


Judges 2:6 - 2:23

When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. 10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.

11 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. 12 And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. 13 They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. 14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. 15 Whenever they marched out, the hand of the LORD was against them for harm, as the LORD had warned, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.

16 Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the LORD, and they did not do so. 18 Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. 19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. 20 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the LORD as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the LORD left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.

(ESV)


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Well, we're going to, hear the word of god read to us now.

And, so if you've got a Bible and you'd like to turn to judges to 2. That's where we're gonna begin Steve, if that's okay. Judges chapter 2. Now we're coming to a brand new book. Judges chapter 1, just to briefly give you an overview of what happens there.

The people of god, had begun to take possession of the promised land under their leader Joshua. They had gone into the promised land, and they had begun to clear out the residents who lived there. And to take possession of the land which god had gifted to them. And that had begun well. They had known some success there.

But in chat to 1, although we do see glimmers of that success, really, the dominant note is of a people who are not doing everything that the lord told them to do and the nations who are inhabiting their lands are not being driven out in the way God said and it's becoming more and more and more of a problem. And then at the beginning of chapter 2, the angel of the lord visits the people of god confronts them with their sin, gives them an ominous warning of what's to come And then at the end of verse 5, chapter 2, the people raise their voices and weep over what has happened. Now, we're gonna pick up the reading in chapter 2 verse 6. Just after the angel of the lord has confronted them for their sin, and we're gonna read verse 6 to the end of the chapter. After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance.

The people served the lord throughout the time of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen All the great things the lord had done for Israel. Joshua, the son of none, the servant of the lord, died at the age of a hundred and 10. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance at Tim Naf Herrez, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gas. After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the lord and served the bales.

They forsook the lord, the god of their ancestors who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord's anger, because they forsook him and served bail and the Astereths. In his anger against Israel, the lord gave them into the hands of raiders, who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.

Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the lord was against them to defeat them. Just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. Then the lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges.

But prostituted themselves to other gods and worship them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the lord's commands. Whenever the lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived for the lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.

Therefore, the lord was very angry with Israel. And said because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel. And see whether they will keep the way of the lord and walk in it as their ancestors did. The lord had allowed those nations to remain, He did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.

Well, this feels a little strange. I haven't preached for 5 weeks, which is the longest period I haven't preached in since I was 19. So I'm a I'm a little nervous. I don't think, you know, who knows what's gonna happen? Just a few things just to say before, uh-uh, we open up this book of judges.

And then I'm gonna pray and then we'll we'll we'll get into it. Is we gotta remember that this is a particular time in redemption history. Because what you're gonna read here is is the word Israel, and you're even gonna see in chapter 1, the word Gaza. And if we're not careful, we sort of will jump to what's going on in a place called Israel and Gaza at the moment, and we've got to be very careful of that. The Israel here is not the Israel that's there in the Middle East where we're hearing on the news.

That is a was was set up as a secular state. The Israel in the Bible was a theocracy. In other words, it was under god. They're 2 different things. They got the same name, and that's the diff difficulty.

When I was in Australia, my brother-in-law used to live in Kingston, and then he used to live in Kingston up in hull, and now he lives in a place called in Tasmania called Kingston, They've all got the same name. And when you're talking away and say, oh yeah, Kingston, you have to say, oh, dear. Which kingston are you talking about? And we've just gotta be careful But Israel we read that are doing stuff in Gaza is not the Israel we're talking about here. They're not the people of god in in that sense.

The people of god who are called Israel now in the Bible, and you can see that from, from, Galatians chapter 6. Are the Israel of God now are Jews and gentiles who make the church. So we gotta watch this. And then this is very physical. So you're gonna see, you know, people killed when we read this and all of that sort of stuff.

And it's quite distasteful to us. But now we're not talking about physical battles when we talk about the battles going on. We've gotta turn the physical into spiritual, if you like. The spiritual enemies are not flesh and blood. Their their their evil idolatries and their satanic things that we have to battle and fight today.

And so we don't go out killing. Jesus tells us not to kill our enemy. We have to love our enemy, and we bring the good news of Jesus to our enemy. So all those things, you just gotta You've just gotta sort of remember when we're reading this stuff. Otherwise, we're going to say Israel should be slaughtering the Gaza people and we we're being big difficulty if we do that because I don't think the Bible is saying that.

Is that right? Okay. Now, some of you will be really upset about that because there are people that so into Israel, they get really worked up. You're gonna have to calm down. I'm gonna pray, and then we're gonna have to look at the Bible together.

Father god help us now as we hear the word of god help us to hear it. And in order to hear it, properly in our hearts, we need none other than the Holy Spirit of God. And we ask that holy spirit you would come and speak to us and challenge, rebuke encourage that we may see Jesus. Holy Spirit of God help us to see the lord Jesus and help us to come and rely on him that we can then call you father god. Help us in Jesus' name.

Man. Okay. Let's go right back to the beginning. God created Adam, to be his image on earth. It was the place where heaven and earth were to be united.

But Adam, as you know the story, some of you, gave himself over to idolatry. He listened to the serpents words. He believed in himself, that he, Adam, would make a perfectly adequate god to rule himself, to rule his family, and to rule the world and he couldn't have been more wrong, and all the troubles of the world come from that. But god is always bigger, and this is the great thing about the Bible his love and in his grace, and bigger than human sin and bigger than human arrogance And so god promised to send 1 who would both be a judge and a savior. 1 who would crush the serpent's head and all of the damage of the lies of the serpent, a judge, 1 who would judge the serpent but 1 who would save mankind and liberate them and bring them back into the image of God that they're meant to be.

People that are believing and trusting and loving god as father. So how did god go about that? God called a man called Abraham and then called him Abraham, and he did it this miracle. He, caused Abraham and his wife, Sarah, in their old age to start a family. And he put all the promises of god onto that family to make a people of god in this world.

A nation was born then through Abraham, but it was a nation without a land in this world. There was the real promised land which is the new creation, but it was a nation without a land and so god promises Abraham that in the future, he'll give them a land. And in Genesis chapter 15, it says, on that day, the lord made a covenant That's like a marriage relationship, a commitment to Abraham and said to your descendants, I give this land. And it's the land that we see that Joshua went into and judges is all about. It's the land of the Hitites and the Perazites and the Amor amorites and so forth.

All those different people. It's the land of Canada. But you can't just walk into a land. God isn't just into sending people to take over other people's land. No.

God says you're gonna have to wait for your land you're gonna wait for judgment on that land because the world needs to see that the people of that land that I'm giving you are seriously wicked. They're seriously wicked. And they're so wicked that you will see that there's nothing other than to do with them than to drive those people out of the land. And so god, in his patients, waits and makes the people of god wait before the judgment comes on that land so that you can see that they really are sinful. This is what he says in Genesis 15 to Abraham, verse 16.

In the fourth generation, your descendants will come back here to this land for the sin of the amorites has not yet reached its full measure. So god is patiently gonna say, I'll let them carry on sinning. I'll let them carry on blaspheming my name. Yeah? And then god allows the children of Israel to find themselves in slavery while he's waiting for the people in the promised land to complete their sin, if you like.

And they go into slavery and then you've got the whole story of Moses rescuing them and, eventually Moses bringing them to the border of this land and, to this promised land, and then Moses dies and hands the the baton over to Joshua, his assistant and Joshua takes over. And the people of god finally come in to this land to bring the judgment of god upon the canaanites to drive them out. Now this isn't racism. This isn't genocide This is judgment, and it's different. It's judgment for the idolatrous and immoral way these people were living in the land.

And god had given him plenty of time to repent. In fact, leviticus, the book of leviticus in the old testament says that the land itself wants to spew these people out, they're so disgusting. It's it's the land itself is sickened by why what is going on and the blood that that is, cast upon it. So the people of god come into the land. Now you can see it not genocide and you can see it's not racism because there are 2 stories that happen when Joshua comes into the land.

There's a story of a a prostitute called Rahab, and there's a story of a man called ACAN. Rahab is among these people that the land wants to spew out. In fact, she's a prostitute. But she trusts in god and becomes a follower of god. Not racism, you say.

It's about getting rid of idolatry. She turns from our idolatry and believes the god of the Bible and she becomes into the people of god. But Acan, who was a descendant of Abraham, who was in the people of god, decides to claim some of a property that the Israelites were not meant to do because this wasn't just you know, extending borders and and grabbing people's property. No. No.

No. This was God planting people in a new land to get rid of idolatry. But achan held on to the prosperity that idolatry brought. And he was judged. You see the judge, savior?

That's what it's about. When the people of god comes in, there's salvation for the canaanite woman even though she's a prostitute, but there's judgment for the person who claims to be an israelite. But was not doing what god said. So it's it's all about driving out filth. It's all about driving out.

Idolatry and immorality. And the land itself is crying out for it. So Joshua then comes and the people of Israel enter the land, and they partially do that driving out of this idolatrist be I guess there were more people that were converted like Rahab as well and driving out this in morality. That's the story of Joshua. And now there's a new generation and Joshua is about to die and so he gathers the people of god together at shechem and he preaches the most powerful sermon.

And if you have a bible, it's worth having a look, but it's in Joshua 24, the last chapter of Joshua. Which is just before we get to judges. This is what it says, and I'm gonna read some of it. I won't read it all. Then Joshua assembled, this is Joshua 24 verse 1, then Joshua assembled the tribes of Israel at shechem.

He summoned the elders, the leaders, the judges, the officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before god. Joshua said to all the people, he stood up and he preached. This is what the lord, the god of Israel says. And then he goes through how god had blessed them and made them his people. And then in verse 14, he asks for a response Now fear the lord and serve him faithfully.

You can hear him preaching this before the crowd standing up in shechem. Throw away the gods of your ancestor, your ancestors worship beyond the river euphrates in Egypt and serve the lord. But if serving the lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. Whether the gods of your ancestors beyond the what you freight is or the gods of the amorites in whose land you are now living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the lord.

Then it says, then the people answered far be it from us. To forsake the lord, to serve other gods. And then in verse 19, Joshua said to them, you're not able to serve the lord. He is a holy god, he is jealous god. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.

If you forsake the lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you after he has been good to you. But the people said to Joshua, no. Listen what they're saying. No. We will serve the lord.

Then Joshua said you are my witnesses. You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the lord. Yes. We are witnesses. They replied.

Now then said Joshua, throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts. To the lord, yield your hearts to the lord, the god of Israel. And the people said to Joshua, We will serve the lord and obey him. What a sermon? What a response?

Those of us who are preachers really desire that. We tend to have to look out at dumb faces But these people are on their feet. We will turn the lord and obey him. They declared their intention to follow the lord. It's wonderful.

Is that you? Do you wanna serve the lord? Do you wanna get rid of foreign idols? Can you say, as for me and my household, we will serve the lord. Is that your intention for your family?

To serve the lord. Is that how you're working out? Your responses to god and to your family that you wanna drive them away from idolatry and wickedness and immorality? Or are you very happy for the way they go into the world? What do you want to do?

Feel the power of that sermon? Throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the lord, the god of Israel, and the people of Joshua saying, we will stop the lord, and we will obey him. And not 1 of you who said that, here, yet have you. Will you serve the lord? Will you serve the lord?

That's what they thought. Powerful sermon, and it affected them, and that was their intention. But at the end of the book of judges, now we're in. The last verse of the book of judges says in those days Israel had no king in every everyone did what they saw fit or an older version, which I prefer, I think. In those days, there was no king in Israel and every everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

Everyone did what was right. Not was wrong, but was right in their own eyes. In their own eyes. In other words, they are saying, we are god ourselves, and we choose what is right and wrong. It's the original sin.

Many of us, and I hope a lot of us are going to, take up the media fast this week It's media fast and bible feast, and we're gonna read this book of judges. And we'll notice, I think, that the headlines from the book of judges are as horrible as the that they're in the media that we're giving up this week. Well, what do we see last week? Just last week in the headlines? 2 16 year olds massacring their school friend.

And are unremoistful. That's what we saw in the headlines, isn't it? Last week? You watched it? A family, a mother, and 2 children, having acid, or alkaline, whatever it was poured over them.

That's what we saw in the headlines. Gaza just obliterated. Children dead Stabbings. That was last week's. We're gonna go on a media fast because we don't wanna hear that.

And so we've started to read the book of judges. Family feud will find. Leave 69 brothers dead. These are the headlines of of the book we're gonna read. Powerful government leader caught in love nest.

Gang rape leads victim's death and dismemberment. That's right at the end. Girls at a party kidnapped and forced to marry strangers. Woman judge says travelers no longer safe on Highway. It's the same world.

We're giving up the media. And we're gonna open this book. 1 commentator summed up this book of judges as spickable people going about deplorable things. Then they said trashy tales about dysfunctional characters They're the headlines of the people of god. The same ones that said, we'll follow the lord.

We'll serve him. How did it get to that? How did it get from a powerful sermon from Joshua where followed the lord to despicable things of immorality and ungodliness that is as bad as the world around it. How did the people of God get to that? Well, here's my first point.

First point is generation degeneration. Generation degeneration. See how the generation degenerates. Chapter 2 verses 8 to 13. Joshua, son of nun, the servant of the lord, died at the age of 110.

Listen carefully. Verse 10. After that, after that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the lord and serve the bales. That's the false gods.

They forsook the lord. The god of their ancestors who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worship various gods of the people around them they aroused the lord's anger because they forsook him and serve by yours and assurance. Fox gods. Notice it says another generation verse 10.

Another generation grew up and knew neither the lord nor what he had done for Israel. There's a there's a syndrome called Third Generation Syndrome. Probably know it. And a lot of you here that have, become migrants over here and living over here will know this in your own own families third generation sin syndrome. It goes something like this in in in the area of money for instance.

The first generation creates the wealth. The second generation are sort of stewards of the wealth. They sort of hold on to it and the third generation consumes it. That's called third generation syndrome. Or if you put it this way and if I may, I'll just, I mean, I could take any nation, but let's take Koreans.

So, the first generation of migrants and some of you are that come from Korea to England and basically you live a little career in New Morden. You go into your house, you eat Korean food, there's all Korean sort of pictures up, and it's like going home to a little career. That's the first generation. The second generation though, it's difficult for them because they're learning English way better than the first generation. And they're becoming sort of they've got English friends and so there's a tension there between the 2 cultures.

The third generation They don't consider themselves Korean anymore their English. And that's what happens with every culture. And when the English go to, you know, India and stuff, it's the same sort of thing. Now that sort of thing is, no, it doesn't matter so much in in those cultures. But this is the sort of thing that's happening here with god.

Verse 10 says another generation grew up who knew neither the law nor what he'd done for them. They didn't understand what had gone on. With the first generation. Let look what happens here. Let's just go through a few things.

They forgot the lord and what he had done for Israel. How did the mess happen? How did Israel go from saying we'll serve the lord to actually having a story within their family life of chopping a girl up. How did how did that happen? Well, they forgot the lord.

Someone said this history has to repeat itself. It has to because nobody nobody ever listens. History repeats itself. It has to because nobody listens. They forgot.

Remembering the past teaches us countless things about how to live today. Memory is a gift to cancel the past. To try and wipe out history, to cancel the past as a sort of bunch of old stories told by old people is a step into making the same mistakes. This generation had forgotten. What did they'd forgotten?

They'd forgotten the miraculous events that brought them to the land in the first place. They'd forgotten it took none other than the power of god to call the people out of slavery. They'd forgotten that it had taken nothing other than the power of god to raise up spirit filled men to bring them to this place. They'd forgotten the miracles of god. They'd forgotten the covenant of love that the lord made with them and their response to it they'd forgotten that it takes nothing other than the powerful miracles of god to make the people of god in the first place.

They'd forgotten their own human limitations. They'd forgotten their own sin. Did you notice that what Joshua said in his sermon in verse 19 of chapter 24 in his sermon? Did you notice it? It's very interesting.

They're crying out. We'll serve the lord, and Joshua says, you are not able to serve the lord. He's holy god. He's a jealous god. You're not able to do it.

They'd forgotten that it takes god to create god people. They just thought they could choose to follow god. They just thought that within within their ability to follow god. She's so important to understand history and understand the miracles that have gone before us It's so important for us Christians to understand doctrine. It's so important for us to understand sin and finitude and the limitations of us as people.

It's so important for us to understand that. Otherwise, we'll forget, and we'll think it's to do with us and our choices and how clever we are and how In the Autumn World's 19 8 84, he writes this. Who controls the past controls the future. Get this quite confusing. Who controls the past controls the future?

Who controls the present controls the past? You get it? Anyone got that. Who controls the present? You've got a dictator controlling the present.

They can control the past. If you control the past, you'll control a future. In other words rewriting the past, that's what dictators do all the time. That's what Kim Jong un un does in North Korea. He rewrites history.

You know? I mean, did you know that he gets a hole in 1 whenever he plays golf? Yeah. Don't know why he plays it. It must be really boring.

Did you know that he invented the microwave? Which was amazing because it was around before he was born, but nevertheless he invented it. They rewrite history, dictators, Hitler always that they all do that. And it's 1 of the devil's techniques to control the future by rewriting the past or today by canceling the past. So that we as a generation think we're better than the past.

So that we as a generation think we don't need to learn lessons from the past because we are better. That's why we're reading judges, by the way. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10 that these things are examples or their types for us to learn from. Paul says in Romans chapter 15, everything that's written down in the past is for us to teach us. Another generation grew up who knew neither the lord or what he had done for them.

They had forgotten. They had lost touch with the lord. They were satisfied with where they were They believe that their outward confession, their memes, the things that they just said outwardly. We follow the lord were really heartfelt things. They didn't listen to the preaching of Joshua.

They were satisfied with what the older generation had done in the past or they didn't really wanna know about it. And they're not interested in now in driving out immorality, and they're not interested in driving out those false gods. They can compromise We can go the peaceful way. They're always fighting those people. They're always uptight those Joshua type people.

He's dead anyway. We have a new generation. We don't need to be fighting our enemies anymore. Let's just chill out a little bit. Let's have a rest.

We've done too much of that. We're the next generation. That we've we've done enough. Enough is enough. Some of you come from Christian Holmes.

Build on that. Don't sleep in the comfort of that. Don't take for granted what god's done in your family. Don't become complacent about it. Don't think that you can follow the lord in your own strength, or because your grandad did.

So you've got that heritage to rely on. Don't be a third generation syndrome person when it comes to god. God as it said has no grandchildren. You need to be born again. You need a spiritual encounter with god.

If you're from a Christian home, do more for god. Build on your heritage. Don't accept failures. Don't accept the status quo. Go into battle against Satan.

Don't accept the idols say to this generation. You need to relax more. Don't accept the idols that say to this generation. You need to think more of yourself. Don't accept the idols of this generation that say follow your dreams.

Don't accept the idols of this generation that says, believe in yourself more. Don't do that. Don't forget what the lord has done for you in bringing you into this family. Sometimes we just see the blessings and take them for granted, and we don't see the lord. Interesting being in Australia and seeing some of the families and some of the people that I know who came to Christ 20 25 years ago.

Now they got kids. And 1 1 dad said to me, Pete, I I I wish my children could have known the excitement of those days 25 years ago when so many were coming to Christ. I wish they could know it. And then you looked at the kids and the kids were utterly enjoying the blessings that god brought to those people the stability of marriages and the prosperity in many ways that that that uh-uh god had brought to these families because they were following Christ because they're not alcoholics and they're not drinking and you know, they're not smoking and all that sort of they're not wasting money and whatever it is they're wasting money on, but they're committed. And you just see these young people and even my nieces, You see them really enjoying.

Absolutely enjoying the blessings that god brought them, but they're they're not following god. Joshua said that would happen. That's what's happening. They're an unthankful people. And if you cultivate a spirit of thankfulness, You need to remember what god has done for you.

Apathy dies when praise flourishes, someone said. They'd forgotten the lord and what they'd done what he'd done for them. And they're forgetting led to apathy, and their apathy led a self reliance and their self reliance at led to apostasy. And that's the second thing. They forgot, but then they forsook.

They forsook the lord. Look at verse 10 again. After that that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the lord nor what he had done, then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the lord and served Bales. They forsook the lord. That's the difference between the book of Joshua and Judges.

Joshua is a book of conquest. Judges is a book of compromise. What is central to the book of Josh is peripheral to the book of judges. Joshua, there's obedience judges, there's apostasy. There's no reference in judges to the scriptures.

But in Joshua, he meditates on the scriptures day and night. So they forsook the lord. They forgot him, and they forsook him, and they forsook the very first commandment do not have any other gods before me. They forsook the lord. Jere Jeremiah, a prophet describing these people said my people have committed 2 sins.

This is god saying this actually through Jeremiah. My people have committed to sins. They have forsaken me the spring of living water and have dug their own systems broken systems that cannot hold water. 2 daft things. The picture is someone going through the desert gasping for water, and there's a spring of living water, and they say, oh, no, no.

I think I'll move away from that. And move on and dig another hole, and there's dirty, filthy water in it. I think I drink from that. And because of that, because they forsaken, forsook, you'll see that god left these these are idolatrous people to be a thorn in their flesh so that actually they never fully come in the people of god into their their blessings. They failed to get the full blessings.

You see that in verses 20 to 23, but at no time to read it. Their peace turn to turmoil. Generation degeneration. Do you see it? Now where where are you in this?

You serve the lord? Well, then you need to remember what he's done for you. You need to remember that it was a miracle that you're a follower of him. It's not just down to your decision. It's the miracle.

It's god breaking into you with new birth. And you need to listen to his word. Generation degeneration. Here's my second point, though. I have no idea what the time is, what is it?

Oh, plenty of time. I haven't preached for 5 weeks. Second point is God raised up judges. Now this is the this is the 2 things you're gonna see. You see the sin of the people, but you see this unbelievable grace.

God raised up the judges. Now judges, the trouble is when we hear the word judges, we start thinking of, you know, funny whigs and law courts and gravels and all of that sort of stuff. The these judges weren't like that except Deborah. Deborah did have people coming to her and going from her and stuff, but they're not judges in that way. The Hebrew word for judges actually means deliver a rescuer or Savior.

So in many ways, we'd be better to call this book, the book of Savior's. We we could call it that. But remember judgment and salvation do go together. So you could call it the book of judges. But you could call it the book of Savior.

But you could call it the book of judges, or you could call it the book of the judges who are the saviors because that's what's going on here. Here, we see the utter grace of god And as we read through it, we'll see pictures and types and hints of the great truth that god always keeps his covenant with his people even when his people give up their side of the covenant, and he has to judge them. Strange, isn't it? God will always keep his covenant with his people even when the people give up the covenant and judge them because what god does is raise up a representative for the people, a savior, a judge, a new Adam, someone who will be faithful on the people's behalf. You gotta remember how salvation history works.

Tim Chester, and I think there's some books on the bookstore by him. Brilliant brilliant British bible writer, well worth any of his books. Tim Chester, says that it's it's like, 1 of those, time things. You know, what what do they call it so my mind's going? Hour glass.

Yeah. And, so you have an hour glass, you have the sand in it. It's all at the top and it comes down to this tiny little waste and then it comes out again. If you turn the hourglass on it on its on its side, you'll you'll you'll think about salvation history. You've got all the people of god.

So the people of Israel, they make they they have a covenant with god. He will love them, but they must obey him. They disobey so the covenant's broken. So you've got this this flood of people that fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, and then you come to the little he waste bit, and it's down to 1 man, 1 man, a savior on their behalf, that will a bay. And when that 1 man obeys, he creates a people of obedience, the other side and opens out.

That's what we're sort of seeing here. That these people that god's made a covenant with are are breaking his covenant, but god will raise up 1 man or a woman in the in the case of Deborah, 1 person, 1 spirit filled person, and it's a picture of Christ. There's a savior to the sinful people. Look at chapter 2 verse 14. In his anger against Israel, the lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around whom they were no, who were no longer able to they were no longer able to resist.

Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the lord was against them to defeat them just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress in verse 16. Then the lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of the raiders. And then it goes on, but they didn't listen to the judges. They went back into, and it's a cycle.

You get 7 cycles of them following the false gods, being in distress, God sends a savior, and then they turn back to god, they don't listen to him again, and it's the cycle again and again. You'll see that. 7 cycles. There's 7 because the 12 judges sort of overlap. A hundred and 78 times in the book of judges, god is called Yahway.

That's the covenant name for God. It's twice as many times that he's just called God. It's about god promising to send a judge. It's about the need for god people, if they're ever gonna follow him, need to have a judge, need to have a savior, need to have someone that god has a covenant with, who is a man, a spirit filled man, who will obey on their behalf. And all of that is about Jesus because all scripture is about Jesus.

If you don't see Jesus in judges, you're gonna miss the whole point of it. Even though the judges in the book of judges fail in many ways, There'll be an element about them that shows us a picture of Christ that god sends a spirit man God sends a savior. We will follow the lord. No, you won't. Unless you have a savior and yes, you have a spirit king unless you're following the king.

You can only follow the lord if you follow the king and love the king. And love the savior. Jesus is the glorious savior of judges. The man Christ Jesus is the 1 that god sends to save us from our stupid cycle of sin. It's the god of grace here who sends a rescuer to rescue us from idols and false gods and all their lies and all their extractions and all their anti human ways to save us from our ungratefulness and our stupid forgetfulness to save us from our sins that cause us to run after broken systems and drink filthy water instead of the water of life.

To save us and open our eyes to the beauty of the savior that's given by god is the 1 that we need to follow to save us from a world of death and decay and violence to take us into the land of milk and honey. Jesus is the glorious savior and all of these saviors have a aspect, even in their failures of something of god, and even their failures pointers to Jesus because we don't just want a human savior. We need the divine savior, the spirit filled man of God that Hebrew says He is the judge that never dies. We need a savior who judges our sins and will have nothing to do with the sin, but nevertheless saves us. If that's not the cross, I don't know what is.

Only the cross could fulfill that. That god is angrier our sin, but he wants to keep the covenant with us. How does he do that? The cross, the savior, Jesus, the spirit filled man. That loves us so much that he's coming to this world of people that have thrown themselves into idolatry and sickness and immorality that even the physical land wants to say, I wanna puke you out.

You're so vile. You deserve the wrath of god, but the savior comes. The Savior, the lord Jesus Christ. And you see some of the themes that are going on there. So that leads me to my third point, which has 7 points.

Themes to look out for. Well, we've seen them. I won't be very long. The tragic tyranny of sin that people are in. Look at verse 19 of chapter 2.

But when the judge died, the people returned to the ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors. Following other gods serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices in stubborn ways. They're in the grip of sin. Do you know people like this?

Is that you? Stubb and grip of sin. Do you want to follow the Lord? Yeah. How?

I need to remember what the Savior's done. I need the spirit filled man to show me what he's done, and he can break the power of canceled sin. The tyranny of sin. You'll see that as we read through this book. When you look at Joshua, you see, you know, how we should live.

But when we fall in the book of judges cry out to the savior 7 times You'll see the work of the spirit here. What happens when they sin How does deliverance come? God raises up a spirit man. A man or a woman full of the spirit. The the word for the spirit comes on someone in the Hebrew is very interesting.

The word is the spirit clothes himself. The spirit clothes himself with a man. Interesting. The spirit clothes himself. With a man.

That's the lord Jesus. And that's what we need, all our plans, all our projects, I I I do sometimes get very weary of conferences you go to and ministers discussions and We're chatting away and talking and planning, and there's the next strategy meeting, and if there's 7.8 strategies, and they all begin with m or f or g or and, well, we got this new strap line that's gonna convert the world and all this sort of stuff. And, but we need the spirit of god. We need the Holy Spirit. And then maybe we'll reach the lost.

Because the Holy Spirit will live in the church and make us holy and different from the world. So you see the spirit's work. You see god is the god of grace and will build his church through his savior. You see that again and again. You see weak instruments in clay pots used by god, Gidyan, and a woman, and an oxbow, and you're gonna see all of those wonderful stories.

So god uses the despised and the weak, which is very much like the cross, isn't it? The most despised thing in the world across, but he uses that and the preaching of the cross and the stupidity of the preaching that god became a man and died on a cross to be our savior. He uses that to make his people. You'll see that the world needs a savior judge. What does this world need?

Where there are 16 year olds stabbing their their school friend to death unremorsefully and then getting on the bus with blood on their hands. What does this world need? It needs judgment, but it needs a savior. It needs to be cleansed, but it needs rescuing. Psalm 96 tells us that the judge of the world is righteous, and the peoples are faithful to put their trust in him.

The world needs a people that are faithful to the savior. The church needs spirit filled, judge, savior. So here we are. Were assembled to pretend I'm Joshua. We gathered here at shechem, the suburb of Kingston.

As for me and my house, we're served the lord. Will you give up the idols? You want to follow god, then you need to be besotted with the lord Jesus Christ. You need to see what he's done for you. You need to look at the cross.

You need to say, Lord, help me see these truths. You need to say, Lord, save me from my stupid decisions. You need to say, I don't wanna just decide to follow you. I need the spirit's power to follow you. You wanna say, Lord cleanse me.

You wanna say, I I'm I'm I'm partial to the idols. Deal with that. Crucify that. Kill that. And then we can go into this land.

And preach the good news of Christ that we may be the image of god to a lost and broken and sinful and rebellious world. Let's pray. Father, we thank you for speaking to us this morning through your word, and, we pray that we would not be of that generation which degenerates because it does not remember and it does not build upon the things of the lord and the things that you have done. We pray that you would help us to be uncompromising in the battle against our sin. That we would not allow the the glittering idols of the day to enter into our hearts to take root in our lives.

But you'd help us to put them to death by looking upon the savior. We thank you lord Jesus that you are our great leader. We thank you that you are faithful that unlike the judges in this book, there is no spot or blemish or sin within you or anywhere near you, you're the perfect deliverer that we need. And we thank you for the cross. Where you were willing to even taste the wrath of your father for our sin.

To satisfy divine justice, To cry out it is finished, and then on the third day to come bursting through the tomb proving that sin was paid for and that death had been beaten. And all who trust in the perfect savior judge can now be forgiven and free. We pray that you would help us always to keep our eyes on Jesus. And we thank you for this meal, which helps us to do that in his name. Our men.


Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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