Judges 1 – 5: God Uses “Foolish” Things to Shame The “Wise”
This week we arrive in the book of Judges, as we take a look at Judges chapter 1 through chapter 5. We look at the account of Deborah as we see how God sometimes uses foolish things to shame the wise.
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good morning welcome if you're new here among us my name is gene and i serve here at c3 church as your lead pastor have you ever heard the phrase float like a butterfly sting like a bee if you're younger you might not have heard it it's from muhammad ali it's considered by many to be one of the greatest boxers of all time and in all my years in the martial arts industry i learned that this was a tried and true strategy it's all about strategy about being light on your feet yet packing a powerful punch when necessary a complete fighter both sides of the coin there's another phrase that i learned to be true and that is never underestimate a woman i found this to be true both inside the ring and outside of the ring being married not going to say i'm a black belt in marriage yet maybe like white belt a couple stripes i don't know i'm trying i'm trying but it is tried and true and especially in my case i learned this to be true it's because the style of martial arts that i specialized in was brazilian jiu jitsu and if you know anything about it you know that this is the foundational martial art for mixed martial arts that's what i did i ran mixed martial arts gyms you don't call them dojos because they're very very informal it's like a boxing gym except with a cage in it and people fighting with no rules fighting but brazilian jiu jitsu is the martial art that invented the ultimate fighting championship the ufc mixed martial arts a lot of people don't know this you see the idea here and this is why it caught a lot of american martial artists boxers alike off guard because the idea behind jiu jitsu is that you're using your opponent's strengths against them you're using leverage strategy intelligence over brute force oftentimes it looks like the jujitsu fighter is losing but it's kind of like muhammad ali's rope-a-dope you're just wearing them down you can fight from your back even using your legs for leverage and then tap your opponent out submit them with an arm lock or a choke or something like that so very often you will see a much smaller weaker opponent beating much bigger opponents and these much smaller opponents sometimes include women i would see this a lot in the mma gyms where a woman would beat a man this is a technique that i would use when i saw someone come in the gym with an attitude problem you'd have a big burly guy looks like he works out way too much he thinks he's tough and so i would pair him with the girl in 110 pounds soaking wet teenager and quite often almost all of the time the girl would beat the big burly guy to shock and surprise sometimes the guy would get put to sleep find himself waking up with a bunch of people staring at him laughing you got beat by a girl it was a great attitude adjustment and indeed this is what happened in the ultimate fighting championship it left a lot of american spectators and judges alike in awe speaking of judges where was he going with this you'll see today we find ourselves in the rest of the story where we're looking at the book of judges last week we looked at the book of joshua we're going to do the first five chapters of judges today so we saw that joshua was moses's protege they get into the promised land there's the division of the land they're securing some victories now we arrive in judges more victories very funny tale that it starts out with judah and simeon two of the tribes of israel that is jacob they secure some victories one guy adonai bisic they just kill ten thousand people and then they kill this king and or well before they kill him they cut off his big toes and his thumbs that's interesting but think about it try living your life without your big toes for balance or your thumbs opposable for grabbing things and then he says something funny he says i once had 70 kings whose thumbs and big toes i cut off eating scraps from my table but now the lord has repaid me for that we see more victories but then in chapter one we see that they fail to drive everyone out of the land so it's like this list of failure after failure after failure when we get to chapter 2 we see this the angel of the lord went up from gilgal to book him and said to the israelites i brought you out of egypt into this land that i swore to give to your ancestors and i said i would never break my covenant with you for your part you are not to make any covenants with the people living in this land instead you were to destroy their altars but you disobeyed my command why did you do this so now i declare that i will no longer drive out the people living in your land there will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a constant temptation to you so now a new generation comes up who forgets what the lord did for them they don't care about it they intermarry and this causes them as predicted to worship other gods so the lord sends enemies to defeat them judges 2 starting at verse 15 every time israel went out to battle the lord fought against them causing them to be defeated just as he had warned and the people were in great distress but verse 16. then the lord raised up judges to rescue the israelites from their attackers so here's where we got a pause for a second and look at the word judge or judges we can't think of it exactly the way a judge operates in our culture today where they're judging over legal matters and things yes they do that but they're more like governors temporary governors for a time that the lord appoints rule over israel to rescue them as it says sometimes they're prophets and sometimes they're military leaders as we'll see today but here we're going to hit a cycle prosperity peace complacency and that complacency will lead to sin these five chapters cover a time period of about 160 or so years so it's a pretty long time in short amount of text the intermarry chapter 3 all these different civilizations and then we read this judges 3 8 then the lord burned with anger against israel and he turned them over to king christian rishithayam of aram naharayam i got through that and the israelites served cushing and risha thayem for eight years but when the people of israel cried out to the lord for help the lord raised up a rescuer to save them his name was othniel the son of caleb's younger brother kinase the spirit of the lord came upon him and he became israel's judge he went to war against king christian richartham of aram and the lord gave othniel victory over him so there was peace in the land for 40 years then othniel son of kinase died a couple of interesting points first judge of israel we see caleb if you remember you were paying attention way back there in numbers we saw that it was caleb and joshua who did want to be obedient to the lord who did want to go to the promised land who did trust the lord for the victory the other 10 scouts did not they saw those giants they were scared and they said no no and this is why they wander the wilderness for 40 years but here we see caleb's nephew here another interesting thing he's another example of someone filled with the holy spirit in the old testament we've seen that before and i'm pointing it out to you there are people who are filled with the holy spirit in the old testament as well a lot of christians will get this wrong they'll say the holy spirit appears a pentecost and acts yeah he does it's an outpouring of him but he's all over the beginning of the new testament and the old testament as well not quite the outpouring in the old testament but on selected people like judges how many people here are left-handed all right i shouldn't have raised quite a few i shouldn't raise my left hand you're going to like this next story then pay attention i'm right-handed predominantly how many here are old enough to have been born left-handed but then forced to use your right hand anyone okay this was fairly common a long time ago probably before my time it's because being left-handed had a stigma with it in society really not today in our culture it could be seen as a bad thing a disadvantage even evil to certain cultures so they make you right-handed i know from being also in the music industry there'd be less guitars to choose from if you were left-handed they didn't make as many so maybe you saw this guitar you really liked but they didn't make a left-handed one in boxing or mma this is called being a southpaw and at first this can be to your advantage if you know how to work it and then it can be to your disadvantage once your opponent figures it out if we keep reading we'll see that the second judge of israel is left-handed they make a note of it here judges 3 starting at verse 12. once again the israelites said evil in the lord's sight and the lord gave king eglin of moab control over israel because of their evil eglon enlisted the ammonites and the amalekites as allies and he went out to defeat israel or defeated israel taking possession of jericho remember that city the cursed city find out what happens here at good old king eglin in a minute the city of palms and the israelites served eglin of moab for 18 years when the people of israel cried out to the lord for help the lord again raised up a rescuer to save them his name was ehood son of guerra a left-handed man of the tribe of benjamin so i'll make a short story shorter tell you what happens here e hood is dispatched to get tribute money or give tribute money to this king eglin so he gains access to him he uses this to his advantage he also decides to make like a dagger double-edged dagger maybe about a foot long some say 18 inches and he attaches it under his coat to his right thigh now some commentators will say the reason they're bringing up the fact that he's left-handed is because that not only gives him access to the king but access to the dagger knowing just a little bit about martial arts if you want to conceal something it's harder to use one hand to do two motions get the code out of the way get the dagger plus you could shield yourself pull it out and stab your opponent in one move some say but definitely the fact that he's supposed to deliver this tribute money gives him special access to the king he drops off the tribute money gets about halfway home and then turns back and he approaches the king and he says i have a secret for you so the king sends all the servants out of the room then once everyone's away he says this is from the lord and then he stabs him it says that the dagger gets stuck in his fat it's kind of a gross story because then it says his bowels come out disgusting gets a little bit more disgusting well more but continues to get disgusting he closes the doors locks them and some versions say he escapes down the latrine i didn't have like modern plumbing like we do today so use your imagination well servants are outside and they're thinking maybe he's using the latrine but he's taking way too long right the paper he's done reading that so they find a key they get in and they see the king is dead now e hood takes advantage of this when you lose a king what happens there's a little bit of turmoil some confusion so he rallies up the troops and he goes and attacks them killing ten thousand moabites it says so moab was conquered by israel that day and they had peace in the land for 80 years pretty long time then there's a guy named shamgar this is what it says about judges 3 21 after ehud shamgar son of anath rescued israel he once killed 600 philistines with an ox goad if you know the word pretty well you know this is kind of a little bit of a foreshadowing of something that samson does kind of similar but that's all this section gives us on good old shamgar we don't know how much peace and prosperity they had during this time but after it judges 4 1 says this after ehood's death the israelites again did evil in the lord's sight so the lord turned them over to king jabin of hazor a canaanite king the commander of his army was sisera who lived in hareshetha [ __ ] sisera who had 900 iron chariots ruthlessly oppressed the israelites for 20 years then the people of israel cried out to the lord for help deborah the wife of lapidoth was a prophet who is judging israel at that time she would sit under the palm of deborah aptly named between rama and bethel in the hill country of ephraim and the israelites would go to her for judgment so a couple of very interesting things here deborah she's both a judge interesting a female judge and prophet she's both some of them are not profits she's judging israel so what she does is she summons a guy named barrick and she says you know what you're going to rally up the troops well they have ten thousand men for me and we're gonna go to war against this king jabin specifically sisera i'm going to call him out essentially and we're going to have a battle and they do and it says that the lord causes confusion among them and this is what gives them the victory sister of the general hops out of his chariot and he tries to escape he ends up at a tent a guy named heber owns it and he's in good standing with king james so cicero thinks it's safe heber's not around but his wife is jail come on in it's gonna be safe here puts a blanket around him he says i'm thirsty she gives him milk he must have been tired because he falls asleep jail decides to take a tent peg why well it's in a tent and women were probably tasked with pitching the tents back then one of their jobs so she's good with a tent peg and a hammer apparently because while he's sleeping on his side she takes the tent peg and drives it through his head into the ground it says through his temple well you didn't know that was in the bible did you some gory stories this good stuff isn't it kills him i said never underestimate a woman you could say she put him to sleep didn't she if we go back when barack comes to deborah and she prophesies to him to call the ten thousand warriors this is what said judges 4 8 barack told her i will go but only if you go with me very well she replied i will go with you but you will receive no honor in this venture for the lord's victory over sisera will be at the hands of a woman indeed this was prophesied by a woman and the victory was at the hands of a woman you see god uses those who seem weak to shame the strong time and time again you get the judges five we see that there's the song of deborah or the song of deborah and barack some versions say this is interesting it gives us a few more details this is really common in the psalms for example when they're singing about other things that had happened before you'll get embellishments or other details call it poetry what i find more interesting about the song of deborah is that it is an example of a woman dictating scripture think about it even the most conservative christian would say judges chapter 5 is god's word it's scripture and rightly so it is but here we have a woman dictating it quite interesting so i'm glad that no one told her a woman couldn't speak in church that day did you know deborah means be like z b the insect it's small it seems weak but it packs a powerful punch its sting is quite painful i think elephants are even afraid of bees and just as bees are led by a queen bee so the israelites followed deborah like a small fighter who relies on leverage and wins the victory comes as a surprise because the world sees the larger opponent as the victor automatically but when the smaller fighter wins he or she makes a fool of him like left-handed ahood jail the woman with the tent peg or deborah the bee so christ didn't seem qualified when he was called you see christ means anointed or chosen this phrase comes from something shepherds would do to sheep they would anoint them which means rub or smear around the ears so the insects didn't get in this could kill the sheep and later we see that kings are anointed the priests were anointed they poured oil over their heads so they're anointed chosen for the service jesus is the anointed one but according to the world this is how christ was seen if we go to the prophet isaiah give us a description prophecy of jesus it says this isaiah 53 1 my servant grew up in the lord's presence like a tender green chute like a root in dry ground there was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance nothing to attract us to him he was despised and rejected a man of sorrows acquainted with deepest grief we turned our backs on him and looked the other way he was despised and we did not care yet this despised nothing good to look at rejected son is the savior of us all isaiah 53 starting at verse 4 it continues yet it was our weaknesses he carried it was our sorrows that weighed him down and we thought his troubles were a punishment from god a punishment for his own sins but he was pierced for our rebellion crushed for our sins he was beaten so we could be whole he was whipped so we could be healed all of us like sheep have strayed away we have left god's paths to follow our own yet the lord laid on him the sins of us all jesus took the punishment for us and this seemed foolish to the world what god would come and be defeated would die a humiliating and painful death on the cross he was mocked how could this be how could god be so weak it looked like jesus was losing until he rose from the victorious dead see in first corinthians if we hop over to the new testament paul whom we've looked at in this series says that this plan for god to send his son and to die was seen as foolish by the world first corinthians 1 starting at verse 18. the message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction but we who are being saved know it is the very power of god as the scriptures say i will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent it's a quote of isaiah putting things together so where does this leave the philosophers the scholars and the world's brilliant debaters god has made the wisdom of this world look foolish since god in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe it is foolish to the jews who ask for signs from heaven and is foolish to the greeks who seek human wisdom so when we preach that christ was crucified the jews are offended the gentiles say it's all nonsense but like jesus we shouldn't care what the world says about us instead pay attention to what the word says if we keep reading first corinthians we see that not many were wise wealthy or powerful in the world's eyes it says this but to those called by god to salvation both jews and gentiles that's us christ is the power of god and the wisdom of god this foolish plan of god is wiser than the wisest of human plans and god's weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength remember dear brothers and sisters the few of you who are wise in the world's eyes are powerful or wealthy when god called you instead god shows the things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise and he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful god chose things despised by the world things counted as nothing at all and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important through the entire word of god we are seeing that we may seem at times weak unqualified to the world but god doesn't call the qualified he qualifies the called god uses common people we saw even sinners jacob a deceiver joseph a slave moses a shepherd and a murderer in exile rahab a prostitute what we should be learning from god's word in our lives as it applies to us is that you you can be used by god powerfully no matter who you are no matter where you're from no matter what you've done god uses those who are meek and weak by the world's standards powerfully for the kingdom of god let me pray for you but i thank you for this church for these people your sons and daughters lord there's anyone listening in the sound of my voice who has not come to you yet please draw them near let them surrender all to you in obedience so that every person here can be used powerfully for the building of your kingdom i ask this in jesus name amen you