This week, Pastor Gene wrapped up the book of Judges as we looked at the account of Micah and a few other stories at the end of the book. Gene stops and asks the question: "What is right in God's eyes?"
Video can’t be displayed
This video is not available.
Auto-generated by YouTube
good morning if you are new here among us my name is gene i serve here at c3 church as your lead pastor and i wonder if there's anyone else here who has also had a really hard job i'm not talking about mentally or emotionally stressful i'm talking about manual labor talking about really hard work when i think back throughout my entire life and all the different jobs i've had i think the hardest job physically was tree work cutting trees down if you've ever done that you know what i'm talking about it's really not easy and the kind of tree work that i did wasn't the kind of tree work where you could use a bucket we didn't have that much money like a lift although i probably wouldn't want to get up in that thing anyway but the trees would often be in spots that were hard to get to so you have two jobs you have the climbers and then you have the ground people and the climbers they're pretty skilled they wear stirrups on their feet they have a belt with the chainsaw hanging off of it and a rope you put it around the tree and this is kind of how you shimmy up the tree and once they get up there they very surgically they call them tree surgeons sometimes cut the limbs off and they're notching them and dropping them there's a whole science to it that was not me i was the guy on the ground and if you're going to be one of the ground guys you got to be pretty strong because once they give the all clear it's my turn to come in with the chainsaw and chop up the pieces of wood but here's the thing you don't want to chop it into little tiny pieces because then you're running back and forth a lot to the truck it takes a lot of time and energy so you gotta have pretty large pieces of wood and they're really really heavy this was hard work very cumbersome really difficult job tree work but what a lot of people don't know about it is this there's the obvious that you're cutting down the tree because it's become cumbersome it's too large for the space that it's in it poses a threat to perhaps a home or something like that the original property owner didn't think when they planted the little seed that it would turn into a great big tree what a lot of people don't know can be a little dangerous especially for the climbers because some of the greatest trees some of the biggest trees out there are really hollow and rotten on the inside today we continue in our series the rest of the story last week we looked at samson where we saw that like the big trees samson was great on the outside but kind of weak on the inside and this is where most close the book of judges in fact if you've done the program as a church the story it literally cuts off the next five chapters it's not there it actually says that it talks about samson and oh by their way there are some other things happened and enter ruth that is exactly what it says it literally redacts the chapters we're going to be looking at from the program to the pulpit this is what the church does and i have mixed feelings about it i'll tell you what on one hand i get what i think is the intended purpose i know this was the purpose when we did the stories at church is that you figure people are going to get a cliff's notes version maybe a little better than that of the bible then all of a sudden they're going to get really interested and they're going to go home and say wow i want to read the rest of the story but from my experience that is not what happened people were content to give themselves a gold star and say yeah i read the bible but that's not true there's a lot more to it and so i have mixed feelings about it because pastors know this we know that most people aren't reading the bible and we know that when we present the cliffs notes version what do you do in school do you then go oh i want to read the whole book who's done that all right you do the cliffs notes for the younger kids i don't know if they have them anymore the cheater guide it's a little short version right that's how you cheat and then you do your little book report but how many of you did that and then read the whole book no so it doesn't happen with the bible either so pastors know this after i discovered this i'm like okay we're not going to do that again that doesn't work it didn't get people in there and they keep doing it here's the other thing and this is what surprises me that a lot of pastors will give approval to tv programs about the bible different kinds of programs that redact stuff from god's story or add to it god's word tells us not to do that very specifically in several places why because his word is perfect we don't have to take anything away we might miss something important we don't have to add anything to it it is perfect yet so many christians love these programs with all this extra stuff put in there now think about it even in the secular world what happens if it's your favorite book right some book you liked i don't know whatever it is lord of the rings right and then they make a movie about it and the director decides it's not really good enough let's take this out let's add this what's the standard by which we measure that movie well how close to the book they got it that's what we all say right the book was better right it really wasn't like the book you should really read the book it's my favorite book and some take offense because it's like the director saying well i can write the story better than that person so what are we doing when we change god's story are we saying we can write it better than he can so it surprises me when so many people watch these shows and love these shows i think why maybe because it's not their favorite book but we at c3 church believe that this is perfect in every way shape and form so when we teach on it there is nothing added nothing taken away and that's kind of what this series is all about so today we're going to look at judges 17 through 21 where we'll see that there is more to the story in the book of judges there's a theme of hypocrisy and so this is appearing to be great or doing good things on the outside but on the inside there are lots of problems judges 17 starting at verse 1. there was a man named micah who lived in the hill country of ephraim one day he said to his mother i heard you placed a curse on the person who stole 1100 pieces of silver from you well i have the money i was the one who took it the lord bless you for admitting it his mother replied he returned the money to her and she said i now dedicate these silver coins to the lord good in honor of my son i will have an image carved in an idol cast bad so when he returned the money to his mother she took 200 silver coins and gave them to a silversmith who made them into an image and an idol and these were placed in micah's house micah set up a shrine for the idol and he made a secret ephod and some household idols then he installed one of his sons as a personal priest in those days israel had no king all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes so right out the gate it's like this hypocrisy right oh i'm going to honor the lord but i'm going to make an idol so if you've been paying attention 1100 pieces of silver this is what each one of the philistine kings offered to delilah to betray samson if we keep reading we'll see that there's a little more to this story a levite shows up he's from bethlehem and judah and so micah offers him a job 10 pieces of silver a year a change of clothing i'll put you up you're good so he accepts the job what he's doing here is he's trying to legitimize this idolatry he even says i know the lord will bless me because i have a levite as a priest if you know anything about the word you know that the levites were the ones who could be priests hypocrisy judges 18 starting at verse 1. now in those days israel had no king and the tribe of dan was trying to find a place where they could settle for they had not yet moved into the land assigned to them when the land was divided among the tribes of israel so the men of dan chose from their clans five capable wars from the towns of zora and esteol to scout out a land for them to settle in so if you're paying attention numbers again how many kings were there five how many warriors sent out five you're going to see this repeating theme of numbers so here's what they do they go to scout out the land so the land it was divided in joshua if you remember that the allocation of land some of the tribes haven't settled in dan is one of them and settled into their land yet they're allotted land so they're like okay let's go scout it out we see this a lot in the bible on the way they get to micah's house the guy with the idols and so they stop by they spend the night there and they asked the levite well will we be successful in this he says yeah very little consultation going on sure you will it's great so they go on and they find a place called laish it's a peaceful town and very prosperous probably allied with sidon because it mentions that it's far away from this very big city so strategically this is very good for dan why because when they attack it there's going to be no one to come and help them good so they get back to their people and everybody agrees they say we found the place so they send 600 warriors remember that number two 600 and they head out on the way there they pass by micah's house five guys are like oh by the way there's some goodies in that house so they go and get it they steal all these sacred ephod stuff and the idol and on the way out the leaflets like what are you doing and they're like stop it why don't you come with us better to be a priest for a whole tribe of israel than for one man and so he says sure this is great he goes with them so now mike has lost all his goodies his idol and his priest delegitimizing him he catches up with them and they threaten him ah we have some hot tempered guys here watch it they might kill you and so they go on now it says they tackle and they rename it dan but then here's something kind of interesting i notice at least one or two people following along in the word i want to make a note of something this is how embarrassing this account was for the jewish people for years if you keep reading judges 18 verse 30 will say that they appointed a priest there and if you're reading an older version it'll say manasseh son gershom and then it's the grandson jonathan that they appoint as a priest if your version says manasseh instead of moses you have my permission to cross it out and change it to moses because that's what the original says kind of interesting in the beginning of this series in the intro i told you that the bible of the christian church was in greek it's an older manuscript it's more accurate they believed it to be a better translation of the old testament and in that version it says moses and if you know the word well manasseh didn't have sons named gershom and jonathan moses did gershom the grandson jonathan you see the jewish people were so embarrassed about this idolatry was like the worst thing that they didn't want moses's name associated with it so in the jewish translations and texts they changed it so modern versions of the bible have a little asterisk there if it says manasseh and the better ones will say moses because that's what it says done nerding out now so again they're appearing to be holy right they're a bunch of hypocrites it's an embarrassing story now here we're going to see a story that most christians have never heard i've never heard this and all the time i've been in church this is not sunday morning stuff it's not for the faint of heart and many pastors are divided on whether they should share the story with their congregations judges 19 starting at verse 1. now in those days israel had no king there was a man from the tribe of levi living in a remote area of the hill country of ephraim one day he brought home a woman from bethlehem and judah to be his concubine but she became angry with him and return to her father's home in bethlehem so you have this north-south travel going on a whole lot and it kind of repeats so first things first what's a concubine i'm not going to assume that you know could be a mistress could be a second wife why is she mad we don't know but probably someone's going to make a tv series about it and tell us there's a reason we don't know because it's not the point we move on because that's the way god's telling the story no speculation here she's just mad at him she goes to her dad's house about four months later takes him a little while he goes to retrieve the concubine okay he gets there and the dad is really hospitable they spend three days feasting they're having a good time and it begins to remind you if you know the word of the jacob and laban account like he's being detained for some reason could speculate maybe it's because he doesn't want his daughter to go i don't know not the point of the story right so he gets detained for a couple more days he doesn't go on for 20 years he gets out of there in about five days saddles up his two donkeys his servant brings his concubine and heads out on his way his servant says we've got to spend the night somewhere let's go to jabus this jebusite town now if you know the word really well this place becomes jerusalem really really important city but the levite says now we're not going to stay in a foreign town where there's no israelites because he thinks that's unsafe so they get to gibeah well you got to know that gibya is a benjamite town this is another tribe of israel so they figure they're going to be safe there in gibya it'll be an important town later so they go in the town square even though they have all their provisions that which means they're not going to be a burden to anybody nobody's letting them in so they're out there in the town square this old man approaches them he's coming home from work they have a conversation and they tell him what's going on nobody's letting us in even though we have all the things we need he says oh come stay with me no problem but whatever you do don't stay in the town square you know something so you go to the house they're having a good time wash the feet tradition back then something you did got ready for dinner they're eating and feasting until there's a knock at the door a bunch of trouble makers mob is out there waiting and they demand that they send the levi out so that they can have their way with him now this should be reminding you of sodom and gomorrah it's very very similar but an interesting exchange happens the old man trying to be hospitable talks to him and he says no no you can have my virgin daughter and his concubine he's taking some liberties here they say no we want the man. so the levite shoves his concubine out the door think about it for a second all the trouble that he went through to get this bride concubine back that's the first thing he does right he's not going to protest he's not going to put up a fight maybe he should fight let's fight nope later he goes back i don't know i guess he returns to his feasting we don't know but we do know that the town's people do have their way with her it's horrible until dawn he gets up in the morning finishes his paper in his coffee opens the door sees her lying there all right let's go get up that's his response but she doesn't respond because she's dead they've killed her but i want you to think about it this is this levite right like this holy man of god this priest he knows what has been done to her get up let's go hypocrite crazy story so he brings the body back home what do you think he does well let's read it judges 19 29 when he got home he took a knife and cut his concubine's body into 12 pieces then he sent one piece to each tribe throughout all the territory of israel everyone who saw it said such a horrible crime has not been committed in all the time since israel left egypt think about it what are we going to do who's going to speak up i'm sure you can see why some pastors are divided about teaching on this bad very bad judges 20 starting at verse 1 then all the israelites were united as one man from dan in the north to beersheba and the south including those from across the jordan in the land of gilead the entire community assembled in the presence of the lord at mitzvah the leaders of all the people and all the tribes of israel four hundred thousand warriors armed with swords took their positions in the assembly of the people of god weren't soon reached the land of benjamin that the other tribes had gone up to mitzvah the israelites then asked how this terrible crime had happened now the levite gets up and explains it to them so he's sent all these pieces of the body to get everybody riled up that's the point so he explains what happened but his story's a little different he says well the men there were going to kill me he leaves out what they really wanted to do to him and then he says well so they had their way with my concubine leaving out the whole part about shoving her out the door so they asked benjamin give up the guys that did this we don't want the guys that did this they say nope instead they assemble 26 000 of their own warriors along with 700 men from gilead it says that they're left-handed remember e-hood they're left-handed and they can use a sling really really well with pinpoint accuracy so to speak so now it's 400 000 guys against 26 700 people from benjamin and they're praying through it but they experience two losses i believe it's 22 000 on the first loss 18 000 on the second they're saying why lord why is this happen they're worshiping he says no go ahead i'll give you the victory this time and they get it they implement a little more strategy this time kind of like we saw in joshua with ai then it says this judges 20 46 so that day the tribe of benjamin lost 25 000 strong warriors armed with swords leaving only six hundred thousand men who escaped to the rock of remnant where they lived for four months four months again and the israelites returned and slaughtered every living thing in all the towns the people the livestock and everything they found they also burned down all the towns they came to remember 600 men 600 men there's some men they lose in the middle there if you're good at math heather was like hey that doesn't add up there's only 600 men that's the point but here's the strange thing now all of a sudden all these tribes they have this remorse they're like oh no all of a sudden they went from wanting to destroy all of them to saying well we can't have a tribe of israel wiped out judges 21 1 the israelites vowed at mitzba we will never give our daughters in marriage to a man from the tribe of bethlehem they made these vows there now the people went to bethel and sat in the presence of god until evening weeping loudly and bitterly oh lord god of israel they cried out why has this happened in israel now one of our tribes is missing from israel maybe because you killed all of them just an idea so how do we repopulate benjamin let's think on it for a minute they also made another vow admits but they said well anyone who doesn't go with us to the assembly right to fight against benjamin will kill him it's another vow and so they realize that the people from jabashkilia did not go great so they killed all of them except the virgins there were 400 after doing the math leaves them 200 short gee i wonder what we should do to get the other 200 brides oh they remembered that there's a festival to the lord at shiloh so here's what you do benjamites you wait in ambush for them and it seems kind of comical if you step back and read it and when they come out dancing in the fields you're going to grab them and kidnap them so imagine throwing one of them on the shoulder and running off crazy so i guess two wrongs make it right judges 21 starting at verse 23 so the men of benjamin did as they were told each man caught with one of the women as she danced in the celebration and carried her off to be his wife they returned to their own land and they rebuilt their towns and lived in them then the people of israel departed by tribes and families and they returned to their own homes in those days israel had no king and all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes crazy stories but do we also do what is right in our own eyes and turn a blind eye towards certain things last week we learned about samson being blinded before that i told you about saul becomes paul he's blinded they both did what they thought was right in their own eyes until they were blinded both were great on the outside in paul's case he had a lot of credentials paul thought he was right by the standards of the law and the world like the priests or levites he was a pharisee a religious leader blameless according to the law according to outward appearances he did what was right in his own eyes until jesus took away his ability to use them remember the damascus road he's blinded with a flash of light for three days and this forces him to look inwardly to use the eyes of his heart he writes in ephesians to the church it's a lot of prayers interwoven in that beautiful letter one of them says this ephesians 1 18 i pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance paul has hope for the people called by god that they can see with the eyes of their heart not outward appearances but this translation misses a little something i like to use an easy to read translation on sunday because the bible's already kind of hard to understand so it's just an easy to read translation but it misses something i'll point it out don't worry and so here we have the greek and i don't expect you to be able to read that so i did some translating for you we have like one person watching online who can read that but the point is it's really beautiful why it says flooded with light is because it's like being enlightened but the word light is stuck in there so being enlightened being flooded with light it's like kind of a big thought there but it says the eyes of the heart not outward eyes flooded with light but the heart being enlightened think about it how do you enlighten your heart it's deep a lot to chew on there in the greek it says i want your heart to be enlightened to be flooded with light which is why it says that a little easier to understand jesus blinded paul in this flash of light which caused him to look inwardly now jesus says this in luke's gospel account luke 11 starting at verse 34 your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body when your eye is healthy your whole body is filled with light but when it is unhealthy your body is filled with darkness make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness if you are filled with light with no dark corners then your whole life will be radiant as though a flood light were filling your heart if we continue reading he then criticizes those who are like the levites and judges or the pharisees like saul luke 11 37 as jesus was speaking one of the pharisees invited him home for a meal so he went in and took his place at the table his house was amazed to see that he sat down without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by jewish custom then the lord said to him you pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup in the dish but inside you are filthy full of greed and wickedness fools didn't god make the inside as well as the outside so clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor and you'll be clean all over jesus calls people like that blind guides in matthew 23. i'll read you a little bit of it matthew 23 starting at verse 5. everything they do is for show on their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with scripture verses inside and they wear robes with extra long tassels and they love to sit at the head table at banquets and the seats of honor in the synagogues they love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces and to be called rabbi but if we continue reading verse 13 what sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and new pharisees hypocrites for you shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces you won't go in yourselves and you don't let others in either what sorrow awaits your teachers of religious law and you pharisees hypocrites for you cross land and sea to make one convert and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are blind guides what sorrow awaits you blind guys a lot of people don't know that jesus talked like that is that in the show the scathing rebuke of these hypocrites continues for a while like the levites and judges or the pharisees in the gospels do we too do what is wrong under the guise of doing what is right samson in the book of judges he appears to be very strong on the outside but inside has many weaknesses and we close the book of judges with a string of stories that all have a common thread all of them claim to be doing something right while doing something very wrong whether it be micah or his mother the young levite the danites the levite and the concubine the hospitable host the tribe of benjamin the section itself begins with an admission of guilt theft then an unrighteous act remember it's judges 17-3 he returned the money to her and she said i now dedicate these silver coins to the lord good in honor of my son i will have an image carved in an idle cast and that section ends in those days israel had no king all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes and the book ends judges 21 25 in those days israel had no king all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes just like this story often gets left out it's embarrassing maybe redacted for many programs do we also leave out parts of our story this section is difficult difficult passages of scripture leaves us with lots of questions it's gritty the jewish people thought it was embarrassing but are parts of our story embarrassing too, do we treat this as a buffet, taking what we like, do christians as individuals post themselves out there online as one thing, post scriptures right, like the pharisees with the scripture verses hanging out in the tassels, oh we should all do this, you should read this scripture, but then turn around online and look at something they shouldn't, immediately after. do we dress up as someone who is holy, but then turn around and do something that's not, like the pharisees are there religious leaders today who go around doing very selfish things under the guise of doing what is right. we see so many celebrity pastors nowadays, falling from grace like the rotten trees. from pastors to people do we get dressed up for church spend lots of time doing our hair and our makeup but on the inside it's not so pretty do we put up a front here at c3 we believe in transparency in word and deed from the leadership to the flock that's what it means to be real real church real people but that doesn't mean going around doing whatever we want although some have translated it that way sadly real church real people means doing christianity genuinely it means taking off the mask asking for help when we need it we're all going through something so let's be real with one another that's what it means to be real church real people you see we all have something and in order to heal it we need to be real about it that's the only way it's going to happen we have to acknowledge it because when we don't it's like a cancer inside us it rots us from the inside out and the longer we let it go the more difficult it is to heal we shouldn't be doing life alone so practically if you haven't already i want to encourage you carol lee i think it's carolee today isn't it we'll show you some ways in which you can connect with us please do that if you're shy you're not good at making friends that's okay you can use the connection card you can use our app which will show you how to do that we want you to connect with the body of christ amen so let me pray for you the way paul did for ephesus i pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he god has called you the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people and his incomparably great power for us who believe i ask this in jesus name amen