This week we arrive in the book of Judges, as we take a look at Judges chapter 6 through chapter 12. As we get more insight into the Gideon, Jephtha, Saul/Paul, Abimelech and more!
Video can’t be displayed
This video is not available.
Auto-generated by YouTube
good morning welcome if you're new here among us my name is gene i serve here at c3 church as your lead pastor happy fourth of july independence day a lot to celebrate but before we do that before we go out and maybe have our barbecues whatever we're going to do be careful with the firecrackers please there are enough people reporting to the hospital with missing digits we don't need any more but before we do that before we celebrate what man tells us to celebrate we are going to celebrate god that is what we are here to do this morning so let's get started you ever hear the phrase your mouth is writing checks your body or fists can't cash you ever hear that we've been talking about kind of old school phrases lately this is one of them last week we talked about getting embarrassed maybe you've said something that got you into trouble we talked about being beaten by a woman if you're a man and that being very embarrassing sometimes so this is another one watch what you say because it could get you into trouble last week we looked at god using the small things the weak things to shame the strong we're going to look at that again this week we talked about being embarrassed by a woman i told you in the martial arts industry i saw that a lot a lot of big tough guys got beat up by women and maybe you can't relate to that maybe you're saying not never done martial arts never got beat up by a woman but for the guys in the room those of us who are married or have been married if we're being honest we've been embarrassed by a woman before it's happened now maybe you're saying well never did martial arts never married maybe you've done sports maybe you've done something embarrassing like fumbled the ball at the big game maybe you haven't maybe you've never done that but i bet there's one way in which you have been embarrassed physically if you can walk i bet you've tripped and fell before that's embarrassing it's kind of funny now not when people who are frail or elderly trip that's not funny but it's kind of funny if we're being honest it must be part of our sinful nature but often people will trip and fall i'll laugh i don't know if that's just me in the room but the person falling is always aware of this because what do you do when you trip and fall you immediately look around to see who saw it that's what we do first and it's kind of funny i've seen people get hurt really bad scrape themselves up they're bleeding and what do they do they don't even check the injury they just look around make sure nobody saw that because it's embarrassing we're kind of funny that way we take embarrassment very very seriously yet we do a lot of crazy things like sports and martial arts running backwards you ever do that did it work out for you picking on the men a little bit let's go to the women for those of you who have been married or you're going to get married how many were or are worried about tripping down the aisle is that a concern all eyes on you it's your big day you spent way too much money on that dress you're gonna wear once we must not trip and fall down the aisle yet we put this clumsy what is it called a runner down the aisle that'll make it easier to trip on how many of you were worried about what your best man was going to say in the speech something stupid didn't bother you well i heard a story of a couple about to make their vows and the bride was really really worried about it she knew this guy was a wise guy so she kept nagging him don't say anything stupid in that speech right up until the very minute they were about to get married small church she wanted to keep an eye on him she's not going to let him stand there with the groom no no you're going to walk down the aisle she's not waiting in the little dressing room she's on him right until he's about to go down the aisle she says if you object when the pastor says something i'm going to kill you so he's not going to wait he says wow i better not turn my back to you then you're going to kill me so he turns around his back is to the altar and he decides to moonwalk down the aisle she is furious now all eyes are on him no attention's on her even the photographer's like this is cool he makes it all the way down but if you know anything about the moonwalk i'm just running on instinct from 1983 you really need a smooth surface to make it look good this guy has that runner thing and he's messing it up i know what you're thinking did he trip no he made it all the way down good for him the bride is furious and he's just up there smiling and as she walks down the aisle she just is laser focused on him she doesn't even look happy for the photographs she's so focused that she forgets how to walk sure enough she trips and falls flat on her face breaking her nose blood does not look good on a white wedding dress the wedding is ruined but don't worry she did make her vow that day yeah she vowed to kill the best man don't worry these stories are all made up if it involves a little boy here's the key it involves a little boy doing something really bad it's about me something i did or want to do if it's like that and it's really bad it's just something i made up for the sermon never underestimate a woman we learned that last week today we're going to be continuing in the book of judges chapters six through twelve we did one through five last week where indeed the theme was god using those things that the world perceives as weak or small insignificant to shame those people who are propped up as big or strong this is the message of the gospel isn't it so whether it be deborah the bee or jail and the tent peg those who are weak god uses he's going to use you in a powerful way if you submit to him so we'll see more of that today here we arrive in judges chapter 6 where we see that the israelites they continue to do what is evil in the lord's sight and now the midianites are oppressing them for seven years they're starving so they're destroying their crops taking their food and this is what we see judges 6 starting at verse 7. when they cried out to the lord because of midian the lord sent a prophet to the israelites he said this is what the lord the god of israel says i brought you up out of slavery in egypt i rescued you from the egyptians and from all who oppressed you i drove out your enemies and gave you their land i told you i am the lord your god you must not worship the gods of the amorites in whose land you now live but you have not listened to me then the angel of the lord came and sat beneath the great tree at ulfra which belonged to joash of the clan of abuser gideon the son of joe ash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a wine press to hide the grain from the midianites the angel of the lord appeared to him and said mighty hero the lord is with you as i read this next part keep that line in mind mighty hero the lord is with you judges 6 starting at verse 13. sir gideon replied if the lord is with us why has all this happened to us and where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about didn't they say the lord brought us up out of egypt but now the lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the midianites then the lord turned to him and said go with the strength you have and rescue israel from the midianites i am sending you but lord gideon replied how can i rescue israel my clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of manasseh and i am the least in my entire family the lord said to him i will be with you and you will destroy the midianites as if you were fighting against one man so we see that theme again i am the weakest what am i capable of the lord is with you he will bring the victory he will use you in a mighty way now gideon he's a pretty cautious person so he has this interaction he's like i'm going to need a little bit of proof so okay let me go home give me a minute i'm going to get a goat and cook it up i'm going to get some unleavened bread this is the bread without the yeast essentially in it and some broth he brings it to the angel angel tells him to put it on a rock he puts it on a rock and the angel takes his staff and burns it up angel disappears now gideon's first reaction is to freak out well now he believes i've seen the angel of the lord i'm going to die no no it's okay so he builds an altar there calls it yahweh shalom which is the lord is peace i guess the lord gave him peace but now he's tasked with building another altar he's got to destroy his dad's altar and build another one so he does but he's cautious he does it at nighttime takes down the altar builds the new one gets the seven-year-old bull from his father's flock he uses the asherah pole next to this altar of baal it's kind of like a wooden pole a phallic symbol and uses the wood to burn up the offering at night then in the morning they come to check it out the people find out they say who did this they find out that it's gideon he did it so they're going to kill him but his father stands up for him he says no no if baal is a real god let him defend himself and then gideon gets a new name jerebel let baal defend himself then we read this judges 6 33 soon afterward the armies of midian amalek and the people of the east formed an alliance against israel and cross the jordan camping in the valley of jezreel then the spirit of the lord clothed gideon with power i like the way that's worded he blew a ram's horn as a call to arms and the men of the clan of abuser came to him he also sent messengers throughout manasseh asher zebel and naphtali summoning their warriors and all of them responded so here again as we've seen in this series it is yet another person filled with the spirit of the lord in the old testament and i was saying that to you last week a lot of christians think that the holy spirit appears on pentecost well yes it's like a waterfall of the holy spirit this is a selective placing or clothing of the spirit of god on certain people to perform certain tasks but despite all of this gideon says if you're going to rescue israel prove it after all of this and a lot of you know the story he takes the wool fleece and he puts it on the threshing floor and he says look if it absorbs all the dew i guess that's what it's supposed to do i don't know i'll believe you i'll take it as a side so he waits overnight he looks in the morning and sure enough it's filled it's absorbed all to do fills up a bowl with it when he rings it out then he says don't be mad at me lord we're going to do it again but essentially the opposite should happen and i'll take that as a sign and sure enough it happens there's dew on the ground it remains dry so get in still being kind of cautious he sets out with 32 000 men and this might remind you of the joshua story thirty thousand men he gets beat with two or three thousand he comes back for thirty thousand not taking any chances neither is gideon but the lord says not so much if you win with that many men you'll get credit for it and that's not going to happen so i want you to say to them whoever is afraid go home leave and now 22 thousand men leave they give you me with 10 000 men they go a little further and he says you know what still too many men so i want you to do a little test divide them into groups the ones who cut the water and drink it that way those people are essentially going to continue on with you but the ones who get down on their knees and lick it up not them there's only 300 of these people that drink that way the lord says that's about right okay go ahead then he says to gideon if you're still scared scout out the midianite camp indeed he's cautious so he goes down he scouts out the camp and when he does with his servant pura he scouted out there listening to a conversation between two guys and one guy says i had a dream that a loaf of barley bread tumbled down a hill and ran over a tent the other guy says ah he's like an interpreter so i can interpret that it means that gideon is going to have victory over the midianites so now he's going to set out after this scouting mission he tells his men divide into three groups of 100. it's interesting i'll help you understand it if you know the account take a ram's horn and a torch in a clay pot why well they're going to get close to the camp and kind of surround it if you will quietly and secret it's night time and what you can do is you can light these torches highly flammable they're kind of hard to put out so they'll stay in the pot but the light won't shine on his signal they're to break the clay pots so all of a sudden if you're in this camp you just see light appear and you're going to blow the ram's horn the ram's horn in your right hand the clay pot and they're left they're pretty specific about it when the midianites hear this they're terrified and the lord again causes confusion they start killing each other some of them get away now they go in pursuit gideon and his army kind of a long story short what happens is they're chasing two kings down ziva and zalmuna and the people of succus won't help him so gideon says i am going to lash you with briars and thorn bushes long story short he catches the kings he does lash 77 of the elders there gets a list of names punishes them and then kills zeba and zelmuna defeating the midianites judges 8 22 says then the israelites said to gideon be our ruler you and your son and your grandson will be our rulers for you have rescued us from midian who rescued them but gideon replied i will not rule over you nor will my son the lord will rule over you however i do have one request that each of you give me an earring from the plunder you collected from your falling enemies the enemies being ishmaelites all wore gold earrings so this should remind you a little bit of joseph he was sold to the midianite or ishmaelite slave traders he gets 43 pounds of gold and he makes a pretty heavy ephod that is like a priestly vest but like moses's bronze snake the people end up worshiping it the cycle again judges 8 28 says this that is the story of how the people of israel defeated midian which never recovered throughout the rest of gideon's lifetime about 40 years there was peace in the land then gideon's son of joash returned home he had 70 sons born to him for he had many wives he also had a concubine in shechem who gave birth to his son whom he named abimelech gideon died and when he was very old and he was buried in the grave of his father joash at ophra in the land of the clan of abuser in abimelech we get the rest of the gideon story so that's what we're gonna take a look at right now now there are a couple of things in those passages of scripture that might ring a bell like abimelech sounds like a guy we've seen before well it's not that one abimelech means like king's son so it's telling us something son of a king shechem we should remember that place tu hamor and shechem that was the guy who had his way with dina one of jacob's children his daughter and simeon and levi enacted revenge on them so shechem is not really a great place doesn't have a good reputation and we'll see that neither does abimelech what he decides to do is he visits his family there and he says do you want to be ruled by gideon's 70 sons or me your relative well after some debate they choose him and he has gideon's sons killed it says all on the same rock except jotham now we get jotham's parable essentially jotham curses abimelech interestingly on mount gerizim if you remember this from the joshua account they're supposed to pronounce the curses from mount ebal the blessings from mount geraism ironically jotham pronounces this curse from gerrism on abimelech and then he takes off then speaking of writing checks with your mouth that your fists can't cash there's a sky gale there's some drinking going on he starts talking trash and then he gets shechem to rebel against abimelech well he defeats shechem abimelech does he does something interesting again he pours salt on the ground why salt is a preservative so this is symbolic that this defeat will be permanent over them the people in the tower of shechem the leading citizens hear about it they get real scared so they decide to flee to a temple it's a temple of baal but they figure they'll be safe there nope abimelech cuts down some trees tells his soldiers to do it too puts it against the temple and they burn the temple down killing 1 000 people real bad he gets to another town thibas there's another tower inside the town but these people don't run maybe they heard about what he did to the temple they stayed there and at the top of this tower is a woman so abimelech gets close to the tower and she drops a millstone on abimelech's head crushing it now millstones are usually really big things for grinding flower and stuff but you can have household what are called upper millstones and they're smaller use it in the kitchen can be handled by a woman and indeed it was to crack his skull now apparently this is an embarrassing moment in abimelech's life not good so here's what he says judges 9 54. i guess he's still alive here he quickly said to his young armor bearer draw your sword and kill me don't let it be said that a woman killed abimelech so the young man ran him through with his sword and he died when abimelech's men saw that he was dead they disbanded and returned to their homes in this way god punished abimelech for the evil he had done against his father by murdering his seventy brothers god also punished the men of shechem for all their evil so the curse of jotham son of gideon was fulfilled never underestimate a woman that is the rest of the gideon story there are some other judges mention tola and jare and then speaking of making vows we then see what happens when a person isn't as careful as gideon we get to a guy named jephthah he's another judge judges 11 1. now jephthah of gilead was a great warrior he was the son of gilead but his mother was a prostitute so we get more unlikely people here that are chosen to be judges for this reason his brothers chase him away but then the amorites start giving them trouble he's a great warrior as it says they call him back ask him for help they promised to make him leader and unlike gideon he's ready to take it yeah you mean if i beat the amorites for you i get to be your ruler yeah he says okay he's really not cautious but at first he has written correspondence he tries to use diplomacy with the amorites it gives them a history of israel but it doesn't work so he knows he's going to have to go to war and he really wants to win he wants to win so bad that he makes a vow now here it's interesting because he's another judge that is filled with the spirit of god it tells us yet he doesn't have the faith to trust in that so he makes a vow essentially he says if you give me victory lord i will sacrifice to you as a burnt offering the first thing that comes out of my house to greet me in victory so he beats the ammonites he gets back home the first thing that comes out of his house to greet him is his daughter his only child now a lot of people like to debate and speculate did he really kill her well there's man's opinion and then there's what the word of god says judges 11 39. when she returned home she went and mourned she asked if she could mourn for two months okay comes back when she returned from that her father kept the vow he had made and she died a virgin so it has been a custom in israel for young israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of jephthah's daughter i'm sure he really regretted that vow well if we continue he fights against ephraim despite this loss and it says judges 12 7 jeff the judge israel for six years when he died he was buried in one of the towns of gilead and we see that israel has more judges it's going to continue his ban elon and ab done but it's the same cycle over and over and over again no matter what the judge does the people continued to do what was right in their own eyes have you ever done what was right in your own eyes have you ever been completely convinced that you were right about something only to find out you were wrong maybe you argue to point double down as they say on something maybe you did it publicly maybe you did it on social media only to find you that you were wrong were you embarrassed or did you double down did it make you want to change your screen name maybe to jerobel or something like that have you ever said something really stupid and then felt really embarrassed by it maybe it was something you did did you regret it well if so you're not alone in the bible also we see lots of examples of people who probably had regrets people made foolish vows like jephthah and in the new testament i'm going to give you a preview we see one example and a guy named saul saul acted like a judge he persecuted the church someone said he killed christians he's responsible or gave approval of the stoning the martyrdom of one of the church's first deacons stephen he went after jesus's church he was convinced he was right i bet he had regrets when he found out he wasn't right you see jesus revealed to him that he was wrong the damascus road he blinds him he's blind for three days until ananias shows up and baptizes him and then he comes to christ and then he started using a new name paul paul's interesting we talk about him a lot why because paul by the power of the holy spirit gives us 13 letters or books of the bible that's a lot in the new testament 27 13 of them are from this one guy so you got to talk about him a lot if you're a bible believing church now we talked about one of those letters it's my favorite philippians i recite chapter 2 to the church very often the carmen christie poem it's beautiful tells us about the nature of christ what christ did we could say in church every week it wouldn't be enough but if we keep reading we get to chapter 3. paul switches gears a little bit he's going to warn them about false teachers and he's talking about people who think they're right people who are like what he was he talks about what he was like when he thought he was right when he thought what he was doing was right before he found out he was wrong and it says this philippians 3 starting at verse 5. i was circumcised when i was eight days old i am a pure blooded citizen of israel and a member of the tribe of benjamin a real hebrew if there ever was one i was a member of the pharisees who demand the strictest obedience to the jewish law i was so zealous that i harshly persecuted the church as for righteousness i obeyed the law without fault says i was blameless i once thought these things were valuable but now i consider them worthless because of what christ has done yes everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing christ jesus my lord for his sake i have discarded everything else counting it as garbage so that i could gain christ and become one with him i no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law rather i become righteous through faith in christ for god's way of making us right with himself depends on faith i want to know christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead i want to suffer with him sharing in his death so that one way or another i will experience the resurrection from the dead gonna make a big contrast here yes making a big contrast that word garbage there skybala in greek it's kind of a bad word that is the l in the malv of the bible right there if you're reading it correctly it's kind of like the c word for garbage or human waste the point is making a really strong contrast between what he thought was valuable the things of the world his new life in christ the things that he did wrong and his new life in christ he is not living life in the rear view mirror he's moving forward philippians 3 12. i don't mean to say that i've already achieved these things or that i've already reached perfection but i press on to possess that perfection for which christ jesus first possessed me no dear brothers and sisters i have not achieved it but i focus on this one thing forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead i press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which god through christ jesus is calling us we spend so much time running backwards we expect not to trip and fall we spend so much of our lives looking in the rear view mirror yet we expect not to crash yes we must the bible tells us this learn from our past mistakes yes the bible says we're to learn from israel's mistakes that's why it's there that's why we look at it but then we need to move on like saul he moves on becomes paul uses his roman name and so there's another part of the rest of the story where god uses a sinner an unlikely character changes him by the power of the holy spirit to do powerful things another unrighteous judge so to speak that god uses powerfully for the kingdom we've seen in this series again and again that god uses sinners common people jacob a deceiver joseph a slave moses a shepherd and a murderer a lot of people forget that part moses was a murderer fugitive in exile for 40 years god uses him rahab a prostitute god uses her she makes it into jesus's family tree remarkable and then paul gives us 13 books of the bible can you imagine that someone persecuting the church murdering christians gives us by the power of the holy spirit god's word that's impressive and you too have that same spirit in you if you're in jesus christ untold lives have been changed by people like moses paul and you too have the power to do that just like they did in jesus you have been changed you're not that old person you have a new life in christ you are changed but if you haven't i want you to hear this this morning maybe you've done something that you have come to regret maybe you said something you've come to regret that got you in trouble or did something that got you in a lot of trouble but now you want to change you're tired of it you've learned from it but you want to move on i want to invite you to do that you can do that now simply by accepting christ in your life if you want to turn from that old thing and have a new life if you're tired of trying to run backwards of tripping and falling of looking in the rear view mirror and you want to move on you can in jesus it's actually simple you don't have to do a whole lot you just have to surrender it's not so much about what you do it's what you allow god to do in you surrender to god receive him as your lord and he will be your savior believe in him and your mind and your heart baptism is something we take really seriously here at c3 church we take that vow really seriously i've seen people come to christ flippantly have an emotional reaction they don't really think about it very much they haven't had that time to repent scary word just means i want to change my behavior now i'm tired of that thing making me feel guilty i don't want to deal with anymore i want to do different things i want to be used for a higher purpose a higher calling the kingdom of god jesus is the king of all kings regardless of who is a governor a president whatever i want to serve him i don't want to be preoccupied with all of these other things that are getting me angry that are causing regret upset depression i want to move on but we take that valve very seriously so if that's you i want to invite you to fill out a connection card they're right outside the doors you can use our app heather's going to teach you maybe how to do that and you can contact us through that two different ways you can do that you can speak to a leader one of them is me speak to heather carolee maybe you want to get baptized and so we'll set up a time to meet and we'll talk about jesus i'll tell you the truth of the gospel and how we can proceed with that let me pray for you lord i thank you for this church i thank you for the willingness of everyone to come here today and worship you king of all kings lord of all lords the prince of peace lord i pray that over everyone today that they would have peace in you that those who haven't come to you yet but they've heard the gospel message they want to know more put it in their hearts to seek you out to become truly baptized in you lord and be filled with your spirit to do powerful things for your kingdom i ask this in jesus name amen you