"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Bible Study: America Has Breached Her Grace Threshold
Judges 2:1-5 (NIV)
2 The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? 3 And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’”
4 When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, 5 and they called that place Bokim.[a] There they offered sacrifices to the Lord.
We see here in the scriptures that God has brought judgment upon His people already. It only took the death of their leadership for them to begin to spiral out of control. It is clear that God is well aware that the Israelites are headed down a bad road. His hopes are to scorn the Israelites in hopes they will repent, however just as prophesied they turn their backs on God. Instead they turn to idols and foreign Gods.
I. The Israel Then Is Clearly Similar to America Today
A. America Has Now Turned Their Backs On God
After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. 7 The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.
8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres[b] in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
10 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.
B. Like Israel During Judges We Suffer From Generational Failure
11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 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 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.
C. We Continually Slip Further Into Moral Decay
20 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, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. 22 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.” 23 The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.
D. Our Faith Just as Israel‘s Will Be Tested
1. The U.S. has arrived to a moment of testing
2. How we do will determine our destiny
3. It starts with the people, not the leadership (we need spiritual revival)
4. God has left the corruption in our midst to bond us and drive us into labor
5. There is a way out, but it will certainly take work
Judges 2:16-19 NIV
16 Then the Lord raised up judges,[c] who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. 18 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. 19 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.
II. There Is Still Hope To Turn This All Around
A. Our God Is a Great and Merciful God
III. We Must Not Fail Him Again
We see in Judges 3:1-6 where God had given Israel chances and tested their faith. Unfortunately, they failed miserably and tested God’s patience with His chosen people. There are two lessons in this story. One being that even God faces failure by his creation in man and second, we should strive to pass the tests of life God brings our way.
Judges 3:1-6New International Version (NIV)
3 These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): 3 the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4 They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.
5 The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6 They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
A.The Israelites Failed God Miserably
Deuteronomy 28 (KJV)
28 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.
3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
7 The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
26 And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.
30 Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.
31 Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them.
32 Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long; and there shall be no might in thine hand.
33 The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:
34 So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
We see here in our text that God is clearly outlining the consequences of the Israelites actions regarding their faith, behavior, and lifestyles. If they are faithful, living by God’s Word and not that of the enemies that will surround them they will be blessed. If they fall out of their faith and love with God, turning wicked in their hearts then they shall be cursed. With today’s political and social climates, we can not allow ourselves as believers to fall by the wayside thinking of the world. Although we no longer use the law a means of salvation from God due to the redeeming blood of Jesus, we should respect God’s laws and authority. If we live a gracious, pure, and holy life according to God’s Word we can expect to be blessed and if we live cursing His Word we can expect to be cursed. We reap the harvest that we sow. This does not necessarily mean we will all drive luxury cars and live in nice homes, but it does mean we are a blessed people in general and at heart. Many times as Christians, we find out that joy and happiness are not necessarily the same although they may often go hand in hand. We must have the joy of the Lord even in our struggle and times of sorrow. We have joy knowing that we are expecting the arrival of a far better place after this earthly life. I pray that you will study this chapter and become familiar with its message and meaning. May the words of this Scripture be written upon you heart.
A. What Does All This Mean?
1. Show You Care With Your Obedience
a.) Listen To God and spend time in His Presence
b.) Follow through on your promises to Him
c.) The fruit of your labor will make it obvious which direction you are headed
d.) There is a difference between a season of struggle and trial vs. a lifetime of worry created by bad decisions and broken promises.
C. Being Unsaved Doesn’t Protect You From The Fruit of Your Labor