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Around and Around They Go
Scripture: Judges 2:1-23; Joshua 4:19-24; 2 Peter 2...
Track 2 of in the series
Obedience, respect, awe in God is what God wants from us in order to have peace. The same was true for Israel. If they did the same thing, God would take care of them and there would be peace. But that is not what happened; Israel sinned by doubting God, by wanting to be like the other nations that they should have destroyed and by worshiping their false Gods.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Around and Around They Go
Judges 2:6-3:6

God had big plans for his people. He promised Abraham that from his seed would come a great and mighty nation. In reality, two great nations came from Abraham, the Israelites and the descendants of Ishmael, the Arabs. From the seed of Abraham through Isaac would come the seed of woman as prophesied in Genesis 3, the Messiah. God’s long-range plan was to restore that lost relationship through Jesus. But until then, God wanted His people to be happy. He also wanted them to have a home and a relationship with Him. And so he gave them laws to follow so they would have a life that would produce happiness, peace and a relationship with God. All they had to do was be obedient to God’s laws, stay faithful to him and love only him.

Satan started to work at once when man was created. It was his desire for man and God not to have any relationship. Sin was his weapon. If he could get man to think and believe that there was something else out there that was better than God, then Satan knew he had a chance to foil God’s plan of salvation. Remember, the plan was for a seed of man to come that would eventually destroy Satan and render him powerless. Knowing this, Satan was not going to sit back and just let it happen. He was going to do all he could to destroy man’s relationship with God.

Obedience, respect, awe in God is what God wants from us in order to have peace. The same was true for Israel. If they did the same thing, God would take care of them and there would be peace. But that is not what happened; Israel sinned by doubting God, by wanting to be like the other nations that they should have destroyed and by worshiping their false Gods.

In Judges, we will see Satan use his attack strategy over and over again and Israel will fail over and over again. All of this is to destroy the linage from where the Messiah will come and defeat Satan. God loved his people but he was also very angry with them and punishes them with their own enemies they failed to remove from the land the inherited.

Judges 2:1-5 (NIV) 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 that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you, 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? Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be [thorns] in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you." When the angel of the LORD had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the LORD.

Where is Gilgal and why is it important to this story?

Joshua 4:19-24 (NIV) On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, "In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them, 'Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.' For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."

These 5 verses in Judges 2 set the stage as to what is to come for the Israelites during this period. He makes a promise to them that is our promise to claim today. What is it? I will never break my covenant with you.

There is a promise he is expecting us to keep also. What is it? and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars

How is our covenant today (New Covenant) similar to the Old one? God wants us to choose him and to be faithful to all he asks us to do. How is it different? We first have to understand who the enemy is. Satan is our enemy, not the other people around us. We show our faithfulness to God by doing what he asks:

1. To be like Jesus. Take on His character and do the things He would do.
2. Accept the ministry of reconciliation, be His ambassador to those outside of Christ so He can win the lost through us.

Interesting Trivia: Who is the Angel of the Lord? In the light of N.T. revelation, this O.T. angel may properly be identified with the pre-incarnate Son of God. Isa 9:6 gives this name to the predicted Messiah of Israel. Malachi affirmed that "the LORD" who would "suddenly . . . come to his temple" would also be "the messenger [angel] of the covenant" (3:1). It is significant that in the N.T. there is no further reference to the angel of the LORD. Why is that?

Judges 2:10-16 (NIV) After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, 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 Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In his anger against Israel the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to 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.

How important is history? What happens when heritage is not passed onto the next generation? See verse 10.
What danger does this church have to deal with today concerning the truth about God and what we see in verse 10?

There are a lot of ironies in the Bible. Our text here is one of them. In verses 11-13 scriptures say the Israelites worshiped and served the Baals. It said they forsook the Lord and followed the gods of the peoples around them. The influence of their enemies caused them to move away from God and to disobey his commands. One would think that God’s enemies would be easy to stay away from. Why would anyone openly go to the enemy and make friends of them? But that is exactly what the Israelites did.

Who was Baal? Why was that religion such a temptation to the Israelites? Why would this anger God so much?

Baal was worshiped as the god who provided fertility. The name Baal means “lord, owner, possessor, or husband,” The noun comes from a verb that means to marry or rule over. Baal worship included human sacrifices, sex between the priests and priestess, sexual symbols were seen as religious rather than unrighteous, incense, dancing around their altars slashing themselves with knives, etc. Scriptures also included Ashtaroth. These were religions similar to Baalism but worshiped the female goddesses whose rites were celebrated by the most gross and reviling impurities.

Knowing the things of Baal, how is Baal worship so opposite the worship of God Almighty? From God’s perspective, what is Baal worship like to Him? Today, what are the enemies we ought to stay away from and what are the tragedies waiting to destroy us if we entertain their presence?

Judges 2:20-23; 3:6 (NIV) Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and said, "Because this nation has violated the covenant that I laid down for their forefathers 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 forefathers 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. They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

We see in these verses good examples of God using war as a method to discipline and chastise His people. God was angry at Israel for their unwillingness to obey and follow Him. The continued to break the covenant that God had made with them and their forefathers. So God decided not to drive out the remaining enemies from the land and to use them as tests to see if the nation would remain faithful to him. When they didn’t, he struck them. But notice who had control; God used the enemies to punish the Israelites. He never allowed the enemies to totally defeat Israel. The enemy was His tools and methods of teaching Israel the lessons of faithfulness.

Today, when God wants to teach us faithfulness, how does he do it? Does he send a war or cause bad things to take place? Or does he use other methods?

I think it is interesting in verses 1-2 that another reason for the enemy was to teach war to those who did not have experience in warfare. It was crucial as a nation under God to know how to use weapons for war. Learning to fight the enemy and having the ability to defeat the enemy was crucial. Satan wanted to destroy the linage of the Messiah. The way he could do it was to destroy Israel itself both spiritually and physically. If Israel were eliminated, the linage would be destroyed.

What about today, is the enemy the same and is God as interested in war like he was back in the time of Judges?

2 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV) yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.

Romans 7:23 (NIV) but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

2 Corinthians 10:3 (NIV) For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.