January 13, 2021
Rev. Daniel Poon
1. V1-5 The Weaknesses of Leaders
V1-2, God raised up two judges to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, from Othniel (“the lion of God”) chosen at the very beginning to Torah (meaning a “worm”) of the present day, who lived in Shamir, a place of hardships. God raises up a “worm” and made him judge, which was quite different from the standard by which people choose their leaders. Let us be reminded that it is by the grace of God that He has chosen us, and not by our power. Therefore we need to serve God with greater humility and gratitude. In this way, the more I follow the path of God, the lighter I feel, because I put down my mask in front of people and walk as a faithful and good servant, even if when I cannot see the road ahead. Torah led the Israelites for 23 years. The Bible does not record that there is peace in the country, and he died in this situation. Like a worm in the thorns, he was raised up because of God’s mercy, but no testimony could be seen from his life. We see God’s election and mercy, and God gives opportunities, but do we cherish and take the opportunity to make a difference?
V3-5, God gave Jair 22 years, one year less than the previous one. He had 30 sons, who had 30 donkeys, and all of whom were very noble. They all had 30 cities, and their own family became a town. In the 22 years of his reign, his family continued to grow. As a result, the judge focused on his own family and his children, each of whom was rich and honoured, instead of focusing on his leadership given by God.
2. V6-9 The Weaknesses of People
V6, Does God choose us and gives us gifts to build our own towns for our children, or to serve God faithfully? Those judges did not build the lives of the Israelites, instead, they only looked after themselves and the needs of their children. We need to ask God to help us see where our hearts and minds are. Are they in our passions, in our children, or in God’s kingdom?
The Israelites served Baal and Ashtaroth, because they were constantly influenced by the Canaanites, but the Canaanites were not influenced by the Israelites. This is like our situation today. We are willing to humbly follow the leadership of the LORD God, which also means we can easily follow the world. Therefore, we must watch and pray so that we do not seek the world but the kingdom of God. Israel had her own God, and after seeing God constantly protects and leads, not only did she fail to follow Him, but instead abandoned her own God and followed the imaginary gods. This is the same temptation and problem people including Christians are facing in 2021. They are not willing to delight in God alone.
V7-9, Since then, from the time they forsook God, the protection of God also left them. The Israelites suffered for 18 years. They survived for 18 years on their own strength. Do not just preach God’s love and mercy and fail to see God’s righteousness. God will not harm us, will let us go. Without God’s protection, the world will come to annoy us until we are “severely distressed.”
3, V10-18 Return and Seek
V10, the Israelites said that they had forsaken God, sinned against God, and served Baal. After 18 years of suffering, they did not see the problems in their lives to truly confess their sins and repent. Verse 6 tells us that they also worshipped Ashtaroth – an idol representing lust. But in verse 10, they did not confess this sin. Nowadays we do not think it is a sin to indulge in our lust, we still hold on to Ashtaroth, refusing to go through hardship or to be under pressure. However, God never promises us that we will be happy when we serve God. What He has promised us is His peace and presence. in. Are we willing to lay down Ashtaroth? Lay down our desires, align with God and our authority? This time, God did not immediately raise up judges to save them after their confession.
V13, God finally could not tolerate this. The original text of this verse had a very heavy tone, so God was saying that I will no longer save you. It is enough! If we only talk about the mercy of God, Jesus does not need to come again-because upon His second coming He will judge us first, so we need to watch and be alert.
V14, God asked the Israelites to cry out to the gods they had chosen. It is sad to read this verse. The Israelites knew that these gods could not help them. But God also knew that the Israelites had kept Ashtaroth, for God knows everything in our hearts.
V15, The people of Israel only saw the difficulties before them, not their own lives. Today, we Christians allow the teaching of the world to be mixed into the church. Instead of standing in the truth, we only care about people’s needs. After many lessons, the people of Israel still set their mind on their lives. God has always been talking about relationship, but the Israelites only talked about how to solve their problems. They did not say “God, do not leave us”. They did not value the relationship with God. They valued their own desires instead of the relationship between the Father and children. This is also the problem encountered by the church today. We want God to smile at us and solve our problems without valuing our relationship with Him.
V16, God can see our duplicity when our heart and actions do not match with our words. As a loving Father, “His soul could no longer endure” because of the suffering of the Israelites.
V17, we want to use our own methods to make ourselves leaders. Twenty-three years had passed but the twelve tribes did not learn from their lessons, and there was no teaching from the two judges to change their lives. They still focused on personal emotions. Although people are like this, God still does not want to see us fall. People are unfaithful, but God’s love never changes.
We ask God to help us find true love, and the God who loves us, value the relationship with God, and live our life for Him.
Our lives no longer belong to ourselves, but to God alone. Help us not to value our own matters and not to just enjoy the benefits and entertainment from the world. Let us see that we are still in connection with the false gods of the world. We cannot let go of our desires and needs. We regard ourselves and our family as more important than God’s house, so we ask the Lord for forgiveness. May the light of God continue to shine into our hearts, let us no longer just live in sin and indulge in our lust, let us stand in the word of God, declaring the LORD is the only true God. We take up the sword of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, cut off our connection with Baals and Ashtaroth, and let God’s love and truth fill us, His true light, true feeling, true relationship will also come! We no longer just follow people behind but will align with the authority and the church. No longer indulge in our problems, but step out of all the impossible, and enter the promised land!
士师记 10 – 低处 * 回转
V13，神面对以色列人，终于受不了了，原文是非常重的语气，所以神说我不再救你们了。No more, enough，够了。如果我们只讲神的慈爱，耶稣就不需要再来 – 因为他再来的时候要先审判我们，所以要警醒。