Learning From the Mistakes of Others (Part 5): Three Paths of Deliverance

(Judges 3:7 Pas. Baines, Jr. 5/2018)

Introduction: A possible benefit of knowing history is that we can learn from the mistakes of others. In our text, we should learn from the three paths of God providing deliverance. This discussion centers around how, “We should be mindful of fighting, deceiving, and short terms”

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Key Points:

1. Be willing to fight the enemy as a team. Notice in Judges 3:10, 28-30 that the people of God fought the enemy as a team.

First, there are so many people who want to be blessed with being happy, healthy, and wealthy, with great relationships and contributions, but so few want to fight and work for it (see Jm. 2:17). We must fight because the devil often uses people to block our blessings.

Second, it is important that we fight against our enemy the devil, instead of fighting among ourselves (see I Cor. 1:10-11). Division and quarrels are signs of immaturity.

Third, we need to fight and work together. There is power when we are our united in the Lord (see Mt. 18:19-20). God can still do a great work in and through us, if we do our part. Let’s work on fighting the enemy as a team.

2. God can bless us with rest. Notice in Judges 3:11 and 30 that God gave His people rest. Philippines 4:7 supports God’s ability to give us not only military rest but internal/mental peace. Mental peace can often be more valuable or as valuable as military peace.

The issue is, “Are we willing to do what they did, so we can have what they had”? Until we decide to do God’s will together, we may continue to read and talk about what God can do, instead of experiencing it as a church family. Let’s do our part, so we can experience God’s full blessings.

3. God works in mysterious ways. Notice in Judges 3:28a that God received some glory, even though Ehud was deceptive and murdered the king. It is difficult to justify Ehud’s behavior. What happened to “thou shall not bear false witness” and “thou shall not kill”?

It may be helpful for us to remember that there are some descriptions (e.g., David having Uriah killed and Abraham lying about his wife just being his sister) and prescriptions (e.g., the 10 commandments) in the Bible. Don’t read what Ehud did and go attack a government official. It may also be helpful to remember to look for how God is working all things out for the good of His people (see Rom. 8:28).

If we keep trusting the Lord, the Lord can work all things out for the good of His people (e.g., abuse survivors who help abuse victims get through their troubles; people who have been wrongfully terminated move to a better job or start profitable businesses; Jesus’ crucifixion and then His resurrection).

Let God handle God stuff. We should focus on doing what God tells us to do in His word. Let’s work on trusting and obeying God, even when strange things are happening in our lives.  

4. They went back into sin. Notice in Judges 3:11 and 30 that the implication is that the people went back into sin. It makes sense that when there is a change of behavior without a change of heart and mind, people go back to their old behaviors (e.g., our children can act like angels and demons, poor people can hit the lottery and return to poverty in a less than five years, etc.).

But it doesn’t make sense why saved people go back into the same pattern of sin. Romans 12:2a and I John 4:4b support our working on being transformed from the inside out. We are called to live like the Holy Spirit who live in us is greater than the devil who lives in the world. Let’s work on breaking the cycle of sin.

5. God sends and uses different leaders. Notice in Judges 3:9, 15, and 31 that God used Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar. Each of these Judges were diffident from one another and different from the famous Moses and Joshua. Romans 12:5 reminds us of the diversity in the body of Christ.

The question for us is, “Can we follow and cooperate with whoever God sends to bless us”? When what we say differs from what we do, what we do is a truer picture. Some people don’t have a problem with new leadership. They have always had a problem with whoever was in leadership. Let’s work on cooperating with whoever God sends to lead us.

6. Make your verse count. Notice how much Shamgar accomplished in one verse. He didn’t waste his one verse comparing himself to Othniel’s five verses or Ehud’s 18 verses. He didn’t waste time talking about how he only had a farm tool, instead of weapons of war.

He didn’t waste time talking about being in the last verse of the chapter. He did the best that he could with what he had to work with (see Lk. 19:11-27). Let’s work on doing the best that we can with what we have. We should not waste time on issues we cannot control. 

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