Why Are Things So Hard? 
(Part 2)





(Judges 2:1-5 Pas. Baines, Jr. 2/2018)

Introduction: Have you ever wondered why things are so hard in your life or the lives of others? In our text, the Israelites were having a hard time because of their sins. This discussion centers on how “We should be mindful of our sins and repentance.”

(Click here for pdf version)

Key Points:

1. God wants all of our attention. Notice in Exodus 20:2-3 that God wants to be number one and the only one in our lives. First, like the Israelites, too many of us are guilty of worshipping little and false gods.

Think about the time, money, and energy that we spend on our pleasures and trying to avoid personal pain, and compare that to the time, money, and energy that we give to God. God is calling us to obey Him, no matter how we feel (seek Lk. 9:23; e.g., love one another, worship with enthusiasm, make positive impact in our communities, etc.).

Second, if not the false god of “self,” too many worship the false god of “their peers.” Some do more bad and refrain from doing more good because of their bad company (see Jn. 12:42-43).

Third, too many of us are like the Israelites who wanted to serve the true God and little false gods as well. Let’s live like we know that God wants all of our attention. Such living should be known for obedience to God.

2. God’s punishment. Notice how passages like Judges 2:3 and Hebrews 12:6 show that God punishes the sins of His people. In Judges 2:3, God punished His people by sending bad and withholding His interceding for them.

God can still send pain (e.g., mean people, sickness, and even unexpected bills). God can also withhold His grace (e.g., withhold peace of mind and joy, hold people back from coming to our rescue, and even withhold our health and strength).

Our lives are challenging enough without God punishing us in any manner. Let’s live like we believe God really punishes sin. This kind of living should be known for obeying God, in every area of our lives.

3. Weeping. Notice in Judges 2:4 and Mark 14:72 that realizing how God sees us may lead to our weeping, at least a spirit of remorse. When was the last time you wept about your sins (see I John 1:8)?

 

Without individual remorse, collective remorse is unlikely. We cannot expect people who have no remorse over their personal sins to have remorse over low levels of evangelism, disciple making, and love. Furthermore, where there is no remorse, there is often a Pharisee like spirit of blame.

Until our claim to repent triggers at least a spirit of remorse, we are subject to stay on God’s punishment and hard times list. Let’s work on being at least remorseful about our personal and collective sins.

4. Giving. Notice in Judges 2:5 and Matthew 6:21 that giving shows where our hearts are. When God looks at what we give, does He conclude that our hearts are really into Him, or does He conclude that we are trying to have Him and others?

How does what we spent at McDonalds, the movies, and on our church clothes compare to what we give God? When we fail to give, it hurts the church’s ability to give to the community (i.e., local causes and organizations, national efforts, and foreign missions). A failure to tithe is not a failure to give. It’s a continuance of robber (see Mal. 3:8-9).  

Until our “repentance” moves us to at least stop robbing God, we are subject to stay on God’s punishment and hard times list. Let’s work on our giving and encouraging others to do the same.

5. Obedience. Notice that passages like James 2:17 teaches that faith without works is dead. Real repentance includes a strong commitment to studying and obeying God’s word in every area of our lives.

The Bible is our mirror and map (see Jm. 1:23-25; II Tim. 3:16). The Bible teaches us to follow the leadership that God has provided (see Rom. 13:1-5; Heb. 13:17). It was pain that helped the Israelites move from rebelling against leadership (see Num. 11:11-15) to following.

Does God have to send more pain into our lives to get us to follow leadership? What will it take for us to follow the leader’s instructions and example about worshipping with enthusiasm, praying and studying with the church family, inviting and trying to bring people to worship and growth groups, and having a loving spirit?

Until our “repentance” includes obeying God’s word, including following leadership, we are subject to remain on God’s punishment and hard times list. Let’s work on obeying God’s word for the various areas of our lives, including following leadership.

…. God would much rather bless our repentance and obedience than punish our sins (i.e., Give us joy instead of sadness, health instead of sickness, wealth instead of bills, and friends instead of foes) …

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