OPENING SCRIPTURE: The Israelites did EVIL IN THE LORD’S SIGHT. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. (Judges 6:1 NLT)
2 The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, 4 camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. 5 These enemy hordes, coming with their livestock and tents, were as thick as locusts; they arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count. And they stayed until the land was stripped bare. 6 So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help. (vv 2-6)
- This might even be a reflection of what’s happening in our nation and our world today with all the violence, rioting, and looting.
- Where the real cause, the real injustice is being overshadowed by the enemy’s agenda: To Steal. To Kill. To Destroy
- Here’s what happens when you hide the truth. You will eventually forget the real reason of why you are fighting? Who you are fighting for?
STATEMENT: Now if we stop right there in the story of Gideon, we might get the wrong picture about God! That God was silent in the midst of their suffering!
- When God’s children suffer, god is never silent!
LEARN TO DO GOOD. SEEK JUSTICE. HELP THE OPPRESSED. DEFEND THE CAUSE OF ORPHANS. FIGHT FOR THE RIGHTS of widows (Isaiah 1:17 NLT)
- Fight for the rights- in the amplified: “in the courts of justice” is added.
- Fight for the rights does not mean remove the courts of justice
7 When they cried out to the Lord because of Midian, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt. 9 I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land. 10 I told you, ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
- God is not silent. We might simply not be listening to what He is saying
STATEMENT: Whenever you see a cycle and a pattern of sin, unrighteousness, and destruction you have to ask yourself this very simple question: What and where did it go wrong?
- The answer here is found in the previous generations (Judges 2: 7-10)
7 AND THE ISRAELITES SERVED THE LORD THROUGHOUT THE LIFETIME OF JOSHUA AND THE LEADERS WHO OUTLIVED HIM—THOSE 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 110
10 AFTER THAT GENERATION DIED, ANOTHER GENERATION GREW UP WHO DID NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE LORD OR REMEMBER THE MIGHTY THINGS HE HAD DONE FOR ISRAEL.
- The next generation forgot all about God.
- Today the Book of Judges can be a mirror for our nation. We have turned away from God.
- HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: The miracles and wonders of our God does not have to die with us. GOD IS CALLING US TO BREAK THE CYCLE AND CHANGE A GENERATION
HOW DO WE BREAK THE CYCLE IN OUR LIVES AND CHANGE THE NEXT GENERATION?
- Until you fix it in the heart, address it at home, nothing will change in our nation
- HOW DO WE BREAK THE CYCLE? BY TURNING OUR HEARTS TO GOD
DON’T TEAR YOUR CLOTHING IN YOUR GRIEF, BUT TEAR YOUR HEARTS INSTEAD.” RETURN TO THE LORD YOUR GOD, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. (Joel 2:23 NLT)
- We break the cycle by turning our hearts to God
- We break the cycle when our hearts breaks for what breaks God’s heart
- Here’s the promise of God:
“I WILL GIVE THEM HEARTS THAT RECOGNIZE ME AS THE LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.” (Jeremiah 24:7 NLT)
- HOW DO WE BREAK THE CYCLE? BY TEACHING OUR GENERATION ABOUT GOD
TRAIN UP a child (THIS GENERATION) in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NKJ)
- I believe we have an obligation to ensure that this generation knows God
- I believe we have an obligation to teach our children that racism is evil.
- I believe we have an obligation to teach them that we are all created in the image of a loving God, with the same worth, the same dignity, with divine purposes.
- What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this message?