Topic: Preparation for the Mission
Text: Judges 2:1-23
Key verse: Whenever the Lord raised up a judge over Israel, he was with that judge and rescued the people from their enemies throughout the judge’s lifetime. For the Lord took pity on his people, who were burdened by oppression and suffering.
Our experiences in life today as believers on earth are similar to that of the Israelites in the wilderness. While they journeyed to a physical Promised Land and inheritance, we are also on a pilgrimage to a Promised Land called heaven and are pursuing an inheritance that is not physical but eternal in heaven. Though Abraham believed God for a physical promised land, he also sought a city whose builder was God.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. 9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. 10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. Hebrews 11:8-10
We find answers to many of our questions about suffering and pain by simply studying the relationship of Israel with God, and we see the law of cause and effect kicking in and leaving the people in perpetual suffering occasioned by their rejection of God’s word.
Israel was in a covenant relationship with God, covenants are not simple agreements that can be broken at will, and they are binding agreements that continue even after the death of the one who made them. Every covenant has two parts, your responsibility and your benefits. God was faithful to the covenant he made with their father Abraham but they refused to keep their own part of the bargain to stay away from idolatry. The first consequence was that God decided to leave their enemies to live side by side with them.
“So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, [a] and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.”
Today, we are living side by side with people who do not know our God or want to worship him. They are a constant source of pain to us, and more than anything a source of temptation to us. God had promised to drive them away, but the people of Israel preferred to enter new covenants with them, just like the unequal yokes we see in marriages and business partnerships today.
The importance of passing on the faith we have to the next generation cannot be overemphasized to anyone who reads the text of today, because as soon as Joshua and his generation died, their children did not serve God. After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. As they broke the covenant made with God, they reaped the harvest of sorrow. God no longer fought for them, but fought against them.
But our God is full of compassion and pity for his people, so he decided to raise up judges who would point the people back to him, so he might show them mercy and deliver them from their enemies. As long as they obeyed the Judges things worked for them. God fought against their enemies and gave them rest.
Today, we live among people who have no knowledge of our God; they are subject to the lusts that are in this world. You are a type of Judge the Lord wants to raise to remind them of his wonderful works of old, covenants and the inheritance he has laid up for those who believe in his word. God has to prepare and fashion you to be effective in this Mission you have been created for.
”For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”
“I will no longer drive out the nations that Joshua left unconquered when he died. 22 I did this to test Israel—to see whether or not they would follow the ways of the Lord as their ancestors did.”
Today, we live among the nations that do not know or serve God, we are faced with choices daily to fear their fears, follow their standards or follow the ways of Jehovah who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. We are surrounded by strong enemies; we can only overcome when God fights for us, but when we decide to reject God, the same enemies turn back to attack and afflict us.
Are you ready to see your life as a mission? Your mission is more than existence and survival on earth. Your mission is to make your eternal inheritance and take as many people along with you as you can. Joshua finished his mission at the age of 110, how is your story being written? Look beyond the individual challenges of life, see the big picture. You are being recreated to fulfill a mission.
May the Lord give you understanding to see differently as we walk through this series in Jesus name. Amen
Roses & Thorns