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The Lord’s Deliverance | Tim Jones

The Lord’s Deliverance

 

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,

that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

By his wounds you have been healed.

 

Why are you saved? if in fact you have been borne again by the blood of Christ, take a few moments and ponder that question. As we look at the book of Judges as well as the events leading up to it in search for God’s plan to redeem His people through Christ, this question should remain in your mind.

In the beginning of Genesis 12, God promised Abram that He would “make of [him] a great nation.” Then Abram and Lot separated, Lot going into the Jordan Valley and Abram settling in the land of Canaan. In chapter 15, Abram and God had a conversation in which God promised a son of his own to Abram who would carry on his lineage. In chapter 15 verse 7, God tells Abram, “’I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess,’” the land of Canaan. A few verses below, God tells Abram that he would die at an old age in peace and that his descendants would return to the land of Canaan “in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.’”

After all of the promises that God made to Abram, the exodus story takes place, followed by Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and then Joshua. Just after Moses died, God commissioned Joshua to continue leading the Israelites to the land of Canaan, the Promised Land, and to overtake it. The whole book of Joshua is devoted to the accounts of him leading God’s people as an upright man who obeyed God and conquered much of the land of Canaan at the Lord’s command.

Joshua’s death is where the book of Judges begins as well as where the disobedience of the Israelites picks back up in a heavy dose. God appoints Judah to continue the fight against the Canaanites in order to claim the land as their own, the land God has promised them since Abram. In Deuteronomy 7, Moses relayed to the people all that God had spoken to him. Beginning in verse 1 we read,

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they will turn away your sons from following me to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.”

The command of the Lord is very clear, yet when we look at the very first chapter of Judges, we see that the Israelites begin to disobey God by neglecting to drive the Canaanites out of the land completely per God’s command. Verse 27 tells us that “Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages, for the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in the land. When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not drive them out completely.” And on the account goes of Israel’s disobedience to God’s clear command. As a result of this, God told the Israelites that He would not “drive [the Canaanites] out before [them], but they shall become a thorn in [the Israelites] side, and their gods shall become a snare to [them].”[1]

Exactly what God said would take place did so, as we read in chapter two: “And the people did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals (the gods of the nations they did not drive out completely). And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers…”[2] The Lord gave them over to the hand of the surrounding enemies, “and they were in terrible distress.”[3]God moved to deliver His people from their enemies by raising up judges to lead them in righteousness before Himself. Judges 2:18b says that God did so because he “was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.” How incredible does that make our God, that despite the unending rebellion, complaining, and wickedness of the Israelites, He had pity on them! That should begin to stir up your affections for Jesus and lead you in answering the question we began with. Unfortunately, the Israelites’ obedience doesn’t last and as soon as each judge died they “turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them.”[4]

Now we find ourselves in chapter three where an interesting and relatively disturbing story takes place. “The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD,” and as punishment, God enabled the king of Moab to defeat them. Israel served king Eglon for eight years and then cried out to the LORD who raised up Ehud as a deliverer for them. Scripture tells us that Ehud went to meet Eglon in his chambers with a sword hidden on his right thigh under his clothes. After a few exchanges took place and the servants of the king had left the chambers, Ehud told Eglon that he had a message from God. He “took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into [Eglon’s] belly. And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade…and the dung came out.”[5] Ehud made his way out and escaped and became the leader of the Israelites whom he led into eighty years of peace.

As the book goes on, God continues to deliver the Israelites through the judges, yet the judges themselves become more and more corrupt and the people lose sight altogether of God and His character. God had called them to be a holy nation, set apart unto Himself, yet they looked wholly like the surrounding people groups. Wickedness of all sorts took place among the people, unspeakable horrors were done throughout the land, and a simple yet profound sentence sums up the state of the Israelites. This sentence is repeated in Judges chapter 17 and serves as the very last verse of the book in chapter 21. It reads, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”[6]

There doesn’t seem to be much hope through this book, in fact, the people of Israel, left to their own, would continue down a path of wickedness toward their death (the same that would take place for us if left on our own). There are many parallels between the Israelite people and ourselves, all of which will aid in our understanding to a greater measure the grace and mercy that God extends to us through Jesus Christ. A question we would do well to begin with is, “why did God choose Israel to be His chosen people out of all the nations?” Some may believe God chose them because of something they did, because they were good to begin with, or because their nation was greater than the others. These reasons would make sense from an earthly and human perspective, but not so with God. The Israelites were no better, they were not good while the others were wicked, God chose them for a reason found in Deuteronomy Ch. 7. Verse 7 says, “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath he swore to your fathers.” So there was no merit within the Israelites above the other nations, rather God chose them of His own will, He chose them because He is the Sovereign Lord over all who knows all things and works things together for His glory and the good of those who love Him.

The account in Judges gives us an extremely clear picture of the depravity of man, that “every intention of the thoughts of his heart [are] only evil continually.”[7] Romans 3:23 doesn’t allow room for any man to believe in his own righteousness as “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That last sentence of Judges summed up the Israelites very well, and it does so for us too. We do whatever we would like, we have a natural bend, due to our sinful nature, to obey no one, to make our own rules and worship ourselves along with our pagan Gods (sexual immorality, covetousness, pride, possessions, power, and more). That verse pointed out that Israel had no king over them, and the books following Judges: Ruth, 1 Samuel, and 2 Samuel give the account of King David and his origins. God makes a covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7 that his son (who we know to be Solomon) would be raised up and his kingdom would be established. Just after this, God speaks of this kingdom continuing on and remaining forever, we now know that Jesus is the messiah who would be placed on this forever throne after he died for the sins of the world and was resurrected.

Understanding this very small, yet very sure hope of a savior king that is forshadowed in Judges drives our affections for, and awe of, God to greater heights and depths. The omniscience and omnipotence of God displayed for all to see through the unfolding of Israel’s history is beyond anything we can fully comprehend, yet God gives us a glimpse of His faithful character through it all. Just as God continued to deliver His people throughout their sinfulness, and just as He chose them because of a love beginning in Himself, so He has done with his elect here and now. From eternity past, God saw our rebellious, wicked, and unrepentant hearts. God saw our sinful bend to run headfirst into hell and never choose Him despite our freedom to do so, yet He moved towards us. The all too familiar verse, John 3:16, becomes vastly more glorious when we understand the reality of it, that even though we hated and despised and rejected Him, He initiated an act of redemption for His people because He “so loved the world.” That great love was not initiated by something good in us because we were “dead in our trespasses and sins.”[8] There is no ability or goodness in someone of that state. So this love that began with God is what caused Him to give “his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This salvation that can be received in Christ, by repentance of sins and belief on His name, is all of God and none of man. No amount of goodness, ability, or deservingness dwells in the heart of man, yet God has chosen to regenerate His people, grant them repentance, and draw them unto Himself in order that they may be covered by the blood of Christ that was shed on the cross. Jesus bore on Himself the sin and the punishment you and I deserve for it and now we may be saved. In step with our savior, and if you have not done so, I urge you to Receive deliverance from your sin as the Israelites received deliverance from their enemies and then live the rest of your life for the glory of Jesus Christ! He calls for each of us to repent of our sin and believe on the name of Jesus Christ for salvation. Do so now while you still can and He will freely give it!

 

“If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knows nothing of grace, and he has not learnt Jesus Christ aright.” – Martin Luther

 

There is a picture of Christ and His salvation in Joshua Ch. 2, see if you can find it

[1] Judges 2:3

[2] Judges 2:11-12a

[3] Judges 2:15b

[4] Judges 2:19b

[5] Judges 3:21-22

[6] Judges 17:6, 21:25

[7] Genesis 6:5

[8] Ephesians 2:8

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