America and Israel are much alike. They remind me of each other. And both remind me of these 70 kings in our text: Dethroned and Disabled, and reduced to settling for scraps which fall from above sparingly. America used to sit feasting at the table of the KING of Kings, but we are fast descending to the role of the beggar at the gate.
Judges is a book about incomplete victory...which stems from incomplete obedience. What is another word for 'incomplete obedience?' DISOBEDIENCE!
Partial obedience in your morals is disobedience. [“I'm not so bad!” / But are you still willfully choosing to do wrong in some areas?] If you aren't fully faithful you are unfaithful. [try telling your spouse you are ‘mostly’ faithful to them]
If you tithe on about half of your paychecks you cannot call it a tithe. It may be 10% of THAT check but if it's only 5% overall it is not credited by God as partial obedience, but disobedience.
When it comes to our commitment to Christ, let's not do things halfway. Let's be all or nothing Christians and nothing is not an option! Jesus gave all and so should we!
1 Kings 18:21
21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
You are either committed or you are not.
And America cannot ride the fence. Either we are a Christian principles founded nation or we are not. Yes, we have freedom of religion, but many today are trying to make that freedom FROM religion, and trying to tie our hands and gag our mouths in the process. Our freedom of speech is being taken away. The administration is trying to silence its critics and villainize any who dissent. It's getting scary!
In our text, after turning [cramming] an 11 day journey from Egypt to the Promised Land into 40 years of meandering, Israel found itself IN the promised land, but not IN POSSESSION of it.
Israel did things halfway. In Joshua they were commanded to cross the river, conquer the enemy, and claim the inheritance. They crossed the river, then conquered SOME of the enemy, and stopped well short of finishing their conquest and claiming their inheritance. They wanted the blessings of the Promised Land, but didn't want to pay the price for complete victory. They wanted something free, much like most Americans today. They demanded their rights and wanted privileges, but didn't want to take responsibility. They were all take and no give.
They went back to their old ways of going in circles in the wilderness. Their progression was: Sin...Suffering...Supplication...Salvation
They would sin and naturally suffer for it, then cry out to God and He would come to their rescue. But God is not bound to always be a safety net for His people. He has come to our nation's rescue many times, but like with Israel, His patience may soon run out and He may allow us to fall in order to look up. If the only way we'll learn is by attending the school of hard knocks, then, well...maybe He will sign us up for class!
If you want to know just how up–to–date the Book of Judges is, listen to the words of the late General Douglas MacArthur: “In this day of gathering storms, as moral deterioration of political power spreads its growing infection, it is essential that every spiritual force be mobilized to defend and preserve the religious base upon which this nation is founded; for it has been that base which has been the motivating impulse to our moral and national growth. History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual reawakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”
The last war we won was WWII. That was back when generals fought wars to win them. Today, Congress fights wars according to the polls and popular opinion and politics. No wonder we often lose or end in a stalemate at best.
Judges is about a small group sent by God to reclaim a fallen nation, to speak as prophets of judgment and turn them away from backsliding to repentance, revival, and recovery.
Again, this book is about incomplete obedience and incomplete victory, and their first instance of both is right here in chapter one. They begin w/ a victory in the first 7 verses, but then fail to continue, they stop short, satisfied w/ partial obedience.
Israel = God's people, and could represent America, or the church, or us as individuals.
Canaan = Christian victory
Adoni-bezek = "Lord of Lightning" = SATAN!
That's right. I believe the king in our text is a picture of the devil himself. Why? Because of a parallel passage in the NT...
1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Jesus reminded these 70 followers of His that Satan is a powerful bolt of lightning that fell from heaven, and his power is beyond our own.
Jesus teaches them that although He has given them a position of power they should glory in the position but not in the power as if it were their own.
Our position is in Christ, but the power is all of Him. Once upon a time in heaven Lucifer gloried in his power and sought to overthrow God instead of recognizing his position in God's order. He was cast out of heaven and ever since has sought to dethrone and disable others.
Another powerful teaching in vv. 6-7 is retribution. Adoni-bezek was punished for his crimes in the exact same way as he punished those 70 kings.
Retribution is a fearful aspect of God's character we seldom think about. We like to focus on His love and rewards in heaven, but we often fail to consider His holy, perfect nature that demands justice and a payment for all imperfection.
Satan's day is coming! He may think he's getting away with things now on earth but it is payday someday, and I believe his hour is drawing nigh. God may not pay weekly, monthly, or annually, but when He pays he pays in full!
We too should take warning at this...
23 ...behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
1 Timothy 5:24
24 Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
DETHRONED means to be knocked out of your seat of power.
1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
It's like a major demotion...that hurts!
7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.
26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.
What a let down!
To our mature believers: the many young ones and new believers in our church see YOU as the end result of Christianity. It's a big responsibility to be a good example...don't let them down!
DISABLED means unable to accomplish work for God.
Some try but find themselves to be ineffective. And some have been disabled to the point that they have quit trying.
With no thumbs they could not hold a sword, so they were no threat.
With no big toes they were unstable, could not stand to fight. If you can’t stand you can’t fight.
Under his table = oppression. They lived off the scraps they could gather under his table, which was very difficult with no thumbs.
Satan disables in many ways, but seems to have the most success by using the following BIGG SINS against us:
Bitterness: Jesus said in...
23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
If you aren't right with another Christian, you are not right with God. Horizontal relationships affect the vertical one!
Bitterness only hurts you. It's a poison...a monster which turns on its creator and devours them. It will disable you.
Immorality: The middle verse of the middle chapter of the middle book of the Bible is...
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
Immorality is a gross public sin in which you sin against God, yourself, your family, and your church.
Greed: Jesus said in...
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
15 ...Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Jesus says to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, not on earth.
Guilt: Maybe you were in the past guilty of some of the above or other 'BIG' sins. I have only one question for you: Is it under the blood? If so, don't fall into the BIG sin of the devil's guilt, which is designed to disable you and cause you to settle for scraps from the king when you should be feasting at His table.
Don't try to do penance for past mistakes. No looking back. You are forgiven and it is forgotten. If God can forget it you should at least try to as much as possible.
God sends people guilt to promote salvation or sanctification. Put it under the blood if you need to.
But realize that the devil sends people guilt to paralyze their service.
Romans 6:14--"For sin shall not have dominion over you"
Yet many Christians allow past guilt of sin to rule over them.
A. Many Christians Are Defeated.
1. Some Have Been Overcome [Ambushed].
I Peter 5:8--"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour."
2. Some Have Been Outmanned.
We try to go the battle alone and we are no match for Satan.
Ephesians 6:10--"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."
3. Some Have Been Outsmarted.
Ephesians 6:11--"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
II Corinthians 2:11--"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
4. Some Have Been Outgunned.
Ephesians 6:13--"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
1 Cor. 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
A. Remember Three Things About Satan:
1. Satan Is A Definite Fact.
Not a mythological character.
Not just a force or influence, but a real person.
He has life, intelligence, a will, a feeling.
2. Satan Is A Destructive Force.
He is out to defeat you.
Christianity, Christian America, Church, Family, Person.
3. Satan Is A Defeated Foe.
B. How Do You Gain Victory?
The only true victory is complete victory. America today fights to a stalemate, or a draw. Let's not make the same mistake in our personal lives.
1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
In this verse, Paul the apostle is giving testimony to the church at Corinth that in Christ there is victory.
Victory Does Not Come By Regretting.
Victory Does Not Come By Resolving.
Victory Does Not Come By Renouncing.
Victory Does Not Come By Rededicating.
Victory Comes By Receiving The Victory Already Made Possible Through Jesus.
Outside of Christ there is no victory.
There is no good excuse for being overcome by Satan
In John 16:33 we read, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
This king is just like the devil, he wants to oppress you and rob you of the benefits of your salvation. Many of God’s people live a beggar's life style while they are the rightful heirs to the kingdom of God.
Other Biblical examples of this:
1 Sam 20:14-15
14And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the LORD, that I die not:
15But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.
2 Sam 9:1
1And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?
2 Sam 9:3-4
3And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.
4And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo’debar.
Here was the son of Jonathan Living like a beggar, Why? (He didn’t know anything about the covenant between his father and David.
Satan is holding many of God’s people in bondage to guilt and shame, (slavery) living like beggars because they don’t know what the covenant says.
The Syrophenician woman said, Just let me have the crumbs that fall from the children's table, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs, (She didn’t know or have part in the covenant.)
But the sad part is when we are covenant sons and daughters and because of ignorance, Satan oppresses us and brings us into bondage, and has us living like beggars.
19There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Lazarus was a son of Abraham (Yet he was living like a beggar)
Here is the bottom Line: You are not a beggar, Satan has no authority to hold you in bondage of guilt or shame to your past, You are a covenant Son or Daughter of God. The King is calling you to his banqueting table, and at his table no one sees what you were, only what you are. When you take your rightful place at the table, you rule and reign as kings. God bless America!
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