Faithlife
Faithlife

Judges: Faithful God — Broken People: Idols of the Heart

Judges: Broken People — Faithful God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 6 views

Worshiping God in truth and spirit means men must tear down the idols they have set up in their lives.

Notes & Transcripts
Text:
Text:
Theme: Worshiping God in truth and spirit means men must tear down the idols they have set up in their lives.
Theme: Worshiping God in truth and spirit means men must tear down the idols they have set up in their lives.
Date: 08/13/17 File name: Judges_10.wpd ID Number:
Date: 08/13/17 File name: Judges_10.wpd ID Number:
The tenth chapter of the Book of Judges is an interesting chapter in that it is both a postlude and a prelude. It is a postlude to the Abimelech story in that it wraps up the events of his reign of terror. It’s a prelude to the next major Judge — Japhthah, as it sets up his story in the last two verses of the chapter. In between we have the story of Israel’s lapse into idolatry which is the story I want us to think about this evening.
The tenth chapter of the Book of Judges is an interesting chapter in that it is both a postlude and a prelude. It is a postlude to the Abimelech story in that it wraps up the events of his reign of terror. It’s a prelude to the next major Judge — Japhthah, as it sets up his story in the last two verses of the chapter. In between we have the story of Israel’s lapse into idolatry which is the story I want us to think about this evening.

I. THE POSTLUDE

1. the first portion of this chapter records the lives of two “minor” judges
a. our knowledge of these two men is sketchy at best
2. Tola is the first judge were told about
“After the time of Abimelech a man of Issachar, Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir.” (, NIV84)
a. his name means “worm”, and all I can say is I hope it’s not indicative of his character
character
b. he’s from the tribe of Issachar
c. he’s from the lineage of Puah, his father, and Dodo, his grandfather
d. he lived in and judged from the central portion of Israel — the hill country of Ephraim, and not in the tribal area of Issachar itself
Ephraim, and not in the tribal area of Issachar itself
e. he judged Israel for 23 years, the longest span of any “minor” Judge
3. Jair is the second judge mentioned
“He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair.” (, NIV84)
a. his name means “a God enlighten”
b. there is no family pedigree or background given
c. he lived in and judged from the land of Gilead, east of the Jordan River
d. he became a man of wealth and status
e. he was known for his sons, to whom he apparently delegated responsibility for securing peace for the region
securing peace for the region
f. He judged Israel for 22 years, the second longest span of any “minor” Judge

A. LESSON

A. LESSON
1. Tola and Jair remind us that history is full of the names of people who made a real difference with their lives of whom we know little if anything about
difference with their lives of whom we know little if anything about
a. this is especially true in Kingdom Work
ILLUS. I have a friend, his name is Micah Fries (Freeze), and he pastors the Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. It’s a huge traditional Southern Baptist Church, founded back in 1927. Their Sunday AM worship features a 200 voice choir, accompanied by a full orchestra. On Sunday evening you’ll find the various praise teams leading the worship. It’s a multi-staff church, and hosts a school for kindergarten through fifth grade. It’s a large, successful urban church, and Micah is leading it well. Micah is one of those guys who will someday be the president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention or even the Southern Baptist Convention.
Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. It’s a huge traditional Southern Baptist Church, founded back in 1927. Their Sunday AM worship features a 200 voice choir, accompanied by a full orchestra. On Sunday evening you’ll find the various praise teams leading the worship. It’s a multi-staff church, and hosts a school for kindergarten through fifth grade. It’s a large, successful urban church, and Micah is leading it well. Micah is one of those guys who will someday be the president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention or even the Southern Baptist Convention.
The church just commissioned a sit-down-in-the-studio-professionally-done oil painting of Micah to adorn their “hallway of pastors.” Lots of churches do that. When we were down in Dallas, Texas back in May and went through the First Baptist Church they also had a hallway of pastors and their biographies. Theirs was slick because it was a professionally done multi-media presentation. Micah’s portrait will soon adorn the hallway with dozens of other pastors of the Brainerd Baptist Church. I’m that’s cool. I have no problem with churches commemorating their history in that way.
Why do I tell you this? Because what you won’t see are portraits of the hundreds if not thousands of believers who faithfully taught Sunday School in those congregations. You won’t see portraits of all those believers who faithfully taught VBS for 20 or 30 years, or RA’s year after year. You won’t see the names of choir members, or orchestra members, or hand bell-ringers, or pianists, or organists on some nice plaque prominently displayed in the church hallway. But those churches would not have existed without all those people faithfully serving God with their gifts, and their talents. Most are names lost to church history.
2. Tola and Jair remind us that history is full of the names of people who made a real difference with their lives of whom we know little if anything about
difference with their lives of whom we know little if anything about

II. THE PRELUDE

1. in a couple of Sundays, we will look at the story of the next significant Judge in the book of Judges
book of Judges
a. his name is Jephthah the Gileadite, and he’s introduced to us as a “mighty warrior” with very humble beginnings
with very humble beginnings
2. his story is set up in the last two verses of chapter 10
“When the Ammonites were called to arms and camped in Gilead, the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah. 18 The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will launch the attack against the Ammonites will be the head of all those living in Gilead.” 1 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute.” (, NIV84)
a. the Israelites are once again struggling because of their rebellion against God
b. the cycle of sin that we have talked so much about in this book has happened again, and we find Israel crying out to God … again
again, and we find Israel crying out to God … again
c. and God delivers ... again!
3. don’t we have a great God?
a. He’s a God who delivers us, when everyone else would have throne their arms up in despair, and given up on us
despair, and given up on us

A. THE LESSON

A. THE LESSON
1. God is not bound by human stereotypes to the kind of person he uses

III. THE PROFANE AND THE PROVISION

1. in between the postlude and the prelude we have the profane and the provision
a. In verses 6-16 we have once again the story of Israel’s moral failure
2. these verses remind us that even in a nation salted with individuals whose lives are exemplary that the nation can still be subject to failure collectively
exemplary that the nation can still be subject to failure collectively
3. Israel had hedged her religious bets with other gods, and offers the most forceful confrontation between God and his prodigal people in this book
most forceful confrontation between God and his prodigal people in this book
a. Israel chose to regard all gods as equally true, in willful defiance of God’s Word
ILLUS. Edward Gibbon, in his classic work The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, said that during the last part of the empire, all religions were guarded by the people as equally true, by the philosophers as equally false, and by the politicians as equally useful!
said that during the last part of the empire, all religions were guarded by the people as equally true, by the philosophers as equally false, and by the politicians as equally useful!
b. this last view was Israel’s attitude — why risk offending any God? ... so will serve them all including Yahweh
them all including Yahweh
ILLUS. in modern American culture, embracing religious pluralism is becoming more and more the norm. Ironically, we are just catching up to the world of the Bible here. Throughout the pages of Scripture, we see the clash of cultures and religious systems, whether in Egypt or Canaan, Greece or Rome. Today however, many people seem to think that it’s not important what you believe, just as long as you believe something. And the more pluralistic and inclusive one is, the more sophisticated one is perceived to be.
and more the norm. Ironically, we are just catching up to the world of the Bible here. Throughout the pages of Scripture, we see the clash of cultures and religious systems, whether in Egypt or Canaan, Greece or Rome. Today however, many people seem to think that it’s not important what you believe, just as long as you believe something. And the more pluralistic and inclusive one is, the more sophisticated one is perceived to be.
4. from God standpoint, Israel’s position is utter nonsense and treachery
ILLUS. Israel’s religious pluralism is akin to a husband coming home and announcing, “Honey, I love you so much, I think I’ll add three other wives to our marriage.”
“Honey, I love you so much, I think I’ll add three other wives to our marriage.”
a. Israel’s choice to include the practices of other gods was an attempt to put a veneer of virtue over their moral bankruptcy
of virtue over their moral bankruptcy
b. Israel had begun to enjoy their immorality and adjusted their beliefs accordingly

A. THE PROFANE — OUR LOVE FOR FALSE GODS

A. THE PROFANE — OUR LOVE FOR FALSE GODS
“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the LORD and no longer served him, 7 he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites,” (, NIV84)
ILLUS. Tim Keller, one of my favorite preachers, in his book Counterfeit Gods defines idolatry for us. He writes “ ... An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “if I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.” There are many ways to describe that kind of relationship to something, but perhaps the best one is worship.”
idolatry for us. He writes “ ... An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “if I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.” There are many ways to describe that kind of relationship to something, but perhaps the best one is worship.”
1. the Israelites were not the only ones who had problems with idols
a. it is impossible to understand our own hearts or our culture if we do not discern the counterfeit gods that influence them
counterfeit gods that influence them
b. in the apostle Paul shows that idolatry is not only one sin among many, but what is fundamentally wrong with the human heart
many, but what is fundamentally wrong with the human heart
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (, NIV84)
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” (, NIV84)
• “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” (, NIV84)
c. Paul goes on to make a long list of sins that create misery and evil in the world, but they all find their roots in this soil — the inexorable human drive for “god-making”
they all find their roots in this soil — the inexorable human drive for “god-making”
2. no one grass this better than Martin Luther
a. in his Larger Catechism and also his Treatise on Good Works Luther wrote that the 10 commandments begin with the commandment against idolatry
the 10 commandments begin with the commandment against idolatry
1) why does this come first in the order
2) because, Luther argued, the fundamental motivation behind lawbreaking is idolatry
idolatry
3) we never break any of the other commandments without first breaking this one
ILLUS. Luther writes that we would not lie in less first we had made something — human approval, reputation, power over others, financial advantage — more important and valuable to our hearts than the grace in favor of God.
human approval, reputation, power over others, financial advantage — more important and valuable to our hearts than the grace in favor of God.
3. the secret to real, deep change is always to identify and dismantle the basic idols of our heart
our heart
“Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.” 11 The LORD replied, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? 13 But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!” 15 But the Israelites said to the LORD, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” 16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.” (, NIV84)
4. one of the goals of Christian maturity is to discover the rival gods hidden in our lives
“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” (, NIV84)
“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” (, NIV84)
a. the apostle just almost assumes they’re going to be a problem for us
1) even our worship of the One True God can become idolatrous if we are not careful
careful
ILLUS. In his book Your God is Too Small, J.B. Phillips says we tend to give God many names which aren't actually his names: Managing Director, Puppeteer, Magician, Resident Policeman, and Fun-hater. Perhaps my favorite word for God is munch-vasen. It means wish-being and I think is aptly describes the ‘god' of the health-and-wealth preaching crowd.
many names which aren't actually his names: Managing Director, Puppeteer, Magician, Resident Policeman, and Fun-hater. Perhaps my favorite word for God is munch-vasen. It means wish-being and I think is aptly describes the ‘god' of the health-and-wealth preaching crowd.
2) it is so tempting--and so easy--to remake God in our image
a) our society has taken Jesus and recreated him in our own cultural likeness
b) to hear some Fundamentalist preachers preach you would assume that Jesus is a white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant Republican
is a white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant Republican
c) to hear some Liberal preachers preach you might draw the conclusion that Jesus is a revolutionary who, if he were on earth today, would abolish capitalism and re- distribute the world's wealth and land in a more "fair" way
Jesus is a revolutionary who, if he were on earth today, would abolish capitalism and re- distribute the world's wealth and land in a more "fair" way
b. how can we be free from our idols so we can make sound decisions and wise choices that are best for us and the people around us — in other words how do we discern our idols?
choices that are best for us and the people around us — in other words how do we discern our idols?
c. we discern what our idols are by discerning at any given time what we have set our mind and heart upon
mind and heart upon
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (, NIV84)
1) discerning at any given time what we have set our mind and heart upon means being ruthlessly honest with ourselves and with God
being ruthlessly honest with ourselves and with God
ILLUS. The great pastor and hymn writer John Newton once wrote about his own struggle with idols: “If I may speak my own experience, I find that to keep my eye simply on Christ, as my peace and my life, is by far the hardest part of my calling ... It seems easier to deny self in a thousand instances of outward conduct, then in its ceaseless endeavors to act as a principle of righteousness and power.”
struggle with idols: “If I may speak my own experience, I find that to keep my eye simply on Christ, as my peace and my life, is by far the hardest part of my calling ... It seems easier to deny self in a thousand instances of outward conduct, then in its ceaseless endeavors to act as a principle of righteousness and power.”
2) Newton is referring to the difference between obeying rules of outward conduct versus setting the heart on Christ which is what really leads to freedom from the counterfeit gods that control us
versus setting the heart on Christ which is what really leads to freedom from the counterfeit gods that control us

B. THE PROVISION — GOD CANNOT BEAR OUR MISERY

B. THE PROVISION — GOD CANNOT BEAR OUR MISERY
“Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.” (, NIV84)
1. there is again forgiveness and grace from a loving Father
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →