April 7, 2024, Message by P. Kevin Clancey

Who have I in heaven but you, and besides you I desire nothing on earth. My heart and my flesh may fail, but God, you are the strength of my life and my portion forever.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. (Psalm 73:25-26, NLT)

You are my waymaker, my miracle worker, my promise keeper, my light in the darkness. I thank you that you always answer the prayer help. You are faithful and good and true, and we are secure in you, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. Amen, dear ones. Alright, you reading your Bibles? Reading through Judges? Oh, messy. Judges is messy, man. That is messy stuff.

We’re going to talk about that tonight. Okay, so, I do want to tell you, though, let me ask you, I’ve got two stories. Have I told you the story about the four people in the airplane and the three parachutes? Okay, I’ve told you that story.

Have I told you the story about Robinson Crusoe and his island? Alright, so that’s the one you get here. So, you know the story of Robinson Crusoe, right? You know, Tom Hanks and, you know, but the original story, this man is on a deserted island and builds a life for himself.

And Robinson Crusoe was finally discovered. He was finally found. And when they came upon his island, they saw three shacks, three houses. And they thought that was curious, one man on this island and three houses.

And so they asked him, they said, “Well, what’s the first house?” And Robinson Crusoe said, “Well, the first house, that’s my house. That’s where I live. That’s where I sleep. That’s where I have my meals. That’s where I stay out of the rain. That’s my house.”

They go, “Okay, well, what’s the second house, the one in the middle?”

And he goes, “Well, that’s my house of worship. Every week I go there and I say my prayers and I worship God and that’s my church. That’s where I go to church.” They go, “Okay, well, what’s the third house?” He goes, “Oh, that’s the church I used to go to. All right.”

Judges. We’re going to look at kind of an overview of the book of Judges. We’re doing this occasionally as we’re reading through the Bible.

Instead of me taking a particular verse or a particular section of what we’re reading, we kind of cover a whole book in the week that we’re reading. And it just kind of lands on me. It’s like, hey, I want to give an explanation of this whole book. I think I did it with Job, and I did it with Leviticus, and so now I’m going to do it with Judges.

We’re going to do an overview of the book of Judges. But the summation of the book of Judges is in the last verse.

If you want to know what the book of Judges is about, read Judges 21-25, and here’s what it says. In those days, Israel had no king. All the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. (Judges 21:25, NLT)

And God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our rock and our strength and our redeemer. Judges is a hard book to read. There’s a lot of violence, a lot of ugliness.

And it starts actually in chapter 2. Let me give you the run-up to Judges.

The Israelites are in Egypt. God sends Moses. He delivers them out of Egypt with a strong arm and signs and wonders. He parts the Red Sea, destroys the Egyptian army. He takes them into the desert. He gives them the commandments. They build the tabernacle.

He takes them to the promised land, and they don’t want to go in. They’re scared. So God says, okay, you can die out in the desert. And so they spend 40 years in the desert until that generation dies.

Then Joshua leads them into the promised land, that next generation.

And the commandment is that you shall drive out all the nations that live in this territory: all the Canaanites, the Ammonites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Edomites, the Midianites, the Philistines, all the different groups that live in the land of Canaan that God had promised Israel. you’re to drive them out, you’re not to let any of them remain in the land, kill them or chase them out, because if they remain in the land, what’s going to happen is they’re going to tempt you with their gods. And they will become a snare to you, he says.

And so, the story of Joshua is about Israel driving the people out of the land, but they don’t finish the job. They start well, but they don’t finish the job.

And we pick it up in Judges 2:1. The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokom and said to the Israelites, “I brought you out of Egypt into this land that I swore to give your ancestors, and I said I would never break my covenant with you. For your part, God, I’m a promise keeper. I won’t break my covenant with you.”

But for your part, you are not to make any covenants with the people living in this land. Instead, you are to destroy their altars, but you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this?

So now, I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.

1 The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said to the Israelites, “I brought you out of Egypt into this land that I swore to give your ancestors, and I said I would never break my covenant with you. 2 For your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead, you were to destroy their altars. But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? 3 So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.” (Judges 2:1-3, NLT)

When the angel of the Lord finished speaking to the Israelites, the people wept loudly. So, they called the place Bokom, which means weeping, and they offered sacrifices there to the Lord.

So, Israel failed to do what God had called them to do, and within one generation, within one generation, Israel was abandoning Yahweh and worshiping other gods.

Now, let me tell you about these other gods. On the one hand, the Old Testament speaks of idolatry in a very disparaging way. And it says, “What is that, a block of wood? You worship a block of wood?”

What kind of fool are you? It’s just a block of wood. It’s just a stone. It’s just a carved stone. Why are you worshipping things that have no life? Why are you worshipping these worthless idols?

But on the other hand, there’s another line of thought that runs through Jewish literature and that runs through the Bible, that behind those worthless idols are actually fallen angelic presences, gods with small g’s, if you would, that have names like Baal and Asherah and Molech.

And these pagan gods are what Paul refers to in the New Testament as powers and principalities, spiritual forces of wickedness. They are, in fact, demonic beings who have control over different tribes, different nations, different city-states, over different regions.

And the Canaanite people worshipped these demonic beings. And this created a horrible society. Don’t think when God says to Joshua, “Drive these people out, kill them all,” He’s like, “These are just like innocent, sweet people farming their pasture lands.” These people are barbaric and cruel to the nth degree. They kill each other. They kill other nations.

They burn their children alive as child sacrifices to their gods. These are horrible cultures. These are demonic cultures. This is a cancer in the human race. This is a demonic cancer in the human race that God is lifting out of this region so that He can plant His covenant people in that place to send His Savior into the world.

It’s like God is carving out this island of purity and monotheism in this sea of pagan polytheism and horrendous kind of living, and basically so He can save the world. It’s a necessary surgery.

None of you would take a knife, I hope anyway, to your child. cut them open and cut out parts of their body. But you pay somebody to do it. You pay somebody to do it if that was a surgery that was going to save your child’s life. You pay somebody to do that kind of violence as a loving act to save somebody. They cut into me and took out my appendix. In fact, I’m down three body parts at my age of 65. I don’t know how many more I can spare.

They keep saying, “Well, we’re going to have to take that one out.” They keep taking out the unnecessary ones. They keep taking out my body parts. God is performing surgery in the book of Joshua so that he can save the human race from these demonic beings.

Israel doesn’t fully cooperate, and therefore we get this cycle in the book of Judges. The book of Judges is about a 450-year period. It’s 21 chapters. You read it like it happens in a week. It doesn’t happen in a week. It’s 450 years of human history.

It’s like the 1600s until now. It’s a long time. But in these 450 years, it tells the story of Israel in the promised land and this prophecy being fulfilled, the nations around them being a thorn to them as they continue to worship these false gods and fall away from Yahweh’s covenant.

And so, there is this spiral. There is this pattern in the book of Judges, and it ends up being kind of a downward spiral for Israel, and we end up with that statement, “Every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

There was no king in Israel. And so, here’s how the spiral goes. Israel worships false gods, and then the surrounding nations oppress them because the protection of Yahweh is lifted from them. And then, they get oppressed by these nations.

And when it says oppressed, it doesn’t mean they got their taxes raised. It means that hordes of raiders would come and kill them. They would come in, they would take all your livestock, they would burn your crops, and if they didn’t rape your women and steal your children, they would leave you there to starve.

That was oppressive. So the people then, under that kind of oppression, would call out to Yahweh. “Oh, we forgot about Yahweh. We’ve been worshiping Baal and Asherah and Molech, and we forgot about Yahweh. You know, Yahweh did some pretty good things there back in the day. There’s some stories about what he did to Egypt. Let’s try to turn back to Yahweh.”

And they’d turn back to Yahweh, and they would pray a prayer that is, in fact, always answered in the Bible, and to my experience, always answered to this day.

And you’ve heard me say it a hundred times. You know the prayer. Help. Help. And God would send help.

And in the Book of Judges, the help comes through a judge. Not what you think of when you think of a judge. Not somebody who sits up in a court and makes rulings. But a judge, in the Book of Judges, is really a military leader.

Somebody that God puts his spirit upon and raises them up to defeat Israel’s enemies, to defeat the oppression, and to return the Promised Land back to Israel so that they can worship Yahweh and they can have peace. And it works.

These judges raise up, they kill the oppressors, and God says there was peace in the land, sometimes for 40 years, sometimes for 80 years. I mean, it’s just one sentence in the Bible, but that’s pretty good. That’s pretty good to have peace in the land for 80 years, 40 years, a generation, two generations. Why?

Because they prayed for help, and God is faithful and good and brought the help. But then they forget. They forget. They defeat their enemies, they have peace, and then they worship other gods. And the cycle repeats.

And that’s the story of the Book of Judges. The problem is, they get worse and worse and worse. The longer they go in their history, the worse their memory gets about who Yahweh is, what His covenant is, and what He does.

And therefore, the first set of judges in the book of Judges aren’t that bad.

Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, they’re kind of pretty good judges. Deborah, she’s a female judge, unheard of. But there she is, judging Israel. And they’re being oppressed.

And so, Deborah calls the general of Israel’s army and says, ‘The Lord has told me He will deliver our oppressors into your hands. Go fight Him.’ And the big brave general says, ‘No way, sweetie. I’m not believing that unless you come with me.’

And she goes, ‘Okay, I’ll come with you. But guess what? I’m going to get written about in the Bible, not you.’ And she does. She does.

And in fact, it is exactly as she had said. Israel defeats their enemies. And they flee. And Israel is set free.

And the general of their enemies, this guy named Caesarea, he escapes Israel. And he runs into this woman. This is a you-go-girl story. Deborah and Jael. He runs and he hides in this woman’s tent, Jael. But Jael’s on Israel’s side. She’s figured it out. She’s like, “Oh, Israel’s winning this battle.”

And so she just takes this guy into the tent. He says, “Don’t tell anybody I’m here. Hide me out. Protect me from the Israelites.”

She says, ‘Now, now, I’ll do that. you’ll be fine.’ And she gives him a sedative. Warm milk. Ancient sedative. ‘Drink this milk. you’ve had a hard battle. you’ve had a rough day.’ Probably strokes his hair. ‘Poor sweet baby. It’s so hard being a general and losing. Have some milk. Take a nap. I’ll put a cover over you.’ And as he falls into a deep sleep, this dear, kind woman, probably a mother of many children, takes a tent peg and drives it through his skull. It’s a bloody book. It’s a bloody book.

Israel comes and looks for him. She says, “I’ve got him pinned down for you. There he is. He ain’t moving. You can find him.” The first set of judges are pretty godly.

Then we get to probably the longest story of any judge in the book of Judges, and it’s Gideon. And we like the story of Gideon. And Gideon’s a coward. He starts off as a coward.

God says, it’s so ironic, because God comes to Gideon and says, “Hey, almighty warrior,” here’s where Gideon is when God says that to him. He’s in a winepress threshing wheat.

What’s a winepress? It’s a cave. How do you thresh wheat? You thresh wheat by throwing it in the air from a blanket so that the thin layer that is around the kernel of the wheat, which is called chaff, actually gets blown away by the wind.

And the wheat, the good part of the wheat, falls back into the blanket, and the chaff then is blown away. That’s how you separate the wheat from the chaff. It would be a terrible process to take every little kernel of wheat and try to break that.

So, they let the wind do it. The problem is, Gideon is so afraid of Israel’s enemies, he’s threshing wheat, he’s doing this process in a cave. What do caves lack? Wind.

So, I picture, okay, I’m old enough to remember this. How many of you have seen the reruns of the Andy Griffith show? Remember Barney Fife? Don Knotts as Barney Fife? Okay, that’s Gideon. He’s Don Knotts.

If they made a movie about Gideon, Hollywood would turn him into this great warrior. But he’s Don Knotts. And he’s in this cave, he’s doing this.

He’s hyperventilating, threshing the wheat. And God shows up and says, “Hey, almighty warrior,” because I’ll tell you what, God’s identity on somebody’s life is bigger than their identity on their life.

And Gideon’s so brave, he makes God do two fleeces before he finally accepts his word. God does it. And Gideon ends up becoming exactly that. He becomes exactly what God calls him out to be. He becomes a mighty warrior, a mighty judge, a mighty deliverer, and Israel is delivered.

And you think, “Hey, the story of Gideon’s pretty good. That’s a good Bible story.”

And then, Gideon becomes a knucklehead. He first refuses to be king. Good, Gideon. you’ve got some humility. But then, all the men who didn’t fight with him, he kills them. His own Israelite men. Instead of forgiving them, instead of saying, “Hey, maybe I wasn’t clear. I really needed your help.” He just kills them.

And then he makes an idol. And his family after him become idol worshippers. He starts well, but he ends poorly. What’s happening? Israel’s getting further and further away from the God story.

The next judge that’s highlighted is Ahud. He’s a mountain thief.

He’s a guy who has his band of… He’s Robin Hood, except he doesn’t give to the poor. He’s got his band of men, and they raid merchants and other things. They steal. But he’s a good one, and he’s a good warrior.

And so when Israel needs deliverance, they go, ‘Who’s the best fighter? It’s Jephthah up in the hills there, stealing from us.’ And they go get Jephthah. And Jephthah says, ‘Okay, I’ll be your deliverer.’ And he does, and he’s successful.

But Jephthah is so far away now from the ways of Yahweh, he doesn’t even know the ways of Yahweh. And he’s just like any other pagan now, at this point. He’s an Israelite, but he’s like any other pagan. And he says, Well, you know, if God gives me the victory, I’ll sacrifice the first person to come out of my house. That’s a pagan thing, that’s not an Israel thing. No Israelite who understood Deuteronomy, who understood the covenant of God, would ever say such a thing.

But he says such a thing, and he ends up sacrificing his daughter, and so now Israel’s practicing what? Human sacrifice. They get worse and worse and worse.

And then finally, you have the biggest knucklehead of them all, Samson. Again, in the 50s and 60s, they would make movies, Samson and Delilah, and they’d be romance movies. Samson would be this brave hero, but when you read the Bible, Samson is just a fool.

Now, God is faithful. God says, “I will use him to deliver my people from the Philistines.”

And God’s spirit comes upon Samson, and he has superhuman strength. Time after time, he wreaks havoc on the Philistines, not because of his love for Israel, not because of his love for Yahweh, but because the Philistines annoyed him for some particular reason, the little poor sweet baby, the little primadonna.

And then he goes chasing after a prostitute, Delilah, and he just loves Delilah. Delilah is in cahoots with the Philistines on destroying Samson. Delilah, three times. This is how smart Samson is, all right? This is a clever fella.

Delilah says, ‘Please tell me the secret of your great strength.’ Men are so stupid. She strokes his hair. ‘Tonight will be a good night, Sammy. Just tell me the secret of your strength.’ And so he lies. Says, ‘Oh, it’s this.’ She betrays him. ‘Samson, the Philistines are upon you.’ He breaks the bonds, kills the Philistines. Delilah looks bad.

She does it a second time. Get a clue, Muscle boy. ‘Oh, here’s the secret.’ Happens again. Now she’s like, ‘Samson, don’t you trust me?’ Here’s the obvious answer. ‘No! I’m gonna go find another girl. you’re bad news.’

But he’s like, “Oh. I guess those other two times were just a coincidence.” And finally, he tells her the real secret. It’s that he is a Nazirite. He has been pledged to God and he is not to ever let a razor cut his hair. And when he cuts his hair, he breaks covenant with God and the Spirit of God departs from him and now he is a simple mortal man. The Philistines bind him, gouge out his eyes, and turn him into a slave. This is not a godly hero.

At one point, he took the jaw of a jackass and killed a thousand Philistines with it because of the power of the Spirit of God on him. But you know, the guy who took a jaw of a jackass was kind of a jackass. He was a fool.

And yet, God uses him again upon his death with his eyes gouged out, portrayed as this conquered slave before the Philistines in their glory.

God, one more time, his hair grows back. God pours out his spirit upon him and he tears down the pillars of the stadium. The pillars collapse on the Philistines, collapse on him, he dies, but he once again destroys the Philistines and delivers, is a judge, delivers Israel from their oppressors. But, you see how the story’s going? They’re getting worse and worse and worse and further and further away from Yahweh. That’s what the book of Judges is about. Alright? It’s not a story of biblical heroes.

It’s a story that tells us what happens in Judges 21-25 when everyone does what is right in their own eyes.

Now, God does give His Spirit to all these judges. He pours out His Spirit on all these judges. Because in the Old Testament, God would give His Spirit on a particular person for a particular task at a particular time. It wasn’t because the person had faith in God or because he earned or deserved this blessing of God’s Spirit.

God had a job to do. He had to find somebody to do it.

He said, “Samson’s got to kill a lot of Philistines. He needs my Spirit to do it.” And so, God pours His Spirit out upon them. But it’s just for a particular person at a particular time for a particular task.

I’ve heard people say, “Oh, I wish I lived in Bible times.” Read your Bible. You do not want to live in the period of the judges. It is horribly violent. It is barbaric. It is insecure. It is dangerous. If the enemies aren’t raiding you, you have a bad judge who’s wreaking havoc on you.

And you don’t live in the time of the New Covenant when all of a sudden, you have this promise concerning God’s Spirit. In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Male, female, sons and daughters, rich and poor, slaves and masters, old and young. I will pour out.

And you will not have the Spirit at a particular time for a particular task as one particular person. But you will be a part of a community of people that God has placed His Spirit in and upon.

Because now, we live in a New Covenant where the cycles of history are not going down, but going up. And the world is getting better, not worse. He says, “Oh, the world’s getting worse.” All right, you lived 200 years ago and tried to go to the dentist. “Oh, but sexual immorality is so much worse now.” Yeah, people weren’t sleeping around 200 years ago. Excuse me, they’re all dying of syphilis and gonorrhea for crying out loud. I’m not saying I’m, listen, I’m going to get to “every man does what is right in his own eyes.”

That still happens in our world today. And it still is chaos, and it’s a mess, and it’s ugly. I’m not saying there’s no evil in our world. There’s plenty of it, plenty enough to go around. What I am saying is, in Jesus Christ, God has reversed history. Those false gods, those demonic rulers, those demonic principalities were destroying God’s human creation in violence, and barbarism, and might makes right, and cruelty, and ancient cultures were deep in those things.

And then, in the midst of a cruel Roman empire and an occupied, oppressed people, the Son of God comes, and He rises from the dead. He dies for our sins, rises from the dead, and history takes a pivot. And we’re on that side of the equation. Thanks be to God. Thanks be to God. The Holy Spirit now is poured out on all flesh, and we are recipients of that.

And so now, the book ends. The book of Judges ends with two horribly gruesome stories.

It ends with Israelites killing Israelites, and it ends with vicious rapes, and ugly murders, and finally a civil war. And then you come to this conclusion. In those days, there was no king in Israel, and every man did what is right in his own eyes.

25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. (Judges 21:25, NLT)

And the conclusion of the book of Judges is this, and this is a message our culture needs to hear. When every man does, and every woman does what is right in their own eyes, it leads to personal destruction and societal chaos.

You hear people say, ‘you don’t need religion, all you need to be is a good person.’ Hello? You can’t. You can’t be a good person. The problem ain’t ignorance. We don’t have a problem between knowing the good and the bad. We all know the good and the bad.

Listen, I’m… Now, I want to be clear on this. Some people might call me overweight. I like to think of myself as under-tall. I would be perfect at 6’4″. So, you know, that’s… I eat for a 6’4 person. But no, really, it’s not rocket science.

You know, why are you chubby, Kevin? Well, because I eat too much and I don’t exercise enough, and I don’t eat the right foods. Right? I’d rather eat donuts than broccoli. And I do. Too often.

My problem isn’t ignorance. I know if I never eat donuts and only eat broccoli, and I actually do go to the gym every day and work out a big sweat for about an hour, that I wouldn’t be chubby anymore. It’s not ignorance.

Would you agree that’d probably work? Probably, yeah, probably work. That’s what the data indicates.

I got no reason to doubt the data. My problem isn’t ignorance. My problem is willpower. It’s power that is our problem.

Now, God’s working on other things in my life, so I don’t feel particularly guilty about that. You know, He may get to that. But I’m just saying that, listen, it’s not easy to be good. It’s not easy to be good.

I’ve got the Bible. I’ve got the Spirit. I’ve been doing this for 40:50 years. And as I’ve told you many times, I’m actually paid to be a good example. I’ve got motive.

And I still find it hard not being a selfish jerk. It’s still a struggle to live a sacrificial life on behalf of others, instead of just to live for myself. These foolish people, these foolish modern people, who say, you know, just try to be nice. Just love your neighbors a little more and be a little kinder.

Yeah, if that worked, it would have worked by now. And let me tell you the stupidest advice, and this is rampant in our culture. This is why I say there’s still evil in the world. I’m not denying that.

Right? Go with your feelings. Be your true self. Let me tell you who your true self is. your true self is a hell-bent rebel against the purposes and will of God. your true self is rotten. And if you follow nothing but your feelings, you will destroy your life, and you’ll destroy the lives around you.

You know who follows their feelings? Two-year-olds and three-year-olds. We have names for that, the terrible twos and the terrorist threes. We have to teach them not to do that. No, you don’t get your way. That’s not how the world works.

You have to work in cooperation with your brothers and sisters, and you have to do what your parents tell you to do. “That’s not fair! I hate you!” And parents who don’t do that, who don’t draw those boundaries for their kids, actually lead their kids to destruction. “No. That’s the worst advice ever. Do what makes you feel good.” It will destroy your life and destroy the lives of people around you.

You see, Jesus didn’t come to offer us some good advice. He has plenty of good advice. I’m not saying that.

He didn’t come to help us, basically good people, become really good. No, he came because we needed a savior. Why? Because every man, every woman does what is right in their own eyes, and human history is written in blood.

Never forget, the monsters of the 20th century – Mao, Stalin, Hitler – all thought they were good guys, out to do you and the world a favor. Every man, every person did what was right in their own eyes. This equals societal and individual disaster.

That’s the story of the book, that’s what judges are telling us.

It just goes from bad to worse when you live this way. When you forget Yahweh, forget his covenant, just follow the cultures around you. Do what everybody else is doing. How many of you tried that one on your parents? ‘All my friends do blah, blah, blah.’ And what did parents learn in that generation to say to their children? They learn this at mother school. There’s a school called ‘mother school,’ it’s secret from us men.

And it teaches such things like, if you get hit in the eye with a rubber band, you’ll lose an eye, it’ll fall out. They teach you such things like that. And they teach you this saying, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it?” It’s like, well, I don’t know, how high is the bridge? How drunk are we?

Is there any hope in the book of Judges? Yes, there is. In that day, there was no king. Judges is actually setting the stage for the next two books of the Bible, Ruth and 1 Samuel.

Ruth is the story of two things. It’s the story of what happens when Israel actually does follow God’s covenant, and there’s mercy, redemption, covering, and blessing. And life works well because Boaz, as a type of Christ, is the kinsman-redeemer for Ruth and her mother-in-law.

And their lives get saved by the kindness of a covenant-making Israelite, a covenant-keeping Israelite. And so it’s a picture, after Judges, is a picture of the disaster in Israel because people abandon the covenant.

Ruth is a picture of how good it could be if we just walked in the simplicity of this covenant. But Ruth, there’s another angle to Ruth. There was no king. Ruth is the great-grandmother of Israel’s greatest king up until the time of Jesus.

And so, Judges is pointing, in that day there was no king, Judges is pointing to David.

If Judges, the end of the book of Judges, if that’s the low point in Israel’s history, and it kind of is until the exiles, it’s kind of the low point in Israel’s history, the high point of Israel’s history is King David. He is the king. There are some good kings in Judah, but none is ever exalted like King David. King David is the best king. Of the expansion of his kingdom, a type of Christ, of the expansion of his kingdom, there was no end.

His kingdom kept expanding, and he left Solomon a powerful and a wonderful kingdom, because he was a man. He wasn’t a perfect man, we know that, but he was a man after God’s own heart.

And so, Judges Ruth ends up being the great-grandmother of King David. And then 1 Samuel, the book after Ruth, tells us about how Israel got a king, Saul, who wasn’t a man after God’s own heart. Even though God gave him a new heart, Saul abandoned it and did his own thing.

Saul did what was right in his own eyes instead of following godly instruction. And so, he ultimately lost his kingdom to David, who was a man after God’s own heart.

God so loved David and his desire to please God that He made a covenant with David and said, “From your line, King David, which was really important for a king, not to lose his line. That was his kind of key to immortality. God says, from your line, David, is going to come a king whose kingdom will never end.”

Daniel sees this king in a vision as a son of man ascending to the throne before Almighty God the Father, the Ancient of Days, and he says he is given a kingdom that is without end. And so, Judges hints about a king. David, yes, but then the covenant that God made with David, Jesus.

So, there will come a day in this world where it will no longer be everyone does what is right in their own eyes, leading to individual chaos and destruction, into societal chaos and destruction, into this downward cycle.

There will come a day when a king will come to earth. He will be such a king, he will have such a perfect obedience to God. He will have such a life that his life, his death, and his resurrection will take that downward cycle, take away sin and sickness and Satan, defeat all of God’s enemies, rise from the dead, and then offer life to people. People actually will follow Deuteronomy.

Some of them, only a few at first, but at last count about two billion on planet Earth, will choose life and choose Jesus, and that cycle will change. And then the Bible says in Isaiah, of the increase of that government and peace, there will be no end. That government will cover the earth, and the glory of the Lord will cover the earth, as the water covers the sea.

And so, the book of Judges says, this is low, this is bad. But what did we talk about last week? Of the resurrection? But God.

But God’s gonna send a king, and there will come a day when instead of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes, there will come a day where every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. (Judges 21:25, NLT)

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11, NLT)

Amen? Amen.

So don’t do what is right in your own eyes, do what Jesus says. Instead of, “I feel like this,” try a little WWJD. What would Jesus do? Or even better, what is Jesus doing? And join Him, and you’ll be a part of that glorious kingdom.

So, like all kingdoms, we have traditions, rituals, and things we do that remind us of who He is, and who we are. Every week, we gather. Stevan gets here, and he brings out this little white table, and he’s got his red cup, and his purple cup. He’s got wine, and some elixir in the bluish cup. We don’t know from week to week what that might be, but it’s a reddish-purplish color and it’ll work. Why?

Because the Holy Spirit will pour out His Spirit upon this simple meal, and when we feed on it, we’re pledging our allegiance to King Jesus. His covenant burns alive in us. And dear ones, we are a part of that everlasting kingdom.

And I’ve got great news for you. You don’t even have to be perfect at it. All you have to do is repent, believe, and don’t quit. Turn to somebody and say, “repent, believe, and don’t quit.” Repent, believe, and don’t quit. And if that’s the case, you’re playing a game that you’ve already won.

So, dear ones, Holy Spirit, come and fill this meal and fill us fresh tonight. We sang it. Holy Spirit, come, fill us fresh with the life of Jesus as we come to this communion table in repentance, faith, and obedience.

We pray, Lord, that your grace, your fire, your spirit would come again and refresh us, and we would leave this building tonight more like King Jesus and less like people who just do what they think is the right thing to do or they think is the thing that’ll make them feel good.

We will leave this building living the Jesus life more than when we came in. We ask for that mercy and that grace. We ask this for our lives, trying to be more like Jesus. We ask help. And we believe this meal is one of the ways that you help us. And so we take it with gratitude in Jesus Name, Amen.