Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Monarchy

Gen. 12:1-7 - beginning of the Jewish race, Hebrew history.
Followed the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) ---> Egypt ---> Exodus ---> 40 yrs. wanderings ---> conquest ---> judges.  This period from Abraham to Judges = about 1000 years.

Now - a new era - The Kings/The Monarchy - 1 Sam. 8:1-22 - Vs. 7 very important - people rejected God as their king.
Begins with Samuel - last judge and 1st. prophet of this era.

Did God have objection to the monarchy? or objection to peoples' hearts?  Gen. 17:5-6   Deut. 17:14-20
Lord had no objection to kingship, but to the people's hearts rejecting Him.

Result of the monarchy???
Saul??  - good start - poor ending  (42 years) - reign was so-so.
David?? - established Jerusalem, expanded the Kingdom!!  (40 years).  Mostly his kingship was pretty good.  He brought the kingdom up in a great way.   Personal life not so much
Solomon?  temple builder, Kingdom builder!!! (40 years)
Israel comes to pinnacle under Solomon.  But, it was built on the backs of his people.

BUT..... 1 Kings 11:1-13 - then during Solomon's latter days, the kingdom starts unraveling.

So.... Jeroboam (in charge of conscripted labor.  Became king of northern tribes) ---> Ahijah ---> death of Solomon ---> Israel divided

Next???  1 Kings 12:26-30

A:  So... Israel (10 tribes) = 20 kings/200 years ---> 722 BC - totally destroyed by Assyria

B.  Judah = 20 kings/350 years ---> 586 BC - totally destroyed by Babylon

Summary:  after Solomon ... there were 40 kings over 350 years, of which 11 followed after the Lord, of which 7 forgot Him at the end of their reign!!  There were only 4 Godly kings over 2 nations in 350 years.

This covers a very long period (1500 years from Abraham's promise to the end of Kings) and has many lessons.

#1.  Man is a terrible substitute for God - Mankind will always be a terrible substitute for God.
1 Sam. 8:19 "...we want a king over us." - any man, group of men, establishment, government, etc.

On one hand governments,authorities are ordained of God   (Rom. 13)
But, Any government is a poor substitute for God

God's intent for the monarchy? = a Theocracy where He rules through man (the king/leader)
(That's why when a king was crowned there was both a coronation and an anointing.)

So.... God's intent for any leader = Servant... OF God ... for  the people.  It didn't work out that way because man is so prone to sin.

#2.  The Monarchy is not over.  On one hand it ended with the exile (Gen 49:10) --> Rev. 5:5 ---> Rev. 19:11-16 - but on the other hand, it is still to come - yet to unfold.

#3.  (meanwhile) You choose your King.
You may not choose your earthly king, president, governor, county commissioner, etc.
But, do get to choose your Sovereign, your Lord!!  Regardless of earthly authorities.  When He returns, there'll be no more choice.  He WILL establish His kingdom on earth.

Too often we take the throne back, not consciously and intentionally all the time, and we make lousy kings!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lessons from the Judges

Last week - we discussed the Conquest by the 2nd. Generation

This week = Israel settled in the land - after the life of Joshua
(Note:  the land is secured BUT the conquest incomplete) - many pockets of enemies left that they are to run out and defeat.

We begin with The Covenant Renewal
(as Moses did before the conquest, now Joshua did after the conquest)
Josh. 24:1, 14-31 - notice:  Sheckem - same spot where God promised all this land to Abraham 700 years prior.

Then........ The Judges - (350 years between the conquest and the monarchy) - this was a dark time in the life of Israel.


Apostasy --> Judgment --> Repentance --> Deliverance
 (turned to other gods in land)                                   (God raised up a leader, savior, judge)

(in the text)
Step 1.  "Israel did evil in the eyes of the LORD" - repeated at least 7 times in the book of Judges

Step 2.  "God handed them over...." - gave, delivered, sold into hands of, etc.
Examples:  ruled by Aram (8 yrs), Moab (18 yrs), Canaanites (20 yrs), Philistines (40 yrs.)

Step 3.  Israel cried out to the LORD (turned away from foreign gods)
Question:  True repentance????

Step 4.  God raised up a deliverer (judge)
Othneil, Ehud, Deborah & Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson - some of the judges

Step 5.  "the land had peace".... "till the judge died!!!!  (40 - 80 years)

Step 6.  "Israel did evil in the eyes of the LORD"

Summary:  Judges 2:6-19

So..... they have a time characterized by rebellion, lawlessness, moral decline, decadence and seared consciences leading to bizarre behavior.
Examples:  Abimalech slaying his 70 half brothers so not to have to share, Samson and Delilah, the Danites and the priest, the Levite and his concubine, the slaughter of the men of Benjamin and then allowing the remnant to kidnap their daughters to keep the tribe going.

What's going on here????  NOTE:  The book of Judges is never a commendation of the behavior of the Israelites.  Judges 21:25

I.  This is man being self-righteous - everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Compare:  Judges 14:1-3 - literal Hebrew = "right in my eyes" - don't need God or priest or church to tell me what I need.

Contrast:  Judges 2:11 (a) - ".... in the eyes of the LORD" - going from "in the eyes of the LORD" to "right in my eyes" - doesn't happen over night but over time.

II  This is a cycle becoming a spiral
Remember:  Rom. 1 - God gave them over to.... sinful desires --> shameful lusts --> a depraved mind....
Man exercises self-righteousness, not God righteousness.
For this to be true of a nation, it must be true of the individual people within the nation!!  A nation cannot be given over unless its people are given over.
We don't dwell well in a vacuum morally.  Won't stay in the same cycle, but will begin to spiral downward.

III.  This is God being faithful
Faithful to deliver
Faithful to chastise & curse - God has promised BOTH in His Covenant.
Ex.  Deut. 27:11-14 - blessings vs. cursings
       Deut. 30:15, 19-20

1.  You have a tendency to self-righteousness - everybody does.  It is a universal human trait.
What matters is what's right in the eyes of God - no matter what you think.

2.  You have a tendency to spiral.

3.  You have a God who longs to deliver you from both - a God who is faithful - He wants to free us out of the spiral.  We have a perpetual battle with sin - even in the very best of times.  But, God stands as our deliverer.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lessons from the Children

Setting:  Exodus - Sinai - Kadesh Barnea - wandering - Gilgal - conquest
(The whole book of Deuteronomy is reiterating what happened in the wilderness, what God promised, what happened at Kadesh Barnea, etc.)

Question:  Why did Generation 2 succeed while Generation 1 failed?
Answer:  (obvious) - Gen. 2 believed God - followed, trusted, had faith

But,  Question 2:  Why???  did Gen 2 trust?  (and Gen 1 did not?)
Answer:  not easy, there's no explicit scripture telling why.

So...... observations (assumptions) - On one hand, it's not good exegesis.  But, 1 Cor. 10:11

The differences in Gen 1 & Gen 2

#1.  Gen 2 grew up trusting God on a daily basis.  ie:  40 years following Him and experiencing His provision.  Deut. 8:4

(Parents Note:)  It's easier to trust  God if you grow up among people who trust God!
Notes:  A)  Belief in God is not trust in God.  Example:  (Gen 1 believed in YHWH)  There's a huge difference in believing in Him and trusting  Him.
            B)  The miracles didn't make a difference/ day to day reliance did.

#2.  Gen 2 viewed hardship as training (preparation, discipline)
Note:  Gen 2 accepts the words of Moses - Deut. 8:2-5, 15-16 - contrast this with the constant bickering, complaining, bellyaching of the 1st. Generation

Both Gens experienced hardship, But - as a reason to step up or step back?
Gen 1 - Num. 11:1 (a), Num. 11:4-6, 14:1-4, 21:4-5 - continual, constant complaining and whining

Hardship is part of life, therefore it's part of the Christian life.
The scripture is clear:
God expects us to endure hardship - Jer. 12:1-5 - note:  He never answers Jeremiah as to why, just tells him to "buck up and do it".  But, God never ignored him.
and -
God expects us to employ hardship - Rom. 5:3-4 - God uses the hardship

#3.  Gen 2 Assumed Responsibility for the Conquest
Contrast:  Gen 1 - Num. 16:12 - 14 (a) - you get it done for us.  Not our responsibility.  This is entitlement attitude on steroids.  
               Gen 2 - Josh. 1:16-18 - Joshua didn't take the land.  The armies that followed him did.
(note:  slave mentality??)  - Num. 11:5  - "at no cost"

Application:  You  are responsible for your spiritual journey, your spiritual condition!!
Gen. 1 never got past the slave attitude.

#4.  Gen 2 was not swayed by a few loud voices.
Contrast:  Gen 1: - Num. 13:32, 11:4, 16:41 - "bad report", "the rabble among", "you've killed God's people"

Question:  Did Gen 2 have naysayers?  againers?
BUT........ it's not recorded, don't surface, ignored!
Gen 2 knew where they should go, what should do and weren't swayed by every new upstart movement - Eph. 4:14

NOW:  to New Testament for final commentary and application concerning Gen 1 - Heb. 3:5-15
So......... whatever reasons Gen 1 failed .... the responsibility for their failure rests squarely  on them.