Rebellion in 3D

Treaties, Compromise & Deliverance  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:02
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Disobedience came 1 generatoin after the death of Joshua and led to severe discipline.

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How many of you have heard of the Law of Contrary Choice? The idea of Contrary Choice is a concept in philosophy that says a human being will never make decisions contrary to his or her strongest appetite.
A Tweetable quote - “Never sacrifice the ultimate on the altar of the immediate”
For example, if I see a piece of cheesecake in the refrigerator, I will consider 1) I desire to have that sweet, creamy texture in my mouth or 2) I desire that my body would be free from those calories. The Law of Contrary Choice says that my final decision will always be consistent with what I desire more at the moment of decision. I may regret the decision later, but at the moment of decision I will always yield to the stronger appetite.
As I stand there with the refrigerator door open I will have to consider if a moment on the lips is worth a lifetime on the hips.
The same principle is at work in spending, use of time, truthfulness, marriage vows, alcohol & other drugs, etc.
Philosophers disagree if appetite is determined or Free-will, but most agree that appetite directs choice.
I have titled today’s sermon “Rebellion in 3D” because the 15 verses of today’s text show for us Disobedience, Death & Discipline.
Transition: Join me in Judges 2 where we witness...

God’s People Shifted from Worship to Weeping (Judges 2:1-5)

Judges 2:1–5 ESV:2016
1 Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? 3 So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” 4 As soon as the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the people of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. 5 And they called the name of that place Bochim. And they sacrificed there to the Lord.

Two Unidentified Cities (v.1a)

1. Gilgal was the place where the Hebrews camped after crossing the Jordan (Joshua 3-4). It was a place marked by remembrance, faith, provision and optimism.
Joshua 4:20–24 ESV:2016
20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21 And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
2. Bochim means “weeping”. Archeology has not revealed any towns with this name. Some believe this is a nickname for Bethel (House of Elohim), where Judges 20 & 21 refers to weeping 3 times.
· At least 4 times in Scripture (Gen 13, 35, 1 Kings 13, 2 Kings 17) we read about the need to “go back to Bethel”
· Near Bethel is where God made His covenant with Abraham. It is the location where Abraham and Lot separated ways. It is where Jacob wrestled with God. Here it is the place where God sends a messenger to a new generation of His people to confront their disobedience.

Grace Abused (vv.1b-2)

1. My covenant. – 2 types of treaties existed in ancient Middle East (parity & Suzerainty).
· “If it is a treaty between equals, it is called a parity treaty; where it involves a superior king and an inferior ruler, it is called a suzerainty treaty.”[i]
2. God had initiated a covenant and invited the Hebrews to enjoy its benefits. But the people soon disregarded their obligations under the covenant.
3. This is much like our sin after we have been saved. The salvation “contract” remains in place, but the disobedience has consequences.

Opportunity Missed (vv.3-5)

1. The Lord continued to be their God, but things would not be as good as they could have been.
2. They wept and sacrificed, but their apology would be short-lived as the rest of the book is about to reveal.
Transition: The Disregard of God’s People for His commands had lasting consequences…

God’s People Declined from Possession to Poverty in 1 Generation (Judges 2:6-10)

Judges 2:6–10 ESV:2016
6 When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. 7 And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 years. 9 And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. 10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.

Possession was the result of Serving YHWH (vv.6-7)

· They were “working the Plan”

Joshua died and His Generation was Gathered (v.8, v.10a)

1. Joshua died just as his father (Nun) had been buried.
2. All of Joshua’s entourage also died and were buried in family burial plots.
When people do not know history, they are doomed to repeat it.
I found myself chuckling when I read the family Christmas letter from one of our church families whose mother happens to be a History teacher. The family vacationed in our Nation’s capital and I quote, “As a history teacher, I was very excited for this trip but I think [name removed to protect the innocent] began to tire of my history lessons by day two.”
4. Without plaques, monuments and stories we forget the events that brought us to where we are.

Generational Shift

1. Without a compelling memory of God’s deliverance from the servitude of Egypt, the Hebrews now find themselves surviving, rather than thriving.
2. From taking possession (v.6) they are now being plundered (v.14)
What was the price of gasoline when you got your driver’s license? Do you remember the rationing of the 70’s and the long lines at the gas station? I still remember the “$1” that was taped on the face of the gas pump because the display was not designed to accommodate a price higher than 99 cents.
How many remember the Hummer SUV? Following the opulence of the 80’s it was released in 1992 as big and powerful and was pretty much unchanged until 2002 when the H2 was released. Then came gasoline prices above $4 per gallon and the demand changed so that in 2005 we saw the H3 and by 2010 Hummer had gone out of business. The existence of that iconic brand lasted less than 20 years.
Interesting enough, when the Hummer was only 5 years old Toyota released the first Prius, which is now in its 4th generation and has spawned a whole industry of hybrid vehicles.
3. I do not mean to embarrass anyone who drives a powerful vehicle. (I’ve never seen a Prius pulling a stock trailer.)


· I’m just trying to illustrate that if something as minor as gasoline prices can make such a significant change in our driving habits, how much more drastic of a change can happen when God is forgotten and His Truth is ignored.
It wasn’t too long ago that same-sex couples had difficulty adopting or fostering children. I received an email this week from the Alliance Defending Freedom (not to be confused with the Alliance Defense Fund) stating “Church leaders should be aware that Alliance Defending Freedom has increasingly been receiving calls from Christian couples who have had their applications to foster or adopt children denied because those couples adhere to biblical beliefs concerning sexual morality, and concerning sex or “gender” as a gift of God that cannot be changed.”
· This shift from limiting SSA couples to denying Christian couples has happened in less than half of my lifetime.
Transition: The decline in 1300 BC is a picture of what could happen in AD 2020.

Spiritual Adultery Generates Anger, Loss & Distress (Judges 2:11-15)

Judges 2:11–15 ESV:2016
11 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. 14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. 15 Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.

Describing the Betrayal (vv.11-13)

1. V.11 says that they “did what was evil” and the next 2 versed describe that evil.
2. Served the Baals (v.11) and the Ashteroth (v.13)
a. Ba’al was a god of fertility and the plural simply means idols to him appeared in several towns
b. Ashteroth is the plural of Ashtarte, who appears in Mesopotamia as Ishtar, from which we get the Biblical name Esther. She was a goddess of fertility and war.
c. With a desire to remain family-friendly, I will not go into detail of what the idols to Ba’al and Asterote looked like, but as fertility god and goddess you can imagine what these images looked like.
d. We aren’t the first generation to struggle with making a god of sexuality.
3. Abandoned the Lord (v.12a)
4. Went after other gods (v.12b)
5. Bowed down to them (v.12c)
Bowing down was more than Chris Harris admitting the Chiefs are better than the Patriots this year. It is the idea of worship, service and obedience.

Just anger (v.14a)

(kāʿas), to be provoked to anger/jealousy. The use of this word is to separate us from the idea that God is hot-tempered or short-fused.
2. Hebrew has another word often used of being angry. The word used in Judges carries more the cause, e.g to irritate, to grieve, or to provoke a response.
3. The Israelites had repeated done what would cause even a mild-mannered person to get indignant.

Fruit of Betrayal (vv.14b-15)

1. Because the Hebrews had chosen to align with Ba’al and Ashteroth rather than YHWH. God determined to let them experience the outcome of that choice.
2. He withdrew His protection so that they were plundered by their enemies.
3. He refused to fight for them so that they experience defeat in war.
4. By withdrawing His protection, they experienced the consequences of their actions and were in distress.

Fruit of the Bad Tree (Gal 6:7)

Galatians 6:7 ESV:2016
7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
· Any individual, family, people group, political party, country, or coalitino who chooses to ignore God’s Word today can expect the same distress.
Transition: Disobedience came 1 generation after the death of Joshua and led to severe discipline. This is what rebellion looks like in 3D.


At the beginning of this message I spoke about the Law of Contrary Choice. Even though I came from a solid Christian family and we were in church every time the doors were open. One of the earliest influences upon my moral appetite was a TV series that only ran for 3 years. David Caine played the role of a wanderer in the old West who found himself in awkward predicaments. Through flashbacks my 7-year-old self, was reminded to be patient, consider all the options, influences, and outcomes and to “choose wisely, Grasshopper.”
With “choose wisely, Grasshopper” ringing in my ears I would go to Sunday School and we would sing, “O Be Careful Eyes What You See” and around the house my mother would often cite Numbers 32:23.
Before Joshua led the people Moses gave them instructions to go throughout the Land to conquer it because “the land is subdued before the Lord”. But if they failed to do what God instructed, Moses warned, “Be sure your sin will find you out.”
Today’s text reveals the awful consequences of choosing immediate comfort over ultimate obedience. For the Israelites the effort to drive out all the Canaanites seemed greater than the promised blessing of God.
May we learn from their mistakes and always conclude that obedience is worth the effort!
Song of Response #358. “I Am Thine, O Lord
Benediction: 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) — If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
[i] John H. Walton, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (Old Testament): Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 117.
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