What a great weekend of learning more and more about grace of Jesus. The whole message can be viewed here.

The Book of Judges is the Soap Opera of the Bible. There’s deceit, murder, melodrama and the storyline repeats over and over and over and (you get the picture). The “pattern” that emerges in the repeated story is a downward spiral of rebellion and depravity that shows Israel’s ultimate need for God’s rescue. If we can understand that reality, then we can understand the Old Testament, New Testament, and our own need for Jesus as our King and rescuer.

In our first week we explored the story of Israel’s first Judge, Othniel. After Joshua (the leader of the Israelites after Moses) died, Israel forgot their God, Yahweh, and the great rescue and miracles He’d performed for them. As a result, they believed the great lie that other gods could sustain and bless them. In that error they sinned against God, worshipped foreign gods, fell into the hands of their enemies and into great distress. In distress they called out for rescue. God raised up a Judge to rescue them, and brought them back into peace and rest in their land.

This pattern of peace, sin, distress, crying out and rescue repeats throughout the history of Israel. But, as previously mentioned, it gets worse and worse. What’s important to remember is that Israel’s story is, in many ways, our story. We too fall into patterns of destructive behavior and spirals that we need God’s help to escape from. In order to escape the spiral we can consider these 3 thoughts.

Get Clear on the Pattern:
For many of us, we want to pretend that we don’t have sin issues, but we do. We need to be clear on the patterns in our lives and OWN IT. The spiral begins (like it did for Israel) with forgetting the goodness and power of God and believing something different. As Tim Chester writes in his book, “You Can Change” – “Every Sinful Behavior Begins With A Lie.” [God isn’t strong enough to handle this // God doesn’t love me // God isn’t in control // God doesn’t care] Whatever the lie is, it moves us into a place of looking for fulfillment, love, control, comfort and escape in ways that hurt us and those around (sin). When that happens we fall into distress. When we fall, we need to…

Go To God Right Away:
Like quicksand, distress can suck us in and slowly destroy us. The longer we remain in distress or the more we try to struggle free on our own power the more destructive the spiral becomes. Luckily, we have a God who has and will always come to our rescue. Like a loving parent stopping a merry-go-round when a child gets frightened and cries out for escape, God rescues us from distress. Israel had to wait for a Judge to save them. We don’t – our Judge and King is Jesus. His life, death and resurrection makes it possible for us to escape the spiral and we can start experiencing peace as soon as we embrace him. We don’t need to sit in our shame and pain, fear and worry, dread and despair. We can go to God right away, because…

Grace is Always Greater:
Paul reminds us in Romans 5:20 that “where sin increased, GRACE INCREASED all the more…” Whatever sin moved us away from God, that sin and the distress of the consequences cannot and will not EVER overpower the limitless grace of God made possible through Jesus. There is no sin, mistake, failure, or any power that can ever outpower grace. Grace pulls us out of distress, cleans us and fills us with the power and purpose to become all who we were made to be.

Let’s Get Clear On The Pattern and Own Our Stuff.
Let’s Go To God Right Away and Confess, In Surrender, Our Need for God.
And Finally, If we don’t remember anything else, Let’s Remember Grace Is Always Greater.

Grace and Peace,

Josh Zoerhof
Teaching Pastor
Ridge Point Community Church
Fearless Family of Churches