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Moving Toward Obedience

Judges  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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How we as God's children achieve His commands in our lives.

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Hebrews 11:30 NKJV
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.

Introduction:
Last week we looked at God’s inflexibility concerning His demands and commands for His people.
We came to understand that His inflexibility is due to His great love for us, and desire to provide the best for us.
(If you haven’t listened to that message you can find it by using the link provided on the back of your bulletin.)
So now that we have seen why God is inflexible with His demands, there should be no reason for us not to move into perfect obedience with Him, for this is His desire for us.
Now that we have seen why God is inflexible with His demands, we can safely move into perfect obedience with Him.
Judges 2:11–16 NKJV
Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.
There is one thing that stands out clearly in this passage, which is consistent throughout the Bible, viz, God does not allow His children to live in a constant state of disobedience.
You might be asking this question right now.
“Does He do this today?”
You can bet on it!
There are also two names here I would like you to become familiar with -
The first is Ashtoreth

6253. עַשְׁתֹּרֶת ʿAshtôreth, ash-to´-reth; prob. for 6251; Ashtoreth, the Phœnician goddess of love (and increase):—Ashtoreth.

The second is Baal

Baal. Name of the most prominent Canaanite deity. As the god of fertility in the Canaanite pantheon (roster of gods), Baal’s sphere of influence included agriculture, animal husbandry, and human sexuality. The word Baal occurs in the OT in combination with other terms, such as place-names (Baal-peor, Hos 9:10; Baal-hermon, Jgs 3:3), or with other adjuncts as in Baal-berith (Baal of the covenant, Jgs 8:33). Use of the name in connection with a local place-name may indicate a local cult of Baal worship.

Baal. Name of the most prominent Canaanite deity. As the god of fertility in the Canaanite pantheon (roster of gods), Baal’s sphere of influence included agriculture, animal husbandry, and human sexuality. The word Baal occurs in the OT in combination with other terms, such as place-names (Baal-peor, Hos 9:10; Baal-hermon, Jgs 3:3), or with other adjuncts as in Baal-berith (Baal of the covenant, Jgs 8:33). Use of the name in connection with a local place-name may indicate a local cult of Baal worship.

Baal worship became prominent in the northern Kingdom of Israel during the days of King Ahab (9th century BC) when he married Jezebel of Tyre, a city in Phoenicia (1 Kgs 16:29–33; 18:19–40). It later infiltrated the Kingdom of Judah when Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, married King Jehoram of Judah (2 Kgs 8:17, 18, 24–26). Places for worship of Baal were often high places in the hills consisting of an altar and a sacred tree, stone, or pillar (2 Kgs 23:5). The predominantly urban Phoenicians built temples to Baal; while Athaliah was queen of Judah, even Jerusalem had one (2 Chr 23:12–17).

In the Ugaritic epic material Baal is pictured as descending into the netherworld, the domain of the god Mot. That descent was evidently part of a cycle intended to coincide with the cycle of seasons. In order to bring Baal up from the realm of Mot and thus insure initiation of the fertile rainy season, the Canaanites engaged in orgiastic worship that included human sacrifice as well as sexual rites (Jer 7:31; 19:4–6). Sacred prostitutes evidently participated in the autumnal religious ritual. The worship of Baal was strongly condemned in the OT (Jgs 2:12–14; 3:7, 8; Jer 19).

HOWARD F. VOS

In the Ugaritic epic material Baal is pictured as descending into the netherworld, the domain of the god Mot. That descent was evidently part of a cycle intended to coincide with the cycle of seasons. In order to bring Baal up from the realm of Mot and thus insure initiation of the fertile rainy season, the Canaanites engaged in orgiastic worship that included human sacrifice as well as sexual rites (Jer 7:31; 19:4–6). Sacred prostitutes evidently participated in the autumnal religious ritual. The worship of Baal was strongly condemned in the OT (Jgs 2:12–14; 3:7, 8; Jer 19).

Here’s what I want you to take away from these two forms of worship -
It is not a religious act as we think about religion.
Both are forming strong sensual dependencies that control and secure participation.
Both, will replace true worship of God and influence another generation.
And, we can clearly see this playing out before us everyday in many different ways.
The sexual revolution of the 20th century has produced a form of bondage not easily broken, culminating into many diverse perversions prevalent in our society today!
So in order to move toward obedience, we need to understand just how evil overtakes us, and the subtlety of it’s lure.
The lure of this false worship was appealing to the senses.
God
1 John 2:15–16 NKJV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
This is the same problem that the fruit of the tree of good and evil had upon Eve.
She saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.
Isn’t it the same for us today?
Isn’t our struggle with sin, which puts us in a position of disobedience to God, the same as the Israelite’s problem in Judges?
Are we not seduced by sin the same way?
Yeah we are!
And, if we are to move towards obedience, there are some things we need to do. Let me give you two:

I. We must overcome the lure of sin.

Don’t ever forget that sin feels good, and brought to its fulness becomes an addiction, that destroys!
1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
James 1:14–16 NKJV
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
James 1:14 NKJV
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
James 1:14–15 NKJV
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
James
Every addiction begins with a first experience, and it is usually benign in it’s effect.
But with every true addiction, each successive experience creates a need for more frequency and potency.
I don’t think the Israelites sought to sacrifice their children to pagan God’s, but as the sensual experience, or as we read, orgiastic experience of the worship demanded more intense pleasure to satisfy, it changed them!
Their minds were also affected and altered by the consistent experience, until even human sacrifice became a form of the perverseness of this worship.
So if you are already in some form of bondage to sensual or chemical pleasures, you may need someone to help you through the withdrawal and healing process. Someone you can trust, to give you spiritual guidance, someone you can be accountable to.
Also, to overcome the lure of sin, you need to...
Also, to overcome the lure of sin, you need to...
Train yourself to find contentment in Christ.
Again, like the first, there may be something else that is more stimulating to you than a love relationship with Jesus.
But, because only Jesus can set you free, we must allow Him to fill every place in our lives.
John 8:32 NKJV
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
I think it is unfortunate that so many Christians take this verse to mean that when one trusts Christ, they are immediately free from every entanglement, like God waved His magic wand or something.
But it doesn’t work that way!
The truth will make you free, when you are walking in faith!
Galatians 5:7 NKJV
You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
Galatians 5:16 NKJV
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Galatians 5:18 NKJV
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Galatians 5:17 NKJV
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Here are some practical things you can do:
Set aside a time every day to be quiet before the Lord.
Praise Him for His goodness and worship Him.
Tell Him your desires, even the unholy ones, (He already knows).
Ask Him to help you when you are tempted, and look to Him for strength.
Systematically begin replacing them with quiet time with Him.
Eventually, you will find Jesus replacing your desire for that need.
So yes, we must overcome the lure of sin.
The other thing is...

II. We must be faithful.

Don’t second guess what He says.
Our text in Hebrews tells us that the walls of Jericho came down when the Israelites did what God commanded.
God’s blessings always flow from a spirit of obedience.
But, they are equally quenched with a spirit of disobedience.
The most obvious example of this is what we’ve already spoken about here in Judges:
The Israelites second guessed God when they put the Canaanites under tribute, rather than driving them out. Tribute was their idea of a compromise. The problem - God didn’t say compromise!
When do you second guess God?
I remember years ago a friend who told me how he was so moved during a service that he went forward in an invitation to surrender to being an overseas missionary. He really believed God was telling Him this, but sadly he never saw it through, and still many years later, had deep regrets for not trusting God.
So to be faithful, don’t second guess God, but also...
Be willing to trust Him in and with everything.
B. Be willing to trust Him with everything.
The things He asks, may at times seem impossible or more than we can bare, but He knows better than we.
C. Move toward, not away from Him.
Is there something in your life you are struggling to trust Christ with?
Maybe it’s someone?
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
If we want to experience the fullness of His blessings, we must surrender all.
A parent?
The old hymn goes:
All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live.
Do you know the chorus? sing it with me -
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior -
I surrender all
Verse 4
All to Jesus I surrender
Lord, I give myself to Thee.
Fill me with Thy love and power
Let Thy blessings fall on me.
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior -
I surrender all
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