Pastor averred that if she were Jewish she might like to have the book of Judges removed from the Canon since it lays out not only the good in the history of the people but the bad and the ugly as well.
God's command to Joshua:
Drive out the inhabitants of the land; do not adopt their ways, do not worship their gods.
When God led his people into battle there were no casualties on His side
Yet a pattern developed.
- The people fall into sin.
- They become slaves to their enemies.
- They cry out to God for mercy.
Why did God care?
"Israel is my people; they will make my name to be praised." God, quoted in Jeremiah.
Jabin had ravaged Israel for decades. God appointed Deborah Judge over Israel, ordered her to lead the people against the oppressor. She enlists Barak, tribes of Benjamin, Naphtali, Zebulon respond. Jael drives the spike through General Sisera's temple. Victory.
Who is the hero? Was it Deborah? Barak? The responding tribes? Jael?
So we ask, Who is the Zero? Tribes of Reuben, Gad and Asher, city of Meroz. (Judges 5)
What is our purpose?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. --I Corinthians 6:20
Which in time past were not a people but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. --I Peter 2: 9-10
Our purpose is to proclaim His glory!
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. --Romans 3:23
Coming short of God's glory is sin.
To do what is right in our own eyes, as the Israelites did, is sin. Unlike them, we do not have a book in which is written all our junk.
[Pastor related a personal story in which she gave grace because of God's leading to a homeless person, Ed, whose gambling addiction stripped him of everything.]
"We are one decision away from the homeless person. We are all Ed."
Save for the grace of God, there go I.
It is the grace of God that separates us from any person walking down the street.
Church is not within the walls. We, the Church, are to go to the people. We are going to be part of what God is doing, or we are going to be like Meroz who were cursed.
Where is our gathering? Wherever God puts us with people and with the people He puts in our pathway.
We will be the Body of Christ, or we will stay home within the four walls with nothing to rejoice over.
Pastor Rita Koon