Slinky Cycle

In the Judges Era, we see “Samson and others were chosen as judges to govern the people for 400 rebellious years.”  But the focus of this book isn’t exactly meant to highlight some heroism from Samson, or some faith from Gideon.

The book is really about the patience of God during repetitive cycles of sin.

Israel is stuck in a cycle of sin during the Judges Era where 1) they sin, 2) God disciplines them by military oppression, 3) Israel repents and cries for deliverance, 4) God raises up a judge who delivers them, and 5) Israel lives in freedom until that judge dies.

So check these out individually to understand more:

Israel sins. So what is sin?

In Judges, Israel’s sin is idolatry.  Idolatry is the worship of anything that is not God.  It can be food, relationships, sleep, athletics, self: all of these can become idolatry if you worship (or abuse) them.

After Israel sins, they get oppressed. What does that mean?

It means there are consequences to sin.  You cannot hide from God.  It’s like my 20 month old shutting her eyes in the hall and thinking I can’t see her.  Hiding doesn’t work.  Israel worshiped things other than God and God says, “Look, I’ll get your attention one way or another.”  The are consequences to sin.

Then Israel repents. What is that?

Repentance is a 180 where you KILL your sin, turn your back on its corpse, and run to the cross.  It is continual, not just once.  It is also done in community, not isolation, which is what accountability is.

After they repent, God delivers them. What does that mean?

It means that in repentance there is freedom.  But we get so wrapped up in boundaries, we fail to live in that freedom.  When you repent of sin, don’t just take one step back so you don’t “cross the line” anymore.  Enjoy the freedom!

Israel is free until that judge dies. What does that mean?

It means they did great…for a while.  Then the camp high wore off.  But it also means we serve a VERY PATIENT GOD!

2 Peter 3:15 (NLT) our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved

Nehemiah 9:17 (NIV) They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them,

Caleb Colley writes: “Rather than instantly destroying people when they sin, He providentially gives people opportunities and encouragement that should lead to repentance (Titus 2:11). God expects us to request His continued patience as we make mistakes (1 John 1:9; Luke 11:4), and He shows His patience by continually forgiving us of our sins when we do (based on the sacrifice of Christ’s blood and our sincere obedience to His will; see 1 John 1:7).”

Arthur Pink writes: “The patience of God is that excellency which causes Him to sustain great injuries without immediately avenging Himself.”

We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. You are not a good person.  I am not a good person.  We are stuck swirling in this cycle of sin and nothing we do can get us out of it.

But Jesus can.

We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign when we died with Christ, that sin no longer has any dominion over us because of Jesus, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power, and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us.

We must see that effort does not equal salvation; performance does not; achievement does not; so stop trying to “win” the battle with sin because Jesus already did that!  Instead, start being obedient to the things of God as a RESULT of the salvation we have in Christ, and praise God for his patience!