THE ANGER OF THE LORD
Text: JUDGES 10:6-16
- We hear a lot of preaching about the love of God, and that is good because the Bible says God is love (I John 4:7,8,16).
- One day Spurgeon saw a weathervane with these words written on it: "God is love." He thought it inappropriate and told the man who owned the farm. The farmer said: "it is not inappropriate, sir. For no matter which way the wind blows, God is love."
- The love of God was demonstrated at the cross (cf. John 3:16). "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom.5:8).
- This is true, and yet I think that what this wicked sin-loving world needs is a little less preaching on the love of God and a lot more preaching on the wrath of God (cf. Judges 10:7).
- Now to properly understand this text, we need to look at the context. The book of Judges deals with the horrible apostasy into which Israel fell, after the death of Joshua.
- With great difficulty and with the help of God, Moses and Joshua managed to keep the children of Israel from abandoning the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and from following after the devil.
- But now Moses has died, and Joshua has died, and the Israelites have abandoned the true God and have gone into apostasy (cf. Judges 17:6; 21:25).
- These verses describe America in the 20th century – apostasy, false religion, including occultism, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, adultery, pornography, drunkenness, drugs, rock music – America loves sin! Every man does that which is right in his own eyes.
- This is the background to our text today. We are going to look at the hot anger of God (Judges 10:7).
I. APOSTASY BRINGS ON THE HOT ANGER OF GOD
- Dr. Scofield says the book of Judges "records seven apostasies, seven servitudes to seven heathen nations, seven deliverances" (p. 287). Since seven is the number of completion, you could say Israel went into complete apostasy.
- Also: compare Judges 10:6 (seven false religions), and 10:11,12 (seven heathen nations which oppressed Israel). This represents complete apostasy.
- The seven apostasies: 3:5-8,12; 4:1; 6:1; 8:33-35; 10:6,7; 13:1.
- Today we will concentrate on the sixth apostasy in the book of Judges (10:6ff).
- The apostasy of America is different from the apostasy of Israel. Israel "served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, etc." (10:6). Apostasy in America today is a little bit different. Today Americans do not serve these same false deities, they serve mammon.
- But Jesus said: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt.6:24).
- Today, Americans do not worship Baalim. Their god is their belly (Phil.3:19).
- Today, Americans do not sit in front of an idol and go into a trance. Instead, they sit in front of the TV set and go into a trance.
- Here are a few marks of apostasy:
- Americans love sports more than God.
- Americans love television and Hollywood more than God.
- Very few Christians bother attending Sunday night or Wednesday night services. Prayer and Bible is out; entertainment is in. And most of the churches that are drawing big crowds are doing it by using worldly entertainment (e.g. Brooklyn Tabernacle).
- Very few Christians go soulwinning. Just as Goliath mocked the Israelites, the JW’s mock us for our feeble attempts at evangelism. They are so bold! Two of these birds sat right out here on Tuesday. I had to chase them away.
- A preacher or some other concerned church member will call for a season of prayer and fasting, and very few will respond. But if some one calls for a big barbecue with plenty of fun and games, a big crowd will come out!
- The majority of so-called Christians do not tithe.
- Here is a frightening mark of 20th century apostasy: the majority of so-called ministers no longer believe the Bible, the blood atonement, salvation by God’s grace, the new birth, etc. Survey after survey have proven this.
- And here is another mark of apostasy: lady preachers (I Tim. 2:11-15; 3:1ff).
- Another horrible mark: and so-called "gay preachers" – what a wicked abomination (Lev.18:22; Rom.1:24-28). Listen to this article from the London Daily Telegraph, reprinted in the Christian News. The Anglican Church is giving its blessing to a vicar who is having a sex-change operation. The Rev. Peter Stone, 46, will soon be known as Carol, and is the first Anglican priest to have "gender redesignation treatment."
- The RCC has the Anglicans beat. They too have a sex-change priest (see article from the Post). It is a fact that the mainline churches are loaded with homosexual ministers.
- I will give one more mark of apostasy, and then we must move on. Agents of Satan, such as JW’s and Mormons, are swarming all over our neighborhoods and Christians do not care. Just the other day, two JW ladies were sitting in front of our church with their literature. Every time you decide not to go soulwinning, you are casting your vote: "Let the JW’s and other cults take over. I don’t care!" Every time you stay home on Sunday night, you are saying, "Let the cults take over. I’m staying home." Every time you skip prayer meeting, you are saying, "Let the cults take over." Every time you skip Sunday School (where we teach our children and adults the Bible) you are saying, "Let the cults take over." Brother, you can be sure the cults are not staying home. They are all over the streets and in the homes. And they are not skipping Bible class. They are diligently teaching their false doctrines and are successfully brainwashing their converts.
- Some of you parents need to wake up and start bringing your kids to SS and VBS and Sunday night services and to prayer meeting. Or some day they may join the JW’s or Mormons. You think it couldn’t happen. Statistics show many Mormons and JW’s used to be Baptists.
- The children of Israelites did not have JW’s or Mormons or SDA, etc. They had "Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria…" (Judges 10:6). The Israelites allowed these heathen religions to take over, and it brought down the hot anger of God.
- Read your Bible carefully. Apostasy always brings down the hot wrath of God. It did during the flood. It did when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. It did during the time of the judges. And it will happen once again when our Lord returns (Jude 14,15).
- Israel turned away from God and turned to the false gods of the heathen. So God turned Israel over to the heathen (Judges 10:6-9).
II. GOD’S ANGER IS MEANT TO BRING CORRECTION
- God "sold them into the hands of the Philistines…" (Judges 10:7). Why? To correct them (cf. Pro.29:15,17; Heb.12:5-11; Rev.3:19-22).
- God allowed these heathen nations to oppress and vex the children of Israel for one purpose: to correct them (Judges 10:8-10). There is an important lesson found here and it is taught all through the Bible. God permits us to reap the results of our own folly.
- Finally Israel learned this lesson, and they "cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee…" (Judges 10:10). This is why God corrected them. God’s hot anger is meant to bring correction.
- Unfortunately, Israel kept backsliding. God would send some heathen nation to oppress them, they would cry out to God, and God would be merciful and raise up a judge like Gideon, or Tola, or Jair (Judges 10:1-3).
- Then the judge would die, and Israel would do "evil again" (Judges 10:5-7). Then the Lord would send another heathen nation to oppress them, and they would cry out to the Lord. Here in Judges 10, God tells them He has had it with all of this (Judges 10:10-14).
- I think God has had it with many of the people in our churches today (cf. Pro.29:1; 1:24-28).
- They hear some preaching against sin, and they come forward and pray, and then the next day they are back to their wicked ways.
- I read a story in The Sword of the Lord about a family who stopped going to church and lost all interest in the things of God.
- There were the father and three sons, and all of them turned their backs on God. The pastor and different men from the church had visited them but they got nowhere.
- One day, John, one of the boys got bit by a large rattlesnake and he became very ill. They brought him to the doctor but the doctor said, "He is in critical condition. About all you can do now is pray."
- The father called the preacher and asked him to pray. This was his prayer: "O wise and righteous Father, we thank Thee, for Thou hast in Thy wisdom sent this rattlesnake to bite John in order to bring him to his senses. He has not been inside the church house for years, and it is doubtful that he has in all that time felt the need for prayer. Now we trust that this will prove a valuable lesson to him and that it will lead to genuine repentance.
- "And now, O Father, wilt Thou send another snake to bite his brother Jim, and another to bite his brother Sam, and please send a big one to bite the old man. We have been doing everything we know for years to restore them – but to no avail. It seems, therefore, that all our combined efforts could not do what this snake has done. We thus conclude that the only thing left that will do this family any good is rattlesnakes; so Lord, send bigger and better rattlesnakes. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen."
III. GOD’S ANGER IS MEANT TO BRING REPENTANCE
- Twice we see that Israel "cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned" (Judges 10:10,15).
- They must have been sincere because the Bible says "they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD" (10:16).
- I have been emphasizing the anger of God, but here we also see the tender compassion of God – "and His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel" (10:16b). God is not happy to see sinners fall into sin and misery (cf. Ezek.18:23,30-32).
- God is grieved when sinners reject His grace and mercy. Unsaved friend: Now is the time to get right with God.
- Our chapter concludes with this important question, "What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon?" (Judges 10:18).
- God is still looking for a man to take a stand for Him.
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