05-29-16 In the Days of the Judges: You're Doing It Wrong

As part of our Memorial Day commemoration, we always try to recognize people’s service to our country and let them know how much we appreciate them.  So, before I forget, let me thank everyone reading this who has been willing to put their lives on the line to provide a safe nation in which the rest of us can live, grow, and raise our families -- whether that be in the military, the police force, the fire department, or what have you. 

But this year, we also encouraged one another to step out and thank someone who’s invested their life in ours to provide a safe environment in which we can live, grow, and become more like Christ -- whether that’s a friend, a family member, a mentor, or what have you.  I don’t share that in any way to diminish what our uniformed Americans have done on our behalf, but rather to remind us that there are those we’ve interacted with over the years who have made a profound difference in our lives, and we need to affirm and thank their willingness to invest in us as well.

As for our upcoming schedule, we just finished up Sunday School for the Spring, and we’ll pick it back up in the Fall, after Labor Day.  But we’re gearing up for our upcoming Vacation Bible School in July, so keep your eyes peeled for announcements about that -- and please be keeping it in your prayers even now.  We’ll be hosting the registration for Great Oaks Camp this Saturday at our facility, so we’d love to be able to invite a bunch of inner-city kids to join us for this year’s VBS.  In fact, we’ll be hosting our annual Community Cook-Out this Sunday, so please join us if you can, and definitely be praying that some of those Great Oaks families could join us as well this weekend.

In our message this week, we began looking at the Book of Judges itself, just looking at that first chapter and how well the Israelites did (or, in fact, didn’t) that whole “conquering Canaan” thing that God led them to do.

See, it’s human nature to think that God has good plans... but that we can tweak them to make them just a little bit better.  That’s what Adam and Eve did in Eden, that’s what the Israelites did in Canaan, and that’s what you and I too often do on a daily basis.  We mostly obey, and we tend to feel pretty good about it when we get that close to doing what God told us to do.

But if we’re only obeying up until the point where we no longer feel like obeying, or if we’re only obeying up until the point where we decide that we actually have a better plan than the authority we’re following, then it’s not really obedience any more.  At that point, it becomes fairly clear that it’s possible that we’ve never really been obeying -- we’ve just happened to enjoy the direction we’d been pointed by our authority, and we were happy to keep walking that way... until we weren’t happy any more.

So it’s worth stopping and asking if you’re just obeying God because you generally like the direction He’s pointed you (which isn’t really obeying) or if you’re obeying Him wherever He directs you, whether you like it or not.

Surely that’s worth a moment of self-reflection today...