Intro: A distinct pattern has emerged as we progress through the book of Judges. As long as they had a powerful leader, the children of Israel would serve the Lord. They relapsed into their sins when that leader left the scene.
God used the pagan nations around them to rebuke Israel for their sin. In order to demonstrate to them the high cost of low living, he allowed their enemies to oppress and afflict Israel. Gideon, a man, is introduced to us in chapter 6. He is known as "he who cuts down." Gideon is an unlikely candidate for a deliverer when he appears. 11. He is hiding because he is afraid of Israel's enemies. Despite Gideon's lack of faith and fear, God chose him to be Israel's next judge and used him in a wonderful way. The text we are going to read today will serve as a prelude to our investigation into Gideon's life. These verses prepare Gideon for his ministry in Israel. They also contain important life lessons for us. These verses are a parable about the high cost of living in low-income areas. They show us that disobeying the Lord's will in our lives will cost us more than we could ever hope to pay. As I preach on the topic of The High Cost Of Low Living, let's look at the lessons that can be learned from these verses and how we can use them in our everyday lives. The Bible simply states that "the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord" in I. v. 1a. This is the sin that they committed. We can only speculate that it was the same sin they had previously committed, as stated in Judges 2:19; 3:5-7. They frequently followed the same foolish path. They were responsible for falling prey to the same trap. False god-worshipping pagan nations surrounded Israel. People were constantly attempting to divert Israel away from God and into their own wicked ways, and they were surrounded by them. Israel was able to live a clean life for as long as they had a strong leadership. They wandered away from the Lord when that leadership failed. Israel was a frail, erratic people who struggled to follow the Lord's lead. We shouldn't be harsh with them. I'm giving a sermon to a group of people who are dealing with the same issue. We all have weaknesses that we need to work on. There are parts of our lives where it appears as though we are always fighting for righteousness. These areas are referred to as "the sin that doth so easily beset us" in Hebrew. 12:1. The meaning of the phrase "skillfully surround" is "easily beset." Sin is loved by our flesh. Satan, our foe, is a cunning foe. He is aware of our flaws. He knows who to lure us into evil and who to avoid, II Timothy 2:25-26. James 1:12-16 says that Satan sets the trap for us because he knows what makes us tick. Everybody in this room has problems in some areas of their lives. You have weaknesses in some areas. There are some who struggle with their language. Some individuals struggle with submission and stubbornness. Some people have issues with gossip. Some are troubled by sexual sin. Some people are drawn to drugs and alcohol. There are numerous areas in which people struggle. You are aware of your weaknesses. You are aware that you will struggle to resist temptation in the right circumstances. There are a few concrete steps you can take to win the battle against sin. Avoid playing near the trap. Stay away from areas of your life where you know there is a danger. Joseph, ill. – Gen. 39:12; 2 Tim. 2:22; Eph. 4:27.) Keep your distance, 1 Pet, Satan is after you. 5:8. 1 Cor. says, "Look for the escape route." 10:13. Our temptations will be overcome by God, but it is up to us to use it! Learn to think of yourself as free from sin and its effects, Rom. 6:11; Col. 3:3-5. Rom., make a firm decision within yourself to serve only God. 6:13; 1 Cor. 6:19-20. Sin is a problem that every saint has to deal with all the time, but it doesn't have to take over and control our lives. Through our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, we can win, Rom. 6:7, 14. I. The Sin They Accepted II. v. 1b-6 THE SUFFERING THEY ENDURED (Ill.) These verses recount the terrible cost that Israel incurred as a result of their foolishness in sinning against God. Their suffering serves as a reminder to us that sin cannot be tolerated! We might believe we can cover it up. We might believe that nobody will find out. God knows the truth, and He will reveal it to us in due course, Num. 32:23; Luke 12:1-3. Let's look at what Israel went through as a result of their sins. Keep in mind that if we don't live for the Lord, we could face the same fate—or worse—in our lives.) A. v. 1b-2a: They Were Invaded: The Midianites oppressed Israel. Similar to the Israelites, the Midianites were Abraham's descendants. They were descended from Midian, a man. According to Genesis 25:1-6, Midian was Keturah and Abraham's son. After Sarah passed away, Abraham wed Keturah. The Bible occasionally mentions the Midianites. After leaving Egypt, Moses wed Zipporah, a Midianite woman, in Ex. 2:21. Balaam advised the Midianites in Numbers to seduce the Israelite men and convert their hearts to idols. Over 24,000 Israelites perished as a result of it, as recorded in Numbers 25. The word "strife" is pronounced "Midian." The Midianites are a clear illustration of the conflict between the world around us and the truth of God, which we are supposed to believe and follow. They portray a corrupt world and its desire to divert God's people away from Him. The unfaithfulness of the people of God was the sole reason that the Midianites possessed power over them. The barrier that separated them from the outside world was broken down by their sin. Refusing to walk with the Lord led to trouble for Israel. (Ill.) We also open the door to affliction in our lives when we refuse to remain close to the Lord and live in accordance with His Word. Our problems frequently stem directly from our poor choices. Our weakness is the result of our sin. The enemies of righteousness are more likely to attack us when we are weak. The world frequently invades, attacks, and overruns us due to our weakness.) B. v. 2 They Were Imprisoned: Israel lost its will to fight as a result of the Midianites' oppression. While the adversary overran their land, they fled and hid in the mountains. They were made weak by their sin. They lost the will to fight as a result. They were completely defeated by it! (Ill.) The same thing will occur when we allow sin to rule our lives. We lose our character through sin. We are unable to fight as a result. In our Christian life, we become listless, lifeless, and lethargic when we allow sin to rule in our hearts. While the adversary takes everything we hold dear, sin forces us to run away in fear! People in this room are held captive by your transgressions. You have lost the will to resist certain behaviors and ways of life because you have allowed them to control you for so long. You run away from things you think you can't control because you are a prisoner in your own life. According to John 8:36, Jesus has the power to liberate you. However, you cannot enjoy the Lord's freedom while hiding in fear of your sin! You must deal with your sin if you want to be free! Pro, you must admit it. 28:13; 1 John 1:9. Luke 13:5 says that you must turn back. You must give up on it. You can be free, but you have to take the initiative. It won't just happen on its own.) C. v. 3-6 They Were Suffered Impoverishment – Israel was "impoverished" in verse 6. This verb means "to weaken or weaken." It is derived from the root word for "a bucket dangling from the end of a rope." It portrays hopelessness and helplessness. It depicts a people at the brink of self-destruction. They lost everything they loved about Israel. They planted their fields, verse 3, and when the adversaries arrived, they took their crops with them. Verse 4: They saw every animal taken away. They were left with "no food." They were rendered literally "weak." They were "at the end of their rope," as they put it. They lost everything they cherished. They had lost everything they needed to live. Nothing was left for them! (Ill. That's the effect of sin! It deprives us of everything we cherish and live for. We are slack, weak, and at the end of our rope as a result. If you make the decision to live your life under the control of sin, you shouldn't be surprised if the things you value are taken away from you. Some people have ended their marriage because they chose sin over their partner. While some people teach their children to love the Lord, they fail to teach them to be, have, and do the best. Those parents frequently witness their children departing from God. Despite the fact that this material world is fleeting, some people live for material possessions. They will have nothing when they die! Some people are always focused on getting what they want. They forget that getting there necessitates crossing over others' needs and feelings. When such individuals look around, they might realize that they are all alone! I don't know what you're investing in right now, but I do know that, Gal, investing in anything other than Jesus yields rewards you don't want. 6:7-8. Matt, I do know that investing in Jesus yields eternal dividends. 6:19-21. Where do you intend to invest?) I. The Sin That They Accepted II. Third, the suffering they went through. v. 7 to 10: THEY EVADED THEIR SECURITY (When Israel's oppression became too great, they called on the Lord once more. Their scream reached God. Moreover, isn't God kind to us? regardless of the number of times we fail Him; When we repent and return to Him in faith, He is always there to forgive us, receive us, and restore us, no matter how many times we fall into sin. 1 John 1:9 states that this is His promise to His people. God be praised for His mercy, faithfulness, and grace! They cried out to God, but He did not immediately send a rescuer. Instead, God sent them an unidentified prophet. A godly person with a message from heaven was sent to them. The message from this prophet was meant to bring them back to who they were. The purpose of the message was to remind them of God's faithfulness in the face of their failure. The purpose of the prophet's message was to impress upon them how kind the Lord had been to them. It was made to help them remember how they ought to have lived because of their relationship with God. Let's take a moment to examine that message.) A. in verses 8b–9a, they are reminded of God's deliverance—God had used supernatural force to free Israel from their slavery in Egypt. Moses, a deliverer, was given to them by God. The plagues that struck the land were God's way of demonstrating His power over the Egyptian gods. They were able to cross the Red Sea on dry ground after God parted the sea with great force. Because of His grace and their salvation, they ought to have been faithful to God for no other reason. (Ill. In both your and my lives, God's grace has been even more tangible! He has never helped me cross a sea. I have never received plagues from him. However, He did give His Son to me on the cross! Before the world began, He did include me in His plan. Despite my sin, he still loved me. I was saved by Him even though I wasn't looking for Him. Because I called on Him in faith, He did indeed alter my life. He only deserves my loyalty, love, and devotion for that reason alone. I shouldn't have to be coaxed into attending church. When I don't always get what I want, I shouldn't get upset. I shouldn't lament or gripe about my circumstances. To get me to serve the Lord, I shouldn't have to beg. He saved me by grace when I was on my way to Hell! He ought to have my undivided attention at all times! Consider the ways in which the Lord saved your soul. Does it have any significance to you that He saved you? It ought to convey everything!) B. v. 9b: They are reminded of God's actions: God not only delivered them from Egypt but also accompanied them throughout the journey. He drove their foes away. He oversaw them. He fueled them. Even when they failed Him, He never let them down. He blessed them beyond their means and provided them with a prosperous land. Because of His blessings over their lives, they ought to have remained faithful to Him! (Ill. Go outside! Back up! Up, look! Examine oneself! The evidence of God's blessings on our lives can be seen all around us. He has treated us well! We have been blessed spiritually, physically, and materially by him. He has been trustworthy to us and provided us with the best! I believe that out of gratitude for everything He has done for us, we ought to be loyal to Him! Without the Lord, I would not have anything! James 1:16-17 says, "His hand has brought to me every good thing in my life." Take note of your blessings. Give each one a name! Hasn't the Lord treated you well? Isn't He deserving of the best from you? What if He took everything away right now? I'd still have to say that I'm fortunate. He has treated me well!) C. v. 10 They Are Reminded Of His Demands: God reminds them that He is their God, not the pagan gods. The fact that He is a "jealous" God is made clear by his words here. 20:5; 34:14, Who will prevent those whom He has saved from pursuing other gods. Israel is made to understand that their suffering stems from their failure to serve God first. They are paying a high price for their low standard of living because they allowed other things to come before Him. (Ill. God has remained the same! God is still envious. He expects you to live solely for Him if He has chosen you in Jesus, saved you by grace, and entered into a saving relationship with you. He doesn't think you'll be able to survive on your own. He doesn't think you'll live for your possessions. You are expected to walk alongside Him, love Him, and act in accordance with His will. He will greatly bless you when you do. There is a cost associated with not having it. When you live below the Lord's standards, you can anticipate paying a high price if you belong to Him, according to Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:6-12. Right now, look at your life. Who is most important to you? You're in trouble if it's anyone other than Him! Conc: Low-cost living comes at a high cost! If you continue to disobey, how much will it cost you? How much are you prepared to give up for your sin? Whatever it is, the price you will pay in the long run for your sin is insignificant. Bring anything about your life that the Lord has spoken to you about right now to Him. Is God saving you? Are your surroundings clean and close? Do you keep His word? Do you feel the effects of your life's whirlwind? Now is the time to approach Him and address the areas of your life about which He has spoken!

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