SanLo Community, an update for the week of September 9, 2018…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from Judges 3:12-30, “The Perfect Murder.” Continuing in our new series called Fallen People, Faithful God. There are some dark and violent scenes throughout this book. One can easily get caught up into the stories and details, however, what we want to see is what God is doing in the story. Even in the midst of war, violence, and sin, there is a faithful, delivering and victorious God. As we jump into our story, we gain three important lessons from God, three important truths from the Word of God.
1) Sin always has deadly consequences. (vv.12-14) The writer of Judges says the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. You’ll find this is a very common line throughout the book. In the previous section with the judge, Othniel, Israel fell from God, and God saved them from the king of Mesopotamia. And God gave them 40 years of peace and rest. Yet after those 40 years, the people sin again, and because of their sin, God strengthens Eglon king of Moab. What’s important to note is God strengthened Eglon. God empowers this unbelieving king for His purposes. Israel had fallen to their practices of idolatry, worship, prosperity, and even sexuality. Thus, they had succumbed to the normal ways of the surrounding culture. For the Israelites, their lives were on the line and the same goes for us. Our sin causes us to die in this world and for an eternity. Our sin causes us both a physical and spiritual death. If you let sin have its way, then it will ultimately kill you. Don’t take my word for it, that’s what the Bible says. It will rob your soul, steal your marriage, ruin your family, and destroy your life. Don’t be passive about sin. It’s too dangerous to be passive. Come to God. Repent. Receive His forgiveness. Find someone to hold you accountable because sin always has deadly consequences. This is the first lesson, which was the bad and hard news.
2) God graciously rescues us from sin and evil. (vv.15-25) God raises up a deliverer, Ehud who draws Eglon in with the allurement of a secret message and they go up to his private quarters. Ehud says, “I have a message from God for you.” Eglon is lured by the power of the gods. Ehud reaches for his sword and slays the mighty king with one blow to the belly. He’s struck dead! The dung comes out. It’s a gory, bloody, and smelly mess. Here, God is all in the details. Ehud got passed the guards. He defeated a monster of a king. Even the details of the dung came out to help give Ehud more time to flee. I believe God laid out all the details to show us, He is the God of the impossible. Only by the power of God could He execute this mighty puppet king, ultimately, to show us that He is the King of Kings. God didn’t have to. Israel didn’t deserve it. They did evil in the sight of the Lord over and over again but He saved them anyway despite their sin. He executed the perfect murder to save and to free His people. Does that sound a whole lot like the good news of the gospel? We didn’t deserve it. We couldn’t and can’t save ourselves. Only God could do the impossible through the cross of Christ. God loved you. God loved me. Even in our sin, even in our brokenness, even in our disobedience. God struck down His very own Son. Because of Grace!!! Because of Love!!!! Because of Mercy!!! That’s the gospel. That’s the good news of the Bible.
3) The last lesson is that God brings us into His perfect peace. (vv.26-30) Ehud does his ninja thing and escapes all the guards to get back home, where he sounds the horn. This is the rally cry for all the Israelites to prepare and to go to war. It’s a really graphic ending! 10,000 of the elite Moabite soldiers are crushed and destroyed. Israel wins the battle, destroys the Moabites, and they are at rest in the land God gave them for another eighty years. There is victory and celebration in the land of Israel. God gives them rest. God if faithful to keep His covenant promises to obtain the land with the promise of rest and peace to Israel. The peace mentioned here in Judges is definitely a Sabbath and temporary peace. There is no longer strife or war in the land of Israel. God kept His promise to His people. But there is another peace that we find in the words of Jesus. Amazingly, He leaves these words right before He’s about to die on the cross in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” You see the peace that Jesus came to offer isn’t temporary. It doesn’t negate the Sabbath rest or peace, because that rest and peace was meant to reflect His coming peace. Jesus’ peace is not the absence of noise, screaming children, beeping cars or construction trucks. Jesus’ peace doesn't sit on a beach with an umbrella drink nor is it free from tribulation or trial. That’s not it. Rather Jesus’ peace rests in every heart and every soul of believer in the midst of life’s hardest storms. His peace pulls the eternal tranquility of Heaven right down into our lives. It hits at the core of our being to let us know that it’ll all be okay. God has got your world no matter how messed up it might be or feel. You see the greatest war is already over between you and God, because we are now at peace with God by His Grace. No longer enemies of the King, but we are friends of the King. So, nothing in this world can destroy or kills us. There is no need to be troubled when you are in the Hands of the Almighty God.
Maybe you are feeling like your world is a war zone, God’s perfect peace is there. Maybe you’re in a battle with your marriage or with your kids, God’s perfect peace is there. Maybe things are broken and falling part, God’s perfect peace is right there. His peace pushes us further and deeper into the arms of the Prince of Peace, where we are secure and safe for today and an eternity. God holds us and speaks to us, “Be careful, sin always has deadly consequences, but I’ve always got a way out. A way of grace, a way to free you out of sin and death. A way into peace, I’ve got this and I’m gonna carry you home, home with Me.”