A Shocking Culture

As we near the end of Judges, we are faced with some shocking examples of human depravity. The author makes it clear that Israel had replaced God’s theocratic rule with natural desire—“Every man did what was right in his own eyes.” The cultural norms were no longer distinct between paganism and Yahwehism. The Israelites completely embraced the “you do you” philosophy that we find so prevalent in today’s culture. As shocking as the story of the Levite and his concubine is, in addition to the tribal civil war that followed, it’s not difficult to see the similarities today. The purpose for including these dark and horrendous events in Israel’s history is not to make us feel better about our own indiscretions and moral failures but to point us to our desperate need for King Jesus to rule our lives. Scripture is clear that before salvation, our sinful hearts were naturally hostile towards God (Rom 8:7). Following God’s transformative work of grace in our lives, we are still prone to wander and susceptible to sin’s allurement. As shockingly sinful as our culture is,  the Apostle Paul reminds us that our battle is not against what we see but what we can’t see—“Against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). The author of Judges tells us that Israel was shocked to hear about the rape and murder that took place in Gibeah (19:30). But rather than recognizing their need for national reform and a return to Yahweh, their response was purely judicial, waging war against what they saw—the guilty Benjamites. In many ways, they were still acting in accordance with what was “right in their own eyes.” As Christians, yes, sin should be shockingly abhorrent to us, but how we respond to our culture is critically important. Don’t forget who and what the true enemy is. As easy as it is to either justify our own sin through comparison or to “wage war” against evil politicians and policies, don’t miss our need for personal introspection, confession, and renewed submission to the King who sovereignly reigns over all. Our ability to swim against the currents of culture comes from being filled with the Spirit and taking up the armor of God. In order for us to not be conformed to this world (Rom 12:2), to no longer walk as the Gentiles do (Eph 4:17), to not love the world nor the things in the world (1 Jn 2:15), and to abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against our souls (1 Pet 2:11), our own strength will not suffice. We must be full of Holy Spirit joy, Holy Spirit courage, and Holy Spirit wisdom. While living in a culture that is no better than the culture of Judges, may we keep our eyes on the King and rest in the power of His might. –Pastor Nate

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: Scripture Reforms the People–Ezra 9

10AM: Pastor Rory–A Shocking Culture–Judges 19-20 (sermon notes)

6PM: Evening Gathering–Missions Emphasis Night

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