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The Need for Leaders (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 4, 2021 6:00 am

The Need for Leaders (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 4, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Book of Judges (Judges 10)

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It doesn't really matter.

We're focused on the solution. But it's one evil to follow fake gods. It's another evil to take the true god and mix him in with the fake ones. And yet, it is even another evil to leave the true god, line up the fake gods, and don't even put the true god in that number.

And that's what Israel was doing. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Rick is currently teaching through the book of Judges.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Judges Chapter 10, as he begins a brand new message called The Need for Leaders. Judges 10, The Need for Leaders. This verse that I'm going to start off with from Zachariah, it is messianic, yes, but it is also recognizable.

In other words, it's intended to prophesy about the Lord, but there's another truth in there that is applicable to other things in life. And here's the verse. Strike the shepherd, Zachariah 13, 7, and the sheep will be scattered.

Then I will turn my hand against the little ones. If you knew anything about shepherding flocks, you know that if there was no shepherd, the sheep would not be protected. And the shepherd led the sheep to pastures, to water places, to waterholes or streams or wherever they could drink.

He looked out for them, led them away from danger. Leadership's essential. It's problematic, but you've got to have it. In fact, without it, it's worse than the idea of like, well, let's just not have a leader.

It's just that's a bad idea. Let's work through it until we get the good one, and we'll cover some of this as we move through it. So let's look at verse 1. After Ahimelech, there arose to save Israel, Tolah, the son of Puah, the son of Dodah, a man of Vishakar. And he dwelt in Shemer, in the mountains of Ephraim.

They just don't let up, do they? Well, history remembers Abimelech, and if you remember last session in Judges 9, he was a godless man. He was a ruthless man, bloodthirsty for power. He was a waste of a man. What would have happened had he been righteous?

Well, he left damage behind, ruins behind, for someone else to have to patch up. And so where we read here in verse 1, there arose to save Israel, Tolah. Well, Tolah, his name means beloved.

Actually, his father's name, Dodah, means beloved. Tolah, the judge now that's in place, he is going to rescue the people from what Abimelech left behind, a divided, destabilized people. But the people could not produce such a man. God had to produce him, and God did produce him. And there's some interesting things about he and Jair, who's the judge that follows him.

There's just not much about them, but what we have is very, I think, very insightful. It says he's from the tribe of Ishakar, and he dwelt in Shemer, in the mountains of Ephraim. It's not clear why he was not living in his own territory. Why wasn't he living where Ishakar was? Here he is in Ephraim, and 20 miles between Ephraim and Ishakar's tribe was Manasseh's tribe.

So he made a little trek out of his territory, and that's where he took up residence. In 1 Chronicles, centuries later, this tribe is outstanding for their understanding of times. We read that in 1 Chronicles 12, the sons of Ishakar who had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do. So here's a tribe that had become known for making good decisions, good choices with the information that was put in front of them. They understood where this was going.

They had that kind of an insight. And this judge, Tolah, is from that tribe, and very likely those characteristics were already operating in his lifetime. But he finds himself useful in Ephraim's territory to the benefit of other tribes also. Verse 2, he judged Israel 23 years, and he died and was buried in Shemer. All we know about this man really is that he was a successful leader. 23 years and no war, peace, prosperity. No famine is mentioned. No judgment of God is upon the people at this time. He inherited a disaster from Abimelech, and yet he delivers stability and peace. Even idolatry has a low profile.

It's not out of control. It's not on the surface during his judgeship. He was not buried in his own territory. Not only did he not live in his own tribal territory, but he wasn't buried there. They didn't take him back home.

He is buried there, it says, in Shemer, which is in the mountains of Ephraim. Two decades, a little bit more, of course, 23 years, of influence, righteous influence. And it spills over into the next judgeship, into Jair's rule as judge over the people. Verse 3, after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and he judged Israel 22 years. Between the two, 45 years of peace and prosperity. No mention of idolatry and war. You can say in some respects it was rather uneventful. Thank you, Lord. You want a flight like that. How is your flight uneventful?

Couldn't you land to tell about it? And this judge, he doesn't inherit what Tola inherited, that Abimelech mess, but he inherits that influence of the judge before him and he sustains it. This is remarkable. This is not easy to do. It's not easy to lead well.

That's one problem. And then to leave behind another leader who continues the righteous leadership. At this point in Israel's history, there was something to boast.

This was a good time. Oh, it wasn't as materialistically prosperous as it was in the days of Solomon, nor was it as spiritually prosperous as in the days of David. But it sure is a lot better than what they were getting as a rule. And of course, we know the cycles.

It will get worse and it will be their fault. Verse 4, now he had 30 sons who rode on 30 donkeys. They also had 30 towns which are called Havath-jr to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. Now Gilead is on the east of Jordan, the trans-Jordan. You cross Jordan out of the promised land into the almost promised land and there's Gilead over there. And it's a very fertile and green area there in Israel. Well, it was modern-day Jordan now, the kingdom of Jordan. I mentioned that it was not as prosperous materialistically as in the days of Solomon, but it was very prosperous. This is evident by the lifestyle that this judge leads and the lack of protest about it. No mention, but the poor were starving.

There's not a mention of that. So we have a little color in the life of this judge-jr, yet another leader with a harem. I mean, 30 sons. How many daughters? How many wives do you have to have? Let me just do the math. They have 30 sons who can lead 30 different towns.

The age of the kids, they can't have five-year-olds up there doing it. So he's probably got 20 or 30 wives. And he's wealthy. All of his sons have cars and good ones, too. Well, if you're going to support 30 wives, you better have some money, or else you won't have 30 wives for long. Well, 45 years of prosperity, again, between these two judges. He could afford the nice things, but we don't read of him being spoiled.

And where it says they also had 30 towns which they called havath-jr to this day. Now, that is an accomplishment. You say that's nepotism. Nepotism's not always bad. I've been on both sides of nepotism. I've had jobs where the owner's son, or sons, plural, were given responsibilities that they never should have had, just made everybody else miserable. But I've also been on jobs where the father left and gave the foreman position to his son, and it was just wonderful.

So it depends on the individuals. What are they up to? Here, I think Jairus said, you know what? My boys are pretty sharp. I'm not worried about them.

They can lead. Maybe he couldn't find anybody he could trust. We don't know all the little details, but we know that he had 30 sons who had nice cars, and that they led these towns, and there's no protest.

There are no problems. There's no idolatry mentioned. The Bible doesn't skip over those things. It takes the opportunity to point them out, as is coming in the next few verses. So as nepotistic as this may appear, it kept the peace. The people were in prosperity, and these are competent leaders, trustworthy men, trustworthy sons, which is another thing not easy to pull off. How do you get 30 sons that are trustworthy and not prodigal, not, you know, problematic, not, you know, given to abuses?

Do I think he did not trust outsiders as just looking at things? Probably not. Probably seeing I don't have to. I got my boys there, and they're doing a good job, and if anybody doesn't like it, there's 32 of us, 31 of us counting me, and we'll take them out. I don't know. Anyway, in the land of Gilead, Transjordan, verse 5, and J.R. died and was buried in Caiman. So again, almost half a century of stability with these two men, indication that they were faithful, they served the nation because they served the Lord, and if it had not been so, the Lord would have pointed it out. These two gave such solid leadership that there's nothing to report on their watch against them.

So it gives, you know, we have this, and not on my watch. Well, these two men pulled it off. How rare in the book of Judges and the book of Kings. In fact, you'd be kind of hard-pressed to come up with another two names that were without reproach on their record. No asterisk.

Some might say, well, he had that harem thing going on, but nobody seemed to have a problem with it. Verse 6, then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of Yahweh and served the Baals and Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, the gods of the Philistines, and they forsook Yahweh and did not serve him. Yeah, it reads like a, you know, just a rap sheet charges against them. Insert psi at the bottom of this verse. This is just a history. It's just a cycle. You know, that's what makes something, what makes things that are dumb so distasteful is that they make no sense and they don't stop. You put one down, another one pops up.

Like weeding, you know, you get all the weeds out and you come back after a rain, a little sunset, boom, they're back. And this, the prophets, of course, all of them, the major and the minor prophets, they dealt with this. We'll take one from Hosea, the prophet with the great big heart. If you were to take the hearts out of these prophets and put them up, you'd have a sermon. Jeremiah's heart was just battered.

I don't mean with, you know, battered like you do chicken or fish. I mean beaten. Hosea's heart was just broken. Prophet of the broken heart.

You read his story and you just say, what was going on? A man like this whose life was a sermon to the people concerning the heart of God, and he writes, God speaking through this broken hearted sermon, oh, the man that knew heartbreak, and we should say it that way, O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? Hosea 6, verse 4. Oh Judah, what shall I do to you?

For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, and like early dew, it goes away. That's not my tone. That's not the tone of John the Baptist. There's a lot of prophets, that's not their tone.

It is Hosea's tone. Oh, that lamentation. Oh, Ephraim, what do I do with you? You can see the puddles in the eyes of God as he laments the condition of these people who are bent on hell. He says, oh Judah, what shall I do to you?

I know I am re-reading it. You catch the pathos that's in this verse preserved by the Holy Spirit. He says, for your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, and like the early dew, it goes away.

You've got no faithfulness. And so in verse 6, it says, and the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. That is what was going on in the heart of God. The historian will pick up on that as we move through this chapter.

He picks up on the heart of God. They forsook the Lord, he says here in verse 6, and did not serve him. Whatever Hosea saw, whatever the historian and judges saw, it was imparted to them. It was given to them.

It was revealed to them. God found what he needed in the lives of these characters in Scripture that are righteous, to use them to the benefit of others who would be righteous, and to the opportunity of the wicked to become righteous. They forsook the Lord, did not serve him.

Just like that. It is one kind of evil to follow a fake God, a man-made God, and we were calling them fake gods long before fake news became to be known as fake news. And when we call them fake gods, we're being, we're using a euphemism. We can be a lot stronger, well, I can be a lot stronger in our condemnation of these gods that just pop up, because somebody, Satan, found his vessel, his instrument, his tool to express what was in his, you know, I don't think Satan really understood just how much damage would come to humanity when he took out Adam and Eve. I think that the results were so precious to him that they went even further to his head. His insanity just, you know, doubled, just duplicated in his head, and he's just, this is masterful.

I didn't see this happening, and maybe there's more I can do with it. Well, it doesn't really matter. We're focused on the solution, but it's one evil to follow fake gods. It's another evil to take the true God and mix him in with the fake ones, and yet it is even another evil to leave the true God, line up the fake gods, and don't even put the true God in that number. And that's what Israel was doing.

It just threw Yahweh away and followed these, the gods of the defeated peoples. It just makes no sense. Well, that's what sin is notorious for doing in the lives of people. It makes no sense. Senseless crimes, senseless sins.

Some sins, of course, they make sense according to the rules of the flesh. Others do not, even in animals. You know, if you have a dog, and you put meat up on the table, and you tell him, now don't touch it. You're crazy. Give the dog time.

He's going to go for it. It's his nature. And so he, you know, you can understand it.

You might not like it, but you understand it. One of my favorite stories I had a coworker said, his little pudgy dog, the name was Pudgy, and his wife left out all this meat that she just barbecued in this bin. They had two or three sons in their teens at the time who could just eat anything. And she goes in the house to answer the phone.

In those days, of course, we remember phones were in the house, and not everyone had to hear you talking to Pookie. But anyway, she comes back out, and all the meat is gone, and Pudgy's on his back. He can't move.

He gorged. So she's hitting him with the broom. She's so angry. You stupid dog. And he's just, go ahead.

Go ahead. Just whip away. I don't care.

It was worth it. That's the nature of the dog. But then if you take a same dog, and he viciously attacks another animal for no reason and kills it, we don't understand.

We can write it off though. That's the animal nature, but still something is really wrong there. And we're somewhat like that. Fallen nature, you know. You can understand getting upset at people on the road when they're in front of you going 10 miles lower than the speed limit on their phone, and they won't get out the way.

Tonight, phone telephones are the brunt of every comment. Anyway, Israel, you couldn't understand this. You could understand the pagans worshiping the pagan gods. You can understand them mingling Yahweh knowing it's wrong, but to just throw him away and embrace all the other ones.

This was mad. And so the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. See, I have to say it that way, because if you say Baals, you think you're out there worshiping, you know, these blocks of straw.

Hey, whatever. So they forsook the Lord and did not serve him. Again, not so much as to allow the most higher place among the idols, which in one way is good, but in another way is, it's an evil perplexity about that. And these were serious crimes that brought much sorrow and much horror into the land.

Their lifestyles changed the way they did things change. We get that a lot of that in the Minor Prophets with Micah talking about and the other prophets, the priests becoming thugs and robbing people and just the insanity that came from it. We look at a corrupt politicians and we see we link that to their view of God. The Lord had given Israel victory over their enemies. When we get to verses 11 and 12, we'll find seven different nations in their history that he defeated on their behalf. But still, here they are, worshiping a variety of different pagan gods.

Syria, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, the Philistines. Those are the gods they shopped for and those are the ones they got. Where were the leaders?

Where were the leaders to say, no, we will not do that and we will enforce the law? Had they not heard of Joshua and Eud and Gideon? They certainly had. Some churches are not different. They behave as though they never heard of Peter or Paul or John. They, of course, have.

That's the crime. They have heard of them, but they pretend that they did not by just dismissing what they had to say, by accusing them and attacking them, calling them ancient, narrow-minded and a host of other names. But look at verses 11 and 12 and we'll come back to seven in a minute. Yahweh said to the children of Israel, did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, from the Amorites, from the people of Ammon, from the Philistines? Also the Sidonians, the Amalekites, the Mayonites oppressed you and you cried out to me and I delivered you from their hand. So it was in their history. God knew it, so he brings it up.

They knew it too, just like we know, you know, about Washington and other heroes and the national heroes. They had them also, but God was directly linked to these victories and they knew it. Well, again, what foolishness to worship the gods of your defeated enemies. So no wonder God's anger was hot against them.

Verse 7, so the anger of Yahweh was hot against Israel and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon. God is not an ecumenist. God does not think that all religions are the same. He doesn't think that it doesn't matter what religion you have, just live and let live.

It is the contrary, very much so. You know, we have these intolerances as Christians that we're supposed to exercise. We are never to be tolerant of other people's gods. We have to sometimes be tolerant of the people, but never their gods. And you really cannot serve the Lord if you're hiding your Christianity because you're afraid to let other people know that you don't tolerate their gods. Why does Christianity stand out as the irritant amongst religions in the world? Because we won't tolerate other gods. You know, even Islam tolerates. You don't know that. They suppress, but they have some wacky stuff going on in there too.

If you dig a little bit, you'll find it. The Philistines that are mentioned here, this is an ominous mention of the Philistines. They really haven't been too much of a problem yet, but this is the beginning of woes for the Jews and this particular people that are still living in the Promised Land. It will heat up in the rain, not the rain, but the judgeship of Samson, and it will continue. David will finally subdue them. They still pop up a little bit after. After the Maccabees, they're really gone because they've been absorbed by the other peoples in the lands.

The Assyrians had much to do with that, and also the Babylonians and the Jews, all three of them together over time, just subduing them, subduing them until finally, as an identifiable people, they're gone. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of Judges. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. If you'd like more information about this ministry, we invite you to visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. You'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick available there, and we encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. By doing so, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app, or just follow the links at crossreferenceradio.com. That's all the time we have for today. Join us next time to continue learning more from the book of Judges, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-08 01:18:01 / 2024-01-08 01:27:26 / 9

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