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Still Disrupting Our Sinful Situations (Judges 6:1-10, NRSV & MSG) by Rev. Anthony Trufant

Feb 4, 2022 | Devotionals, Pastor's Blogs, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Still Disrupting Our Sinful Situations

Judges 6:1-10, NRSV & MSG

 NRSV:    1 The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian seven years.  2 The hand of Midian prevailed over Israel; and because of Midian the Israelites provided for themselves hiding places in the mountains, caves and strongholds. 3 For whenever the Israelites put in seed, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east would come up against them.  4  They would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the land, as far as the neighborhood of Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel, and no sheep or ox or donkey.  5  For they and their livestock would come up, and they would even bring their tents, as thick as locusts; neither they nor their camels could be counted; so they wasted the land as they came in.  6 Thus Israel was greatly impoverished because of Midian; and the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.

7  When the Israelites cried to the Lord on account of the Midianites,  8 the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites; and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of slavery;  9  and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians, and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you, and gave you their land; 10  and I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not pay reverence to the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not given heed to my voice.”

 

MSG: 1 Yet again the People of Israel went back to doing evil in God’s sight. God put them under the domination of Midian for seven years. 2 Midian overpowered Israel. Because of Midian, the People of Israel made for themselves hideouts in the mountains — caves and forts. 3 When Israel planted its crops, Midian and Amalek, the easterners, would invade them, 4 camp in their fields, and destroy their crops all the way down to Gaza. They left nothing for them to live on, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey. 5 Bringing their cattle and tents, they came in and took over, like an invasion of locusts. And their camels — past counting! They marched in and devastated the country. 6 The People of Israel, reduced to grinding poverty by Midian, cried out to God for help.7 One time when the People of Israel had cried out to God because of Midian, 8 God sent them a prophet with this message: “God, the God of Israel, says,  I delivered you from Egypt, I freed you from a life of slavery; 9 I rescued you from Egypt’s brutality and then from every oppressor; I pushed them out of your way and gave you their land. 10 “And I said to you, ‘I am God, your God. Don’t for a minute be afraid of the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living.’ But you didn’t listen to me.”

 

Gospel Music Artist and Stellar Award winner, Jonathan McReynolds, has become a fan favorite. With old-school guitar and evident falsetto, he has blazed a trail of musical hits, which won the applause of music critics and the praise of his peers. Of his very impressive string of hits, one of my favorites is entitled, with a single phrase, “Cycles.” Through “Cycles,” McReynolds helps his listeners and fellow believers understand his songs are not thinly veiled self-help anthems nor shot through with a vile, overly simplistic Christian triumphalism.  Instead, the lyrics of “Cycles” attest to McReynold’s knowledge that believers reach crucial points on their Christian journey when they are stuck in the quicksand of sin, despite their strong desire to go and grow further in their relationship with Christ and their witness before the world. He laments, for example:

 

Didn’t I conquer this last year?

Tell me what I missed because I fear

That it’s coming back up again

It must be something I ate

Some song, some show, some hate

The devil wants to extend the game, free throws

And when it ends he wants to make the sequel

‘Cause if he has another chance

He feels like he can take

My joy, my peace, my faith

See the devil, he learns from your mistakes

Even if you don’t

That’s how he keeps you in cycles, cycles

Cycles, cycles

 

McReynolds is not the first to dig up and display the ugly truth that believers can – and will at points – become stuck in the regressive gear of sin. The author of Judges 6:1-10 paints an all too familiar picture of Israel’s disobedience and distrust.  Verse 1 cites the cause of Israel’s current woes (Israel went back to doing evil in God’s sight.) and the consequences of their poor decision-making (humiliation, subjugation, hunger, etc.).  Doesn’t this sound and look very familiar when you think of where we are as a country, city, and community?  For that matter, isn’t Judges 6:1-6 indicative of the sinful situations in which we, as individual believers, become stuck? In short, these “sin cycles” continue to happen in the public square and our personal struggles.  What can be done to end our sin cycle?  The Lord anticipates and answers our question in Verses 6-10:

  1. Admit our struggle with sinful cycles reminds us of our need for a savior. In other words, we cannot save ourselves. Only God can save us.
  1. Ask God to show up and set us free from our sin cycles. (Vss. 6-7a)
  1. Anticipate God will answer our prayer, but not always when and how we expect.
  1. Await the arrival of the Savior who will disrupt our sin-cycle(s) and grant us a fresh start.

 

Main Point: God has entered into a relationship with us not because he needs subjects, but because he knows we need a savior.

 

Rest of “Cycles”:

 But I’m not going in cycles, cycles

Cycles, cycles

This will end like I want it to, I win

The enemy will have to lose again

See, I’m a different fighter now

And I have God to thank

‘Cause His joy is my strength

See the devil will learn it’s a mistake

When I am sure

That I’m not going in cycles

I’m not going in cycles

I’m gonna break these cycles

I’m not going in cycles

I’m gonna break these cycles

I’m not going in cycles

Cycles, cycles

I’m not going in cycles

Ooh, so Lord, help me

Be free from all of my past sins

See, Your love is enough

To make me new

And help me in these cycles, cycles

Help me in these cycles, ooh Lord, cycles

I need You to help me in these cycles

I rebuke him in the name of Jesus, oh

Cycles, cycles

See I’m not going in cycles

I refuse it, cycles

I refuse it, cycles

Oh, refuse it, cycles

Oh, oh, depression, cycles

Oh, all I’m saying, cycles

Oh, I’m not going in cycles

Yeah, cycles

See, there is power in the name of Jesus

There is power in the name of Jesus

See, there is power in the name of Jesus

To break every cycle, to break every cycle

See, there is power in the name of Jesus

See, there is power in the name of Jesus

There is power in the name of Jesus

To break every cycles, to break all these cycles

To break all these cycles, to break all these cycles

Generational cycles, financial cycles

Painful cycles, oh, cycles

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