Problems living Godís way has plagued the people of this world since the Garden of Eden, where they allowed the devil to entice them away from obeying the Lord.
One of the major problems is that we live in a violent world where, for the most part, the people have lost or obscured their God-given empathy, so that they no longer feel the pain and suffering of most other living beings, and this lack of empathy causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
And other problems stem from the ways that most of the people go about their daily lives in this corrupt world, where news and advertising bombard us with things that have nothing to do with how God desires us to live.
Think about the fact that the Bible teaches us that there is no pain or suffering or death in heaven, and that we are to bring Godís heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven, which means that we are to eliminate from our own lives all human caused pain, suffering, and death, which unfortunately most Christians donít even do, and donít even seem to realize that their lifestyles are causing other humans and animals to suffer and die.
In Judges 4:1-7, we see that the Israelites had problems living Godís way, as did the people around them, so as we look at this passage, letís apply it to the ways we and others live today.
1. Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died.
The Israelites had been oppressed by the Moabites because they had problems living Godís way, and Ehud assassinated the king of Moab with his short sword, and defeated the Moabite army, all of which was accomplished in the corrupt ways of this world.
However, Ehud had kept most of the people living in the heavenly will of God, but not completely, for following Ehudís death, they quickly returned to living in the corrupt ways of this world.
2. And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim.
The Bible uses the term ďsold them,Ē but we believe that it is better to think about this in terms of God allowing them to fall into the hands of the Canaanites because they had problems living Godís way, so that they would once again learn to repent of their worldly ways and return to the Lord their God, as they had done before Ehud delivered them.
3. And the sons of Israel cried to the LORD; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.
In other words, they had problems living Godís way for 20 years before they came to their senses and once again repented and sought the Lord to once again deliver them.
4. Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
God chose a woman to be a judge of Israel, most likely because she was better for the job than any of the men, as we will see.
5. And she used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment.
Not only did God choose her, but the people, men and women, accepted her as the judge of Israel.
6. Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, "Behold, the LORD, the God of Israel, has commanded, 'Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun.
7. 'And I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon; and I will give him into your hand.' "
We are not told why Barak was chosen by God to deliver Israel from the hands of the Canaanites, but if you read on in the Bible, we will see that Barak was afraid to go up against the Canaanites without Deborah going along, which to us is an indication that he didnít fully believe Deborah and because he had problems living Godís way.
Deborah was spiritually stronger than the men of Israel.
Letís now take a look at Psalm 123:1-4, because it speaks about those who had problems living Godís wayÖ
1. To Thee I lift up my eyes,
O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens!
The psalmist sure seems to be trying to live in the heavenly will of God, for he is turning to God with what is troubling him.
2. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress;
So our eyes look to the LORD our God,
Until He shall be gracious to us.
The psalmist is saying that he and other Godly people are looking to the Lord in a submissive manner waiting for Him and no one else to help them, for they know that He is the only one who can help them.
3. Be gracious to us, O LORD, be gracious to us;
For we are greatly filled with contempt.
The contempt of others who are worldly and who have turned away from the Lord their God has come upon them.
4. Our soul is greatly filled
With the scoffing of those who are at ease,
And with the contempt of the proud.
The people who had been scoffing and ridiculing them, seemed to be beyond having problems living Godís way, for they were mocking those who were living Godís way, which is the way of the devil and his minions.
This same problem exists today; as an example, we know that returning to eating a whole plant food diet like we were instructed in Eden not only gives us better health, but saves the animals from human exploitation, and helps protect the environment; it also feeds the hungry people of this world, because it take about three or more times the grain to feed animals to produce ďfoodĒ for human consumption than it does to feed humans directly.
And because we are vegans, we are also scoffed at by many people.
To us this shows that most people have problems living Godís way.
Letís think about people having problems living Godís way as we look at Jesusí parable in Matthew 25:14-30Ö
14. "For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves, and entrusted his possessions to them.
We find it very interesting that the Bible uses the term ďslave,Ē for we think about slaves being forced to do something that they donít want to do, and to live on minimal food with inadequate housing, but here the relationship of trust seems to be more like an employer with trusted employees.
15. "And to one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.
In order to better understand this, perhaps we should add to their abilities, how much they were trusted, and from our standpoint how strong our faith is in God.
16. "Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.
17. "In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.
18. "But he who received the one talent went away and dug in the ground, and hid his master's money.
In other words, this servant didnít do anything to use what was entrusted to him to gain anything for the man.
This is like people who have problems living Godís way, for while they still have the truth within them, as most church goers do, they do nothing to be witnesses to Godís heavenly will here on earth as it is in heaven, thus not making any positive changes.
19. "Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.
To us, this seems like the way God will look upon us when we come before His judgement seat.
20. "And the one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me; see, I have gained five more talents.'
This is like using the things God entrusts to us to bring about more active believers and/or protecting His creation from harm, which requires us to convince others to stop their contributing to the corruption of the earth.
21. "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.'
In other words, he is worthy of being in heaven.
22. "The one also who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted to me two talents; see, I have gained two more talents.'
Not everyone is as proficient in ways of serving God, but at least this servant did as much as he or she was able.
23. "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'
Likewise this servant is worthy of being in heaven.
24. "And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed.
25. 'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground; see, you have what is yours.'
This is like most Christians, who have problems living Godís way, for they hide away the truths of God, and go about living in the ways of this corrupt world.
26. "But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I scattered no seed.
27. 'Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
28. 'Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.'
This is what we are afraid will happen with most Christians.
29. "For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.
30. "And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This is exactly like the virgins who had no oil in their lamps, or lacked the Holy Spirit within them to light the way in the darkened world, and who cried ďLord, Lord,Ē and the Lord replied, ďI never knew youĒ.
Think also about what Jesus said to the religious leaders in Matthew 23:15Ö
15. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
There are many Christians who go about evangelizing, and bringing them to believe in Jesus, but at the same time they are showing them that it is okay to live in many of the corrupt ways of this world; in essence, they are showing them that they can have two masters: Jesus and the devil, and nothing is further from the truth, for the Bible teaches us that we can have only one master.
If we say we are Christians, then we had better live as Jesus lived, and not mix it into the violent and corrupt ways of the devil in this world, then we are living as the Lord wants us to live.
Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites because while they knew the truth, they lived in the violent and corrupt ways of this world, and we should not be like them.
The scribes and Pharisees had problems living Godís way.
We should want to live Godís way and protect the whole of His creation in the process.
Return to: Sermons Archive