Partial Obedience, Partial Victory

 In Catalyst

“In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25, NLT)

Looking for something light and fun to read by the pool this summer? Check out the Food and Drug Administration’s “Defect Levels Handbook.” It outlines allowances for problems (defects) in 100 different foods (Read Here).  What kind of defects?

  • Up to 400 insect parts are allowed per 50 grams of ground cinnamon
  • Up to 10 mg per pound of mammalian excreta (rodent poop) in cocoa beans
  • Up to 3% of canned peaches are allowed to by moldy or wormy
  • Up to 13 insect heads allowed per 100 grams of fig paste.

This week we’re starting our summer sermon series on the Old Testament book of Judges. We’ll read some great stories of heroes and God’s salvation as Israel moved into and conquered the Promised Land.

But there’s a problem. God reminds Israel of their deal: “For your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead, you were to destroy their altars. But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.”” (Judges 2:2-3, NLT)

Judges is the story of what happens when we only partially obey God. Israel destroys many pagan altars, but not all of them. Israel gets rid of many enemies, but makes a few secret treaties on the side.  This partial obedience…or disobedience…gets Israel into trouble again and again.

Here’s a question for you: Why is 11 grams of rodent poop in your chocolate not acceptable, but not 10 grams is? Why is eating 401 insect parts worse than eating 400? How many of the 10 Commandments can we disregard before we’re in trouble? What if we destroy 9 out of 10 idols…are we still holy?

These are some of the issues Israel grapples with in Judges. They discover that God wants full obedience in the same way I want NO insect heads in my Fig Newtons. I’m not OK with acceptable defect levels in my food and God’s not OK with partial obedience.

Join us Sunday for “Partial Obedience, Partial Victory.”

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