Judges 6:1-16




A study of the book of Judges reveals one verse that is repeated seven          

different times.

Seven times we read these frightening words, “And the children of Israel did

evil in the sight of the Lord.”



The children of Israel rebelled.

And each time they rebelled, they began a cycle that is repeated over and      

over again.



There are four steps in this cycle: rebellion, retribution, repentance and          


The 1st step is rebellion.



When God raises up a nation, as He did with the children of Israel and with  

the United States of America,

And that nation rebels against Him,



That nation can expect to enter into a different relationship with God.

A nation in rebellion against God does not have the right to expect His

blessings upon it.



It’s not entitled to them.

And it will not continue to receive them as it did in the past.



The 2nd step is retribution.

Some would call it chastisement or judgment.

Here are three quick examples.

Adam and Eve were told. not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of  

good and evil.



But they ate it anyway.

So they were cast out of the Garden of Eden.



And a curse was placed upon them.

Their rebellion brought on retribution.



King Saul was told to destroy all the animals of the Amlekites.

But he kept the best ones for his own herds.



The Bible says, “because he rejected the word of the Lord, God rejected him         

from being King” (I Sam. 15:26).

His rebellion brought on retribution.



An angel was leading Lot's wife out of Sodom.

The angel said, “Escape for thy life;”



“Look not behind thee.”

But she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt (Gen. 19:15-26).



Her rebellion brought on retribution.

The Bible says, “whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth” (Heb. 12:6)



It says, “Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord” (Psa. 94:12).

Many in the Church have lost the concept of God's chastening.




We often come to a fork in the road needing to go one way to receive God's


But we go another that takes us away from those blessings.



We forget that God desires to bring us back to the right road.

And that He sometimes uses chastening to do that.



The 26th chapter of Leviticus talks about God's covenant with Israel.

If the Jews would keep that covenant,



God promised to give them rain, good crops, plenty to eat, safety, victory    

over their enemies, and more.

But if they broke that covenant,



God said He would cause their crops to fail, make them sick, make them      

afraid, and worse.

He would chasten them.



He did not want to chasten them.

He wanted to bless them.



If they strayed, He wanted to bring them back before it was too late.

That is why chastening is a blessing.



It is a loving God, dealing with His people because He doesn't want to lose   


The 3rd step is repentance.



Solomon said, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of   

correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15).

The rod of correction will drive rebellion out of a child.

And it will do wonders to drive sin out of a nation.

That is what God does.



He uses retribution to cause repentance.

The 4th step is restoration.



The Psalmist said, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord     

delivereth him out of them all” (34:19).

“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life; Weeping may        

endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (30:5).



Just as sure as a nation rebels against God it will come under the retribution  

of God.

And just as sure as that nation repents it will be restored.



This cycle is quite evident in the Scriptures.

Concerning the children of Israel, they lived in peace for 40 years.



God blessed them.

They prospered.



Then, the children of Israel took the first step.

They did evil in the sight of the Lord.



They turned from God.

They turned to false gods.



This was rebellion.

And this rebellion got so bad that it brought on the second step.



God took away their blessings.

He removed their protection.



They came under attack.

It was terrorism the old fashioned way.



When the Israelites planted their seeds the Midianites destroyed their crops.

 They stole their food.



They killed their animals.

Many Israelites were captured.



Many were forced into slavery.

Many were forced to worship pagan gods.



Many were forced to hide in dens and caves in the mountains.

What a disgusting sight this must have been.



God's chosen people---living in fear and poverty.

God's chosen people---living in dens and caves in the mountains.



God's chosen people---people called of God to be a peculiar treasure;

People called of God to be a nation of priests, pure, strong, holy and in        

communion with Him.



Now, broken, destitute, dirty and weak.

But this retribution didn't come until they broke the covenant they made to    

obey God.




And to keep His Commandments.

It didn't come until they put other things before God.



The retribution was really bad.

But good came from it.



It brought on the third step.

The people began to cry out to God.



The retribution brought on repentance.

And even though they rebelled,



Even though they rebelled over and over again,

God heard their cries.



“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to       

cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

God forgave their sins.



And that brought on the fourth step: restoration.

The Angel of the Lord appeared unto a man named Gideon.



The angel told Gideon that God wanted to use him to save the children of     


Gideon was not a great leader.



He was a poor farmer;

A man who hid his food.




But he was also a man who remained faithful to God;

A man who was willing to be led by God.



He did seven things:

First, Gideon built an altar to God.



Second, he used an ox to pull down the altar of Baal.

Third, he cut down the wooden statue of Asherah.



Fourth, he built a second altar to God on the very spot where the wooden     

statue of Asherah stood.

Fifth, he took the ox that pulled down the wooden statue of Asherah and slew        

it for a sacrifice to God.



Sixth, he cut the wooden statue of Asherah into pieces and used the pieces to         

burn his sacrifice to God.

Seventh, he organized a 32,000 man army.



And prepared to go up against 135,000 Midianites.

But God told him his army was too big.



So he reduced his army to 10,000 men.

But God said, “the people are yet too many.”



So he reduced his army to just 300 men.

What a compliment to God!



Gideon and his 300 men would fight 135,000 Midianites.

They would be outnumbered by over 400 to 1.



Would you take on those odds?

Over 400 to 1.



A victory would seem impossible.

But that is just what God wanted.



Because if the children of Israel won the battle, everyone would give God the         


And that is just what happened.



Israel won.

The nation was restored.



And God received the glory.

It doesn't take much, if God is on our side.



But we never have enough, if God is against us.

Great weapons or overwhelming odds are not the key to victory in America's          

War on Terrorism.



God is.

He can take just a few faithful people and accomplish great things.



And He can bring powerful nations down.

So Israel was restored.



And the nation went through another period of peace and prosperity before it         

rebelled again.

Then, the cycle started all over.



Let's bring it home.

America is said to be a nation under God.



God raised up America.

We have a Christian heritage.



Most of this country was Christian at one time.

Our ancestors were men and women of faith and character.



They believed in God.

They struggled through the rugged mountains to establish settlements in this  




They worked for honest government.

They built churches;



Taught Sunday School;

Learned prayers and hymns;



Taught these things to their children;

Kept Sunday as a day of rest and worship;



Brought in circuit riding preachers for services, funerals, marriages and         


They held camp meetings and revivals.



Thanksgiving and Christmas were holy days.

Their faith and character affected the way they lived,




What they said,

How they raised their children,



How they treated people,

What they wore,



What they drank, etc.

They didn't just talk the talk.



They also walked the walk.

But things have changed.



And just like the nation of Israel, America stands on this cycle of rebellion,    

retribution, repentance and restoration.

Many American citizens are doing evil in the sight of God.



Christians are being told not to read the Bible at school;

Not to pray at school;



Not to say the Pledge of Allegiance at school;

Not to post the Ten Commandments at school;



Not to set up religious displays on public property.

The Church is growing lukewarm.



People are not attending.

False doctrines are flourishing.



Compromise is accepted under the guise of “inclusiveness.”

Immorality is accepted under the guise of “tolerance.”

Drunkenness and drug abuse are exploding.

Robbery, rape, and murder are doing the same.



Abortion, astrology and occultism are widespread.

Pornography is on television.



Psychics are on television.

The family is under attack and disintegrating.



Divorce is widespread.

Parents are mistreating children.



And children are killing parents.

Government officials are lying.



Large corporations are swindling their investors.

This is not our heritage.



It’s a state of rebellion.

We are wrong to think that we cannot cross a line with God;



Wrong to think that our rebellion can reach no limit;

That our rebellion can provoke no retribution, wrath or judgment.



Our nation needs to repent.

Christians need to speak out against character lapses;



Against moral awfulness;

Against religious apostasy;


Against corporate corruption.

Against the politically correct “forms of godliness” that ignore the God of all          




Repentance will protect us against anthrax, smallpox, dirty bombs and all      

forms of terrorism.

Repentance will stabilize the stock market, produce good crops, peace and   




And we won’t need gimmicks like the lottery to finance our schools.

Repentance paves the way for restoration.



But let’s not deceive ourselves.

Repentance always comes before restoration.



And if there is no repentance,

There will be no restoration.



Do you hear me?

If there is no repentance, the retribution goes all the way to destruction.



In short, when a nation is under retribution, repentance is the key that unlocks         

the blessings of God.

And the greatest responsibility falls upon the Church.



God said, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble   

themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked    

ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will   

heal their land” (II Chron. 7:14).