Escalate Sermon Blog & Connection Point Questions

That Death Won't Work - Judges 16:1-31

November 19, 2012 by Matt Morgan

There is something different about the Samson narrative that causes it to stand out as unique from the narratives of the preceding judges - it's the author and narrator's recounting of Samson's death. In chapter 16 we see in some detail what led up to and what transpired at Samson's death. In the previous narratives of the judges that preceded Samson the author and narrator would only briefly and matter-of-factly mention that Israel had peace during the reign of the other judges and that those judges died. But in chapter 16 the author and narrator spends time developing and detailing Samson's death. Why? Is it really significant? And the answer is 'yes' - it's incredibly significant!

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God's Call, God's Plan, and God's Glory Moved to the Backseat - Judges 15:1-20

November 12, 2012 by Matt Morgan

Many believers in Christ love the "picture" of God ruling and reigning. But sometimes they're not so excited about the personal functionality of God's rule and reign - especially when God's rule and reign gets in the way of their own plans and their own glory. Samson should be a poster-child for one who was constantly guilty of putting his own plans before God's. But an honest look at many of our lives would reveal the same thing - we have a hard time following after God because we are too busy living for self. Chapter 15 of the OT book of Judges and the continuing narrative of Samson can both encourage us to look for THE Rescuer who would not move God's call, God's plan, or God's glory on the backseat, and also live lives ourselves where we don't move God's call, God's plan, or God's glory to the backseat.

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Who Cares About the Calling - Judges 13:25-14:20

November 5, 2012 by Matt Morgan

Have you ever been frustrated by news of someone who had taken a certain oath or been given a certain calling who did not follow through with it? The thing that I often get frustrated with is news of 'dirty cops' - police officers who seem to show no regard for their calling to "serve and protect" and who partner with mob bosses, drug lords, or gangs who are making our communities more dangerous places. How is it that people can show no regard for the callings in their lives? It's a question many of us don't understand. It's a question that is raised by the author and narrator of Judges in chapter 14 in regards to Samson and his call to be a Nazirite and a deliverer of Israel. And unfortunately it might even be a question that each of us who professes faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord ought to be asking ourselves.

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Sorry, I Didn't Recognize You - Judges 13:1-25

October 29, 2012 by Matt Morgan

What does it mean when you don't recognize someone? It probably means that they haven't played a significant part in your life, right? We don't fail to recognize our spouses or our children. We don't fail to recognize our close friends or our co-workers? The people we tend not to recognize are people we have only met once or twice or people that we have lost contact with for a substantial amount of time. It's people who haven't or aren't playing a significant part of our lives. So what does it mean when we fail to recognize God when He shows up and/or speaks into our lives? Something we'll have to consider as we examine this week's text.

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Willing to Sacrifice What? - Judges 10:17-11:40

October 22, 2012 by Matt Morgan

Would you be willing to sacrifice someone else's good name, someone else's career, or someone else's life in order to promote or maintain your own good name, your own career, or your own life? Most of us would probably respond very quickly with the answer, 'no.' But we can look all around us in our culture and find numerous examples in politics, in pop culture, and in sports of individuals who have done this very thing - sacrificed another for their own personal benefit or advancement. In this week's text the author and narrator of the book of Judges helps us to see that we need a deliverer - but not one who is only looking out for himself, one who would be willing to sacrifice himself.

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Attempts to Manipulate God's Deliverance - Judges 10:6-16

October 15, 2012 by Matt Morgan

Most people don't enjoy seasons of distress or trouble in their lives. And while it is difficult to discern or understand the reasons for some of the seasons of distress and trouble we sometimes experience, sometimes those seasons of distress and trouble are directly related to bad decisions we make. Often times when we find ourselves in those difficult seasons we do our best to get out of those situations - sometimes even seeking to manipulate the people or circumstances around us to get the outcome we want. In this week's text we'll find the Israelites experiencing a season of great difficulty and then attempting to manipulate God so that He will deliver them. The only problem is that God isn't interested in our attempts to manipulate Him - in fact He grows tired of them. Instead God is calling His people (then and now) to simply repent and follow Him.

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God Reigning Where We Might Not Expect It - Judges 9

October 8, 2012 by Matt Morgan

"Challenging" may be an understatement in regards to the text of Judges 9. What do we do with a text in which the narrative doesn't fit into the pattern of the 'deliverer' narratives that we have seen thus far, and where both God and the Israelites are almost entirely absent from the text? What do we do with a chapter dedicated to one who was not a God-appointed deliverer for the Israelite people? Can't we just skip over this chapter and move on? We could - but then again we could also wade into the narrative and prayerfully ask God to reveal Himself to us even more and teach us the significance of Judges 9. That's what I hope you'll do with us!

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Deliverer - Not King - Judges 8:4-35

October 1, 2012 by Matt Morgan

Have you ever known someone who had a tendency to let position or power go to their head? The kind of person who, when given a certain position or authority, would go beyond the position and authority they had been given by assuming even more authority and responsibility? It's not a commendable character trait is it? It's an even greater problem when it is an individual overstepping the call or position given to them by God to assume a greater position and authority than God has given to them. In this week's text we discover that this is what Gideon does and we discover that the end of his life is described in terms of complete failure. But even greater is the failure of the Israelites at the end of the text. And their failure is a failure that far more often resembles our own mistakes.

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No Time for Second Guessing When it's Time to Move Forward - Judges 6:33-8:3

September 24, 2012 by Matt Morgan

Have you ever second guessed someone else's plans or promises? If you're honest with yourself the answer is probably, 'yes.' Most of us are probably very logical thinkers who think through plans that are proposed to us or promises that are made to us. Sometimes the plans that are presented to us or the promises that are made just don't seem all that realistic. And on those occasions our tendency is to second guess those things and to try to come up with a more realistic plan that seems to make more sense in our own minds. This can be (though not always) a commendable trait in regards to our relationships with other individuals. But this is never a commendable trait when it comes to God. God calls us to obedience, even when the plans or promises He presents don't seem all that logical. This is what Christ modeled as the great Deliverer on mission with God, and this is what God desires from each of us. But this week's text gives us an example of a man who failed to do this well - and our challenge is to learn from His mistakes and to recognize that where Gideon failed as a deliverer, Jesus excelled.

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"We Interrupt the Current Program with a Special Report . . ." - Judges 6:1-32

September 10, 2012 by Matt Morgan

You may disagree with me on this, but my guess is that most news stations don't look forward to interrupting regularly scheduled programs to bring special reports. I can only imagine the kind of complaints that the news stations get from viewers upset that they missed a portion of their favorite television series or reality show. But news stations will interrupt shows to brink important (sometimes life-threatening) news to the attention of their viewers. The author of the book of Judges does something very similar to this in this week's text. He interrupts the present narrative with an interruption of incredible importance. Our challenge will be not to ignore the interruption, but to pay close attention. What the author wants the readers to hear is vitally important.

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