4 Life Changing Questions (part one)

What bothers you?

I’m not talking about what superficially bothers you like people who forget to turn off their turn signal. I’m talking about what REALLY bothers you. What bothers you on an emotional or spiritual level that’s actually going to matter in 100 years? What bothers you?

Let’s look at the story of Ehud in Judges. For those who think that the Bible is boring, irrelevant & has no cool stuff in it, you should take a look at Judges. There are some stories in Judges that you would not read to your children. Seriously, you should read the last three chapters. It’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Scripture. It’s unbelievable what happens in the last three chapters of Judges. I’ve never seen it flannel-graphed on a storyboard in Sunday school. I mean, the only story that most of us know from Judges is Samson. And we tell our kids that Samson is a hero, which is completely false because here’s a man who ran from God all his life, went to the Satanic Salon, got the haircut from hell and finally did something great for God and God killed him and everybody says, “You should be like Samson.”

Background to Judges: the Israelites got set free from the land of Egypt, they go through the desert. It takes them forty years. They make it to the Promised Land and the Bible says they begin to get comfortable. They begin to worship other gods. They begin to compromise their beliefs. So God would let Israel get oppressed by an enemy until they began to cry out to God, “We don’t like this anymore. We’ve had enough.” And so then God would send a deliverer, which they called a judge. Now when I say “judge,” I’m not talking about somebody in a black robe and they had to call him your honor. That’s not what the Bible is talking about when it talks about a judge. A judge was basically a spiritual and political leader that God would raise up to set the Israelites free, to lead them out of slavery back into freedom.

Judges 3:12, “Once again the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, and the Lord gave King Eglon of Moab control over Israel because of their evil. Eglon enlisted the Ammonites and Amalekites as allies, and then he went out and defeated Israel, taking possession of Jericho, the city of palms. And the Israelites served Eglon of Moab for 18 years.”

As Americans, most of us cannot identify with anything in this text. We’ve been attacked before. Pearl Harbor. 9/11. But nobody has ever taken over America. One reason for that is because we’ve had men and women willing to fight and die for our freedom. And we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom on Memorial Day. We thank God for them. So we don’t know what it’s like to live under the oppression of someone else for 18 years. Can you imagine an enemy nation occupying and ruling us for 18 years?

I imagine that groups of Israelites formed, saying, “They shouldn’t be here. This isn’t right. We’re God’s children. God parted the Red Sea. God’s done some amazing things for us. We should not be under this oppression.” So for 18 years they were oppressed and even though they probably prayed about it, nobody was willing to DO anything about it because nobody was really bothered. We’ve got to be bothered enough to do something.

So here’s what happened. Verse. 15, “But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, the Lord again raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Ehud son of Gera, a left-handed man of the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelites sent Ehud to deliver their tribute money to King Eglon of Moab.”

Now here’s what I believed happened. Ehud, for 18 yr.s, lived under the oppression of the enemy. For 18 years, every day, Ehud would get up, go to work, see the enemy soldiers occupying his nation, hear the laws coming from the enemy occupiers which was contradictory to what he had been taught growing up, and he was bothered by this. And he began to say to himself, “This isn’t right. We are the children of Almighty God and we are in slavery and bondage to these pagans who don’t even know him!” & he got to the point where he said, “Somebody’s got to step up and do something about it.” & God whispered to him, “Ehud, that’s you.” Maybe the reason the Israelites stayed in slavery for 18 years was because it took them that long to repent and to get bothered enough to do something about the prob.

1 of the things that we do as Christians, and I think this is totally messed up, we ask God to place us in peaceful situations. “Dear God, would you make everything peaceful in my life.” Where in the Bible does it tell the Christian to pray for peace? John 14 tells us that we have the Holy Spirit and therefore already have peace. We’re told that if we cast our cares on him he will give us peace. We need to stop asking God to give us peace and start asking God to disturb us, to break our hearts. We need to pray, “God, bother me. Disturb me. Help me see things the way you see things. Whatever bothers you Lord, may it bother me.” That’s the prayer we need to be praying. Because you will never discover what God wants you to do until you let him bother you at the deepest level.

Sometimes people ask me, “Why are you a pastor?” Because I was bothered. I was tired of seeing Christians abandon the Church, the bride of Christ. I was tired of seeing a new generation not even be introduced to God. I was tired of watching Christians GO to church instead of BE the church. That’s what bothers me. I read the book of Acts and saw how God was working and thought, why isn’t that happening today? I saw how churches were making the Bible boring. God’s not boring. Church should not be boring. I was bothered.

When you get bothered by something it’s the beginning of God’s stirring something up in you. God did not bother you for information. He’s bothering you for transformation. He’s not bothering you so you can let the church know about the problem. He’s not even bothering you so you can change the world. He’s bothering you so He can change you first. And as he’s changing you it breaks your heart for what breaks his heart, then he’s got somebody that can change the world. So what bothers you?

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