Passage – Judge 21:25
The setting of this passage: the Israelite people are now established in the promised land. Joshua, the man who was leader of the Israelite people, is now an old man. Joshua asks the people if they will follow God or start following false Gods. Will they remember what God has done for them? The people all swear they will remember what God has done and follow him. Yet they don’t. Israel slowly moves away from God because generations had past where the new generations had forgotten what God had done.
Jeff tells a story of a summer where he met a girl and fell in love. They felt it would last forever because it was true love! He explains how he was in denial about how easily it was to lose interest in a relationship. This is similar to how Israel had lost interest in God as time had marched on.
“Gino the dog” and the book of Judges
Jeff tells a story about Gino the dog, a family farm dog. Gino loved chasing cars and then one day got hit by a car. Jeff and his family got Gino to a vet and he had to then be chained to a tree to help him heal. Then Gino was afraid of cars…for a while. Gino is a great example of the Israeli people.
Judges is a book that documents a pattern of drawing close to God, then losing interest and falling away from God, and then a renewed closeness with God, and then a falling away.
Why do we “chase”?
We chase because we are created to be ruled. We are always searching for something to rule us — through relationships, entertainment, success. (This list is extensive.) Adam and Eve chased for the fruit they were not allowed.
Master and slave
God didn’t create us to be his slaves. We are designed to seek out our creator. We are designed to chase after him.
The throne of our hearts isn’t a two-seat chair.
There is only one true throne in our hearts. We can only have one true master of our hearts at a time. We can’t serve two masters. Two things can’t sit on that throne. God and “business success” can’t sit together on the throne. We have been deceived into thinking there is lots of room on the throne.
“…so everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
At some point in our lives we need to accept that God knows best. The Israelite people did what was right “in his own eyes,” and they did not lean on God for His righteousness. When our own opinions take over, we start to decide what we like about God and what we don’t accept about God. We pick and choose the level of commitment we are comfortable with. We trust ourselves more than our King. We can pick and choose commands from our King if He truly sits on the throne in our heart.
Boiling it all down
God must be on the throne of our hearts. God is wiser than we are.
About the speaker
Jeff Ingwersen is a partner at SouthRidge and has served on our board of elders. He is the husband to Christina, father of three energetic boys, as well as a small business owner. Jeff grew up on a farm and loves animals. He does have an interesting view of cats vs. dogs — dogs being the superior animal.