Judges 02: The vicious cycle of sin

Judges 2:6-3:6

Judges 2:11-17 – 11 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. 14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. 15 Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress. 16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so.


Does anyone like to watch movie trailers? I love watching movie trailers. Whenever I go to the cinema to watch a movie, I want to be there on time to watch the trailers. So, if the movie starts at 5, I want to be sitting inside the cinema at 5. It irritates me when I go watch a movie with friends and they say, “The movie doesn’t actually start until 5:20. We still have time to get snacks and be there by 5:15.” I’m like, “No, no, no. Don’t do that. We can’t miss the trailers. It is part of the package. We paid for it.” Just out of curiosity, how many of you are more like me that you do not want to miss the trailers? How many of you are more like my friends? You need to repent. It is a sin to miss trailers. Judges chapters 1 and 2 are like the trailers to the whole book of Judges. Especially the part that we are in today. And they are important because reading Judges can be very confusing. We have so many different characters and storylines which makes it easy for us to lose focus on what’s actually happening. So, this section of the book gives us a necessary preview for understanding what is happening in the book of Judges. It gives us a broad outline of the story without any spoilers.

So, Judges chapters 1 and 2 are introductions to the book. The first introduction, the sermon last week, gives us an overview of the book from Israel’s point of view. The second introduction, the sermon this week, gives us an overview of the book from God’s point of view. It gives us a survey of the spiritual condition of Israel and what God is doing in the period of Judges. But let’s be clear about what we mean by judges. When we talk about judges, we are not talking about someone wearing a robe with a gavel in hand, sitting behind a bench, and making a judicial decision. Judges are people whom God used to save and deliver His people from the oppression of the enemy. They are the people God raised to lead Israel out of the mess they were in. So, the role of judges is more like military heroes than law enforcers.

And if we want to see a clear picture of human depravity, the book of Judges is the book to go to. In this book, we see a cyclical pattern of sin that is repeated again and again. And we can see the same cyclical patterns repeated throughout the history of humankind. Which makes the book of Judges extremely relevant to us. Because in their struggles, we see our struggles. So, let me give you the summary of my sermon in two sentences. The cycle of sin that we see in the book of Judges is the same cycle in our lives. And the hope in the book of Judges is the same hope we need in our struggle with sins.

So, let’s get into the text. Three things we will look at from this text: The transition; The cycle; The judgement.

The transition

Judges 2:6-11 – When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. 10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. 11 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.

Just like the first introduction, the second introduction begins with Joshua. Joshua was the man who led Israel into the Promised Land. He was a great military leader and he led them by example. He was the greatest man of his generation. And throughout the life of Joshua, the people of Israel served the Lord. They had witnessed how the Lord is faithful to lead them into the Promised Land. They had seen the wall of Jericho crumble before their eyes. They had seen how Joshua says, “Sun, stand still” and the sun stops and does not set for a whole day. They had seen all the great work that the Lord has done for Israel, and they served the Lord. But although Israel is already in the Promised Land, the conquest is not yet complete. There are still many areas in the land that need to be conquered. And then Joshua died. But there were still elders who had seen all that the Lord has done, and the people of Israel were still serving the Lord throughout the elders’ lifetime. But eventually, everyone in that generation died. And then arise another generation who does not know the Lord or the work that He had done for Israel.

This is the beginning of the problem. If the first generation in the Promised Land loved and obeyed the Lord, the second generation does not know the Lord and His work. Now, by not knowing, it does not mean they do not know about the Lord. They must have heard about the Lord and His mighty work from their parents. But the word “know” is the Hebrew word “yada” which means intimate knowledge. So, they know about the Lord, but they do not acknowledge the Lord and His work. In other words, God is no longer someone precious to them. He is just a theory. And as a result, they do what is evil in the eyes of God and serve other gods. So, in one generation, we go from a people who loved God to a generation who does not care about God at all.

And this is a danger that every generation of Christians faces. One generation can be on fire and passionate for God. The next generation may care nothing for God. It does not mean the second generation is not in the church. They might very well be in the church right now. They are in the church, but they have no love for God. They are simply church attendees and not lovers of God. So, here is a warning for those of you who grew up in a Christian family. You can’t live off your parents’ faith. You must have your own faith in God. You must know God for yourself. Otherwise, you might be in church every week, but you are not a Christian. You are not saved. My fear is that there are some of you in the church today that do not know God for yourself. Church is simply something you do every Sunday because of your parents, or because of how you were raised. And that’s not going to work. Unless you know God intimately for yourself, it is only a matter of time before you serve other gods. You are responsible to have your own faith in God. But it does not mean that the previous generation has no responsibility.

Here is a question that I want us to consider. Who is responsible when the children failed to worship the God of their parents? This is not an easy question because it is always impossible to lay the blame wholly on one generation. Did the first generation fail to teach the truth, or did the second generation just harden their hearts? The answer is usually both. But let me speak to the parents now. Christian parents, there is a special anxiety for you because you believe that faith in God has eternal significance. You want your children to put their faith in Jesus. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your children reject Christianity and walk away from the faith. Because you understand the consequence of it is eternal. That’s why you are very anxious about your children’s salvation. I get that. And I am not trying to add more burden to your anxious heart. But it is also my role as your pastor to speak the truth to you.

Christian parents, hear me. God has entrusted you with the responsibility of passing down your faith to your children. How do you do that? A few ways. First, you must love God with all your heart. You can’t expect your children to love God if you yourself do not love God. You can’t tell them that faith in God is the most important thing when they see that faith in God is not important to you. It is hypocrisy. And your children are very sensitive to it. If there is any inconsistency between what you say and what you do, they know. You can’t fake it to your children. So, if you say faith in God is the most important thing but you prioritize private lessons and birthday parties over the church, they know. If you say faith is important but you prioritize work and leisure over the church, they know. They can smell your inconsistency in a heartbeat. They are not dumb. They are watching you 24/7. And if faith in God is not important to you, then why should it be important to them?

Second, you must teach the truth to your children. I’ve said this a lot, but it is worth repeating. Parents, the responsibility to teach the truth to your children does not lie on the shoulder of Sunday School teachers. It is your God-given responsibility to teach your children the truth. You are the one who needs to teach them what the Christian faith is and what the Christian life looks like. And by that, I do not simply mean teaching them the right Christian doctrines. Teaching them the right Christian doctrines is a must. So, yes, you must be planted in a church that teaches sound doctrine. It is unnegotiable. But it’s not enough. You also need to teach them how these truths relate to their daily life. Teach them how the Bible influences their decision-making and their values. Teach them how the Bible shapes them as male or female.

Third, you must model real faith to your children. It means you share with them your personal experience of God. Your children do not need to see the perfect Christian you. They need to see the real you. Share with them your struggles to obey God. Show them what repentance looks like in your life. Be transparent about it. Your children need to see your personal walk with God. One of the most common mistakes Christian parents make is to think that as long as the children are instructed in the right doctrines, as long as they are sheltered from the wrong crowds, as long as they are coming to church every week, then the job is done. You have done all you can. But your children need more than that. Your children need to see you model real faith to them. They need to see you relying on God’s grace in your daily life. They need to see how you are weak, but God’s power is perfected in your weakness.

So, parents, discipling your children is a very serious responsibility. You must never take it lightly. However, we must be very slow about drawing a direct connection between the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of parents in discipling their children and the salvation of their adult children. Parents doing all the right things do not guarantee the children’s salvation. Because salvation is of the Lord. Everyone is saved by grace, not by parental discipline. So, parents, hear this. Do your best to nurture your children in the fear of God but do not trust your parenting skills for their salvation. Put your trust in the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of your children as you faithfully disciple them. At the end of the day, God is the only one who can save them, and your children are personally responsible before God for their decision. It’s not on you. However, when a whole generation turns away, we have to expect that the parents have failed to model real faith to their children. And this is what we see in the book of Judges.

The cycle

What happens next is we see the cycle that will be repeated throughout the book of Judges. Let’s call this “the Judges cycle.” This is the cycle: Rebellion – Oppression – Distress – Rescue. This cycle is repeated seven times in the book of Judges. Let’s look at them one by one.

Firstly, rebellion. Judges 2:12-13 – 12 And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So, what happens is the people of Israel abandoned the Lord and worship the gods of the Canaanites, especially the Baals and the Ashtaroth. If you remember our sermon from last week, Israel was supposed to drive all Canaanites out of their territory. But they did not. They compromised and they live alongside Canaanites. And they not only live alongside them, but they also intermarry with them. As the result, the people of Israel are introduced to the gods of Canaanites. They start to worship other gods and abandon the one true God. The Lord has told them that they must have no other god but Him. But now Israel wants other gods as well. Israel betrays their covenant with the Lord. It’s not that they abandon the Lord altogether. They still worship the Lord, but they also want other gods. So, what ends up happening throughout the book of Judges is the Israelites combine the worship of the Lord with other gods. It is a mix-and-match religion in which they can choose their gods for themselves.

What’s the lesson here? There are many Christians today who confess with their mouth that the Lord is God but worship idols with their life. And by idols, I do not only mean bowing down to statues of other gods. Idols can also mean anything we love more than God. And most of the time they are not a bad thing. Idols are a good thing that we turn into a god thing. Let me give you an example. One of the most common idols in our days is success. Success is a good thing. God created us with the ability to work and thrive. But then what happens is we turn success into an idol. We are driven by success, and we are willing to pay whatever the price for us to become successful. We still go to church. But we are simply using God to become successful. And if we don’t get the success we want, we are devastated. Success has become our idol. And the point is, we either follow the Lord or follow our idols. Choose one over the other. The mix-and-match thing does not work. God demanded to be our only God or nothing at all. Listen to what Tim Keller writes. “The greatest danger, because it is such a subtle temptation which enables us to continue as church members and feel that nothing is wrong, is not that we become atheists, but that we ask God to co-exist with idols in our hearts.”

Let me say it another way. The greatest danger for many Christians is that God is simply a Sunday hobby. So, we dress nice every Sunday and put on the church face and meet lots of church people and pretend that everything is okay. Then we come and sing about how God loves us and we love God despite knowing in our hearts that we don’t. We know the church’s rhythm. We know when to lift our hands and when to stand for the reading of the Scriptures. Then we listen to me yell at us about how sinful we are and the good news of the gospel that calls us to repentance. So, we kind of feel guilty, and we say sorry to God. We empty our sin bucket for the week, we transfer money to the church’s account to make God happy, we feel better about ourselves, and we go home and continue to serve our idols as before. We refill our sin bucket for another week, only to empty it again the next Sunday. What a terrible hobby. It’s a waste of time. It’s not going to work. Look at what happens next.

Secondly, oppression. Judges 2:14-15 – 14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. 15 Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress. Can you see why it does not work? When we try to serve both God and our idols, God is angry at us. He won’t let us have it. And these two verses are hard to chew. Because the one who gives up Israel to the hand of their enemies is none other than God Himself. Do you see it? God is the one responsible for the misery of His people. God has told them and sworn to them that if they break their covenant with Him, there would be consequences. And God is true to His word. When Israel worships other gods, God is angry. He orchestrated their oppression. And Israel is powerless before their enemies. Whenever they try to fight back, they lose. And it is not because their enemies are too strong; It is because the hand of the Lord is against them for harm. The shocking reality for Israel is that their real enemy is the Lord Himself.

Now, it may sound like really bad news at first. But let me tell you why this is good news. Because God’s hot anger toward Israel’s unfaithfulness shows God’s passionate love for Israel. God is a jealous God. That is why He won’t tolerate Israel worshipping other gods. Jealousy is the flip side of love. Married couples, you understand this right? Husbands, let’s say your wife is having an affair with another man. And you have been a very good husband to her. You love her, you care for her, you cherish her, you are attentive to her, but she still has an affair. What would you do? Would you say, “Well, that’s life. You win some and you lose some. There is nothing I can do. I’ll just pretend nothing happen.” If that’s what you do, you do not love your wife. Because if you love your wife, you would be upset. You would be jealous. You would be angry. Am I right? Jealousy is the flip side of love. And the God of Israel is the God who loves His people passionately. This is why He is jealous for their hearts. He wants their hearts for Himself. And it is His love that leads Him to pursue Israel in holy anger. God’s anger is not opposed to love; it is the expression of it. When His people forsake Him, God pursues them in His anger. It is because God loves His people and cares about His relationship with them, that He responds with holy anger when they turn from Him and worship other gods.

Thirdly, distress. Judges 2:15b,18 – And they were in terrible distress… For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. The result of God’s hand against them is they are in terrible distress. And they groan because of it. Note carefully. The people of Israel are not repenting. Sometimes they do, but most of the time they don’t. But what they do is they are groaning. They are groaning because of the oppression of their enemies. And here is what’s amazing. God is moved to pity by their misery. Despite His people’s unfaithfulness, God continues to have compassion for His people. They are not even repenting, and God’s heart is moved by the misery of His people. He can’t stand to see His people crushed, even if it is because of the consequence of their sins.

Fourthly, rescue. Judges 2:16-18 – 16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. We can’t invent the God of the Bible. On one hand, God is burned with anger against His people because of their idolatry. On the other hand, God is filled with compassion toward His people. So, God raises judges to save Israel from their enemy. Despite their unfaithfulness, God saves His people. Notice what’s happening. The same hand that is against His people is the same hand that is for His people. The One who gave up His people to their enemy is the One who saved His people from their enemy. The God who punishes people for their sins is the God who saves people from their sins. And God does it because of His divine mercy alone. There is not a hint of repentance from Israel. Dale Ralph Davies puts it this way. “Here is the fundamental miracle of the Bible: that the God who rightly casts us down to the ground should – without reasons – stoop to lift us up.” The mercy God shows His people is undeserved. God intervenes in their misery and raises up Judges based on His compassion alone. So, what do you think happens next? Do you think Israel would be extremely grateful and worship God alone and live happily ever after with God? Hardly.

Fifth, rebellion. Judges 2:19 – 19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. So, Israel is doing okay when the judge is alive. But whenever the judge died, they turn back to their old ways. They worship other gods again. It’s like a never-ending merry-go-round. But instead of a merry-go-round, what we have is a never-ending sin-go-round. The cycle is repeated. That means Israel never repented from their heart. They simply obey God because they have to. The moment the judge is gone, they revert to their old ways. Parents, I know some of you think that your child is an angel. But do you want to know what your child is really like? Put them in a Sunday school room without any teacher during a service. I guarantee we won’t have a service. All hell breaks loose. We discover the true nature of people when they are not bound by external constraints. But here is what’s interesting. The people of Israel not only go back to their old ways, but they become even more corrupt than before. So, what we have is not simply a circle; what we have is a downward spiral into a spiritual abyss. It gets worse and worse with every generation. We will see as Judges progresses that the rebellion becomes worse, the oppression heavier, the repentance less heartfelt, the judges more flawed, and the salvation they bring weaker. It is a reminder that no human judge is good enough to break the power of sin. The grip of sin is far stronger than we think. We need something more than a judge who dies. We need something more than external constraints. We need a judge who lives forever and can transform us from the inside out. And we will not find such a judge in the book of Judges.

So, what’s the takeaway here? We are given a choice. Which God do we want to serve? Do we want to serve the God that saves? Or do we want to serve the gods that enslave? Choose one or the other. Because the God of the Bible is a jealous God. If money is what makes you feel important, then do whatever it takes to have more money. Leave God out of the money-making equation. It’s not going to work. If sexual fulfilment is what satisfies you, then have as much sex as possible with whomever you want. Do not use God to make you have guilty conscience only to continue pursuing your sexual appetite. If people’s approval is what makes you feel valuable, then sell your soul to please people. Do whatever you must to win their approval. Don’t use God to increase your self-esteem when what you desire is others’ approval. If Baal is your god, then follow him. Don’t hold back. Go all out. Pursue sin. Some of us try to have both. We want a little bit of God and a little bit of Baal. It’s exhausting. Because we do not experience the joy of following God, and we also do not experience the full pleasure of sin. No wonder we are miserable. If this is your first time coming to this church, you might think, “Is this a church or a cult? The pastor just told me to pursue sin. Is he one of the pastors in the Netflix series, ‘A holy betrayal’?” No, I am not. I am not condoning sin. That’s not what I am saying. Yes, we are given a choice on whom we want to serve. But it comes with a warning. Whatever we serve other than the God of the Bible will enslave us. They promise much but they deliver nothing. Only the God of the Bible can save us and deliver on all His promises.

The judgement

Judges 2:20-3:4 – 20 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua. 3 Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before. These are the nations: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

So, this is God’s judgement for Israel. Because the people of Israel break their covenant with God, God will no longer drive out the Canaanites for them. It means the task will remain half-finished. Israel will have to struggle with the presence of Canaanites among them. But I also want us to see the mercy of God’s judgement. Because God is not punishing Israel without purpose. God is so sovereign over the sins of His people that He can use them for His purpose. God is using the presence of Canaanites to accomplish two things for Israel. First, to test whether they will obey God or not. Tests can be failed, but tests can also be passed. A test forces us to learn and study and prepare ourselves for it. The presence of Canaanites forces Israel to learn what it means to be God’s distinctive people and what they have to do to live out their identities as God’s chosen people. That’s the first.

The second is to teach warfare to the generation who have no battle experience. Why is it important that they learn and know war? The purpose of war is to teach dependence upon God in every situation of need. Listen. There is nothing that can kill faith like comfort. The last thing we want in our Christian life is struggle-free life. Because it will make us say, “Who is God? I do not need Him. My life is fine without Him.” Struggles keep us dependent on God. God wants His people to trust Him in every way. And this is something that every generation must learn for themselves. Do you ever wonder why God doesn’t just cure us of sin? Like, the moment we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, voila, He removes all our sinful desires. Why not do that? Why does He allow us to struggle with sins? I love John Newtown’s answer. “Spiritual growth is primarily growth in my knowledge of my need for grace. And if God uses continual struggle and sin in this life to produce that in you, it is a good thing.” God uses struggles in our lives to teach us to trust and rely on God’s grace more and more. So, it is God’s mercy to use enemies around Israel to bring them into greater dependence on God. Surrounded by idol-worshipping people, Israel would face the constant question from God, “Will you trust Me and obey Me?”

And here is Israel’s answer. Judges 3:5-6 – So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods. Israel fails to learn the lesson or pass the test. Instead of living out their identities as God’s chosen people, they become like other nations. They intermarry with them, and they serve their gods. Israel gets a straight F on their tests. And notice the contrast between the beginning and the end of the second introduction. It begins with the people serving the Lord and it ends with the people serving their gods. This is the book of Judges in a nutshell. It starts off well and it ends miserably. It is the story of Israel’s self-destruction.

But here is a question I want us to consider as I end the sermon. Why won’t God give up on Israel? Israel had their chances. Many of them. And they get straight Fs in all of them. So, why not start over? Why not choose another nation to be God’s people? Why continue to raise up judges? Here is why. Because God made a covenant with Abraham to give all the land of Canaan to his descendants. You can read the story in Genesis 15. What is a covenant? A covenant is a legally binding agreement between two-party. In ancient times, when you made a covenant with someone, you acted out the curse of breaking the covenant. So, if I am making a covenant with you, I would say, “I promise to do this and that” and you would say, “I promise to do this and that.” And then we would take animals, cut them in half, walk together between the pieces, and say, “If I don’t keep my promise, if I break our covenant, may I be cut to pieces like these animals.” We are acting out the curse. But what’s amazing about the first covenant God made with Abraham was that Abraham did not walk between the pieces. God was the only one who walked between the pieces. God was saying to Abraham, “I will keep both sides of the covenant. I will be faithful to my promise, and I will pay the price when the covenant is broken.” Do you know what it means? Israel should have paid the price for breaking their covenant with God. They should have been cut to pieces and God should have been free from the condition of the covenant. The curse of breaking the covenant with God was to be cut off from a relationship with God. But God said, “I will pay the price of your disobedience. I will take the cost of breaking the covenant. I will keep my promise and I will be faithful to you even if I must be cut for it.” This is why God won’t give up on Israel.

And the same is true for you and me. Every time we sin, we choose our idols than God. Every time we sin, we break our covenant with God. And the curse of breaking the covenant is for God to deny us. We deserved eternal condemnation for our sins. But the good news is we don’t have to be cut off from our relationship with God. Why? Because God cut Himself for us. How? Through the cross of Jesus Christ. At the cross, God the Son was cut off from his relationship with God the Father. Jesus experienced the curse of breaking God’s covenant. At the cross of Jesus Christ, the only person who lived out God’s covenant perfectly was cut off so that we who put our faith in him will never be cut off. This is the reason why God will never give up on us. This is how we can be sure that God will remain faithful to us. This is how we know that God who began the good work in us will complete it on the day of Jesus Christ. Because God Himself paid the price of breaking the covenant. So, all that’s left for us who trust in Jesus is God’s goodness and mercy that will follow us all the days of our lives. God will never ever let us go because of what Jesus has done for us. This is the gospel. And this is our hope in our struggles with sin. Let’s pray.

Discussion questions:

  1. What struck you the most from this sermon?
  2. What do you think is the greatest challenge to passing down faith from one generation to the next? Why?
  3. Look at the Judges cycle (Rebellion – Oppression – Distress – Rescue – Rebellion). What stands out the most for you and why?
  4. “We discover the true nature of people when they are not bound by external constraint.” What are some implications of this truth?
  5. Explain why struggle-free life is extremely dangerous and why struggles are God’s mercy for us. Do you have any personal examples?
  6. What is our hope in our daily struggles with sin?
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