What Makes Nations Work
Lessons from Shamgar • April 22, 2021 • Benham Brothers
Judges 3:31 - Marketplace Ministry * Our primary form of worship is work. * This is why excellence in the workplace is so important. * The workplace consists of both for-profit and nonprofit models. * People call the for-profit space the “Marketplace.” * They call the non-profit space the “Ministry.” * This is wrong, but it is what it is. * ** God often uses the marketplace as the training ground for His leaders. * Look at Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David - all shepherds. * Look at Elisha, Amos, Gideon - all farmers. * Look at Joseph, Daniel, Obadiah - all employed by kings. * Look at the disciples and Jesus Himself - all trained in the workplace. * God uses the marketplace to winnow and wield strong men and women. * The marketplace judges by ACTION, not INTENTION. * ** So when it came time to find a leader for Israel, God tapped a farmer on the shoulder. * Vs 31 - After Ehud, Shamgar used the tool of his business to fight God’s battles. * He struck down 600 Philistines over time. * His way of life included work, worship, and warfare! (Sword and Trowel - Nehemiah) * The same thing happened years later when Israel was about to go into battle. * Joel 3:10 - "turn your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears" * The tools of their sustainability would now be used as weapons for their deliverance. * 100 years later……in a time of peace: * Micah 4:3 - "turn your swords into plowshares and your spears into pruning hooks" * The weapons of their deliverance would now be used as tools for their sustainability. * This is why your work is so important. God has made it to be your primary form of worship. * Judges 6:11 - God shows up when you do common work in an uncommon way. * Judges 6:12 - Your work prepares you for warfare. * EX: Love Life.
Government Gone Bad
How environment can make a break a wealth creator • August 16, 2018 • Benham Brothers
* This verse shows the importance of good government. * A hardworking productive person can have their stuff taken away by a bad government. * The role of government is to praise the good and punish the wicked. * They do this so that we can have an environment that allows us to flourish. * As Christians we need to concern ourselves with discipling nations, not just people. * This means we have to be involved in shaping our environment so people can flourish. * Example - if you started a business in America you can make a lot of money. * But if you started the same business in North Korea there’s no chance.
God the Governor
How God gives us authority to govern • January 7, 2016 • Benham Brothers
• God forms and fills everything for man to govern the world we live in. • The world needed order first - then we could have dominion. • LIGHT has to come first - this is God’s presence. • Light did two things: • 1) SEPARATION - Holy means “set apart” - like a chocolate chip. • 2) GOVERN - the sun, moon, and stars are used to govern. • vs 22 - The first blessing - taking part in creation. • vs 28 - The difference in this blessing is that we have the authority to govern.
Justice and Covenant
How abusing the covenant leads to injustice • January 18, 2018 • Benham Brothers
* Gross sin demands justice. * Jacob’s sons were justified in their anger - justice needed to be served. * But they went about it in the wrong way. * When injustice happens we can rely on God or man. * You can go through God’s channel of justice or take matters into your own hands. * Jacob’s sons did the latter and it ended up badly for everyone. * The same is happening today - young kids demand justice but they’re going about it the wrong way. * They aren’t interested in justice according to God, but their own idea of what’s right. * So they’re looting cities and tearing down monuments. * vs 15-17 - ** when you are bent on your own form of justice it leads to the greatest injustice ** * Jacob’s sons used the sign of God’s covenant to kill innocent people. * Circumcision was God’s sign of peace with the Israelites, but it was now used selfishly to bully others. * Think about today - what’s the rainbow? * A sign of God’s covenant (peace with mankind). * How is it being used? To bully people. * God’s special covenant is being used wrongfully because of a cry for justice. * A cry for justice can only be quenched by a God who is just.
The Foundation for Civil Government
What God's command to Noah shows us about government • January 10, 2019 • Benham Brothers
* God had just given Noah instructions that he could eat animals, but he gave rules regarding it (don’t eat with the blood - vs 3-6). * God gave him rules on personal government before civil government. * One of the first blessings God gave to man was to involve him in the process of bringing life into the world. * After God reset the world by the Flood, God involved man in the process of removing life from the world. * Why? * So that people would honor life (murder was rampant before the flood). * Killing a human was a denial of the image of God and did violence to God Himself. * How would they remove life? * Through civil government. * Government is made for the orderly conduct of man in a fallen world. * It’s role is to punish those who do evil and praise those who do good (1 Peter 2:14). * Why government? To protect life. * God initiated government with a man who had a righteous heart (Proverbs 29:2). * It was Noah’s responsibility to pass government down so everyone would know it’s role. * Personal government is the foundation for civil government. * Moses simply codified civil government.
Sheep and Goat Nations
What is the difference between the two? • January 26, 2017 • Benham Brothers
* Here in this verse Jacob blesses the king of Egypt. * Hundreds of years later in the book of Exodus we see Moses essentially cursing Pharaoh. * What was the difference? * Matthew 25:32-33 - “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” * Individually, a sheep is a believer and a goat is a non-believer. * But what makes a sheep nation or goat nation? * The way they treat the people of God. * In Jacob’s time Pharaoh and the Egyptians were favorable toward God’s people - this put them in the position to receive God’s blessing. * In Moses’ time Pharaoh and the Egyptians treated God’s people poorly - this put them in the path of God’s curse. * America has gone from a sheep nation to a goat nation, but change is in the air!
How Justice is Perverted
Two ways to rob people of justice • February 27, 2016 • Benham Brothers
• True justice stands outside our emotions. • Our hearts naturally gravitate toward certain people at certain times. • If we give in to our emotions then justice will be perverted. • To "pervert" something means that it's not being used according to it's original intention. • Sex - you can still have it with a same sex partner, but that's not its original intent - it's perverted. • The original intent of justice is to keep people moving toward God - but you can only do that by OBEDIENCE to His Law. • The only way to do this is to look at the sin and not the sinner. • If you look at the sinner you'll make the wrong decision. • Justice is perverted when: • 1) You show favoritism to the poor. • 2) You show favoritism to the rich. • The word "fairness" is used a lot when justice is perverted. • Justice is meant to lead people to God so that He can have mercy! • This is how mercy triumphs over justice. • But if justice is perverted then everyone will miss God's mercy.
A look at an early activist and how God dealt with him • March 9, 2017 • Benham Brothers
* Korah was a community organizer. * Community organizers blame leaders for everything and are always looking for systemic change. * Community organizer’s are experts at playing on peoples’ fears. * The only way a person can be under the control of a community organizer is when they fear man more than God. * The devil is one who never lets a good crisis go to waste. * The punishment of Korah was that he lost his life along with his entire family. * You can always recognize a CO when a crisis occurs - what are they crying for? * They’re always crying against leaders, for external change, but never toward individuals for internal change.
A Blessed Nation
How can we gain God's favor as a nation? • February 28, 2017 • Benham Brothers
* Psalms 33:12 - “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” * God blesses people individually when He blesses nations corporately. * If a nation makes God its Lord, the citizens will be blessed. * In America, look how many other religions can exist here in freedom because we were established as one nation under God. * What does it mean for a nation to make God Lord? * It means to operate under His authority. * America is “one nation under God.” * The founders put us under God’s authority - He gave us rights and the govt protects those rights. * This leads to freedom for everyone - even those who hate God.
Blessings and Curses
Lessons from George Washington • March 23, 2017 • Benham Brothers
* vs 1 - George Washington had the Bible open to this chapter when he placed his hand on it to be sworn in as our first president. * God is an “if / then” God - we have a part to play. * Whether we experience the blessings or curses is our choice. * vs 15 - God’s love is unconditional, but His favor is conditioned on our obedience. * He wants to shower us with blessings, but it’s our choice. * vs 20 & 63 - God Himself becomes our enemy. * I tell my kids I can be their best friend or their enemy, it depends on them. * vs 47-48 - Obedience requires more than just doing the right thing - you have to do it with the right heart. * vs 64-67 - Moses ends with a small list of things they would experience if they didn’t obey the Lord: * 1) They would constantly be out of place (vs 64) - never feeling “at home” anywhere. * 2) They’ll worship the wrong gods (vs 64) - other gods will replace the true God. * 3) They would have no rest (vs 65) - constantly be striving, exhausted in every way. * 4) They would be anxious (vs 65) - constantly stressed-out about everything. * 5) They would be filled with want (vs 65) - wanting stuff would be their way of life. * 6) They would be void of hope (vs 65) - always feeling hopeless. * 7) They would be fearful (vs 66) - always wondering what was going to happen and afraid of the results. * 8) They would lack certainty (vs 66) - never sure of themselves, always questioning. * 9) They would lack contentment (vs 67) - never satisfied with where they are or what they have.
Church and State
The role of the church in the nation • July 14, 2016 • Benham Brothers
• King Artaxerxes of Persia gave tax exempt status to the Levites thousands of years ago! • He saw such value in “the church” and Ezra its representative that he gave him authority to appoint all the governing officials in Israel. • That would be like the president asking Franklin Graham to appoint the congress and supreme court. • The church was valuable and the government of Persia recognized it as such. • The Bible was the most quoted source by the founding fathers at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. • They saw the church playing a valuable role in society and in the development of a new nation. • Why? Because their new form of civil gov was based on self gov - the church was the one who would teach people to properly govern themselves. • In the preamble - “promote the general welfare” - people were to “provide” their own welfare and the church helped them do it. • States started passing tax-exempt status’s for churches, and they were using the extra $$ to build hospitals, schools, community centers, and to help the poor, etc. • But the church started using $$ to build big buildings for itself, government took over - it now “provides” welfare. • We need the church to be more valuable to society once again.
Three things we must do when a nation has sinned • July 14, 2016 • Benham Brothers
• The Jews had intermarried with the other nations, which was direct disobedience to God. • When Ezra found out about it he called for public repentance. • Why? Because it was a sin taking place in his nation and it wasn’t being dealt with - it was seen as “ok” in the culture. • Nehemiah 1:4-7 - the walls were broken down and Jewish culture was a disaster. • He saw the condition of Jerusalem as God’s punishment for the nation of Israel. • Nehemiah and Ezra prayed, “our sins….” they recognized there are two sins that require repentance - personal sin and national sin. • How do you know it’s national sin? When what God calls sin is tolerated and/or celebrated. • God deals with national sin by national punishment - enemies rule over us, justice trampled in the streets, bloodshed follows bloodshed, violence of unprecedented order, etc. • We need to do three things: • 1) Repent personally. • 2) Repent as a nation - starts in the house of God. • 3) Tear down the high places - the things that are abominations to God.
The Importance of History
A look into why and how to keep our nation blessed • July 21, 2016 • Benham Brothers
• This entire Psalm gives us a picture of the importance of knowing our history. • History is “HIS” story - it’s all about seeing God’s hands working in the world. • vs 1-8 show the importance of remembering your history, vs 9-11 shows what happens if you don’t. • If you forget you won’t fight. • Two things have to happen before a new worldview can overtake the existing one: • 1) Words have to be redefined. • 2) History has to be re-written - this is happening in America. • With history, you have to remember the good (vs 12-16) AND the bad (vs 17-22). • Remembering the good inspires you to act courageously and reminds you of God’s greatness. • Remembering the bad keeps you humble and reminds you of God’s mercy. • It would be wrong to judge an adult on the basis of what they did when they were 12. • We need to be like the men of Issachar, not the men of Ephraim. • Both of them had history, but only one of them could see God’s hand in it.
A message for our nation today • September 29, 2016 • Benham Brothers
• These three verses are exactly what America needs to hear today. • It’s getting so dark, but God is telling us to WAKE UP & BE LIGHT! • These are commands given to the church. • God then tells us why we should do this in verse 2 - “For your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” • Christ is our light and He’s in us to shine through us. • The result? Nations and those in authority over nations will see our light and come to it. • This signifies the growth of the church throughout history.