Judges 10:13, 14
Yet you have forsaken me, and served other gods: why I will deliver you no more.…
I. WE ALL NEED A REFUGE FOR TROUBLE. Life is so mixed that even to the happiest it is full of disappointments and anxieties. Though it may be smooth at present, we know that it cannot continue so for ever. The storm must fall at some time on every soul that is making the voyage of life. "Man is born to trouble" (Job 5:7). The self-assurance that suffices us in prosperity will not be enough when the tribulation comes. Some refuge every soul must then seek.
II. THE GREAT REFUGE FOR TROUBLE IS IN RELIGION. This is not the sole function of religion. It is also a light, an inspiration, an authority. But all men who have a religion turn to it as their supreme haven when the storms drive. We are naturally religious. Instinctively we look up - if not to the light, then to the darkness, the mystery, the unknown above us.
III. THE VALUE OF RELIGION IS TESTED BY ITS EFFICACY AS A REFUGE IN TROUBLE. The breakwater is tested by the storm; the armour is tried by the combat; the medicine is proved by the disease; the consolation is revealed by the distress. If the lamp of our religion will only burn while the sun of prosperity shines, and goes out when the night of adversity closes in, it is worthless. Men make gods of their pleasures, their business, their science. What can the husk of old pleasures do in the "winter of discontent," when no new pleasure can be evoked? What will the idols money, fame, knowledge avail in the agony of the wreck of a life's hopes, in the mystery of death and eternity? How foolish to be engrossed in pursuits which will leave us destitute in the.hour of our greatest need!
IV. IF WE HAVE NOT SUBMITTED TO THE TRUE RELIGION IN PROSPERITY WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO EXPECT TO ENJOY THE REFUGE OF IT IN ADVERSITY. There are men who postpone attention to the claims of Christ till the time of trouble, and find no way to him when they most need him. They will "make their peace with God" on their death-bed. But this is not so easy as they suppose. Apart from the wickedness and insult to God which such conduct implies, it is also the height of folly, and is based on a complete misconception of the first elements of true religion. It is true that God is willing to receive us whenever we honestly return to him in repentance; but
(1) the selfish terror of approaching calamity is not repentance;
(2) genuine repentance, involving a change of desire, is not easily created by selfish fear;
(3) it is not well that men should too readily escape from all the consequences of their sins. - A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.