LESSER KNOWN PERSONALITIES OF THE BIBLE
What Goes Around
March 7-8, 2009
[Introduction by Derric Bonnot – Sermon done in Miami]
All right, what’s up Derek, how you doing? How are you guys doing today? All right, all right. I want to welcome everyone. At all of our campuses by the miracle of technology at Fellowship Church, we have campuses everywhere. Please be seated. You can be seated here, and at our campus in Grapevine, Downtown Dallas, Downtown Fort Worth, Plano, and also at beautiful Allaso Ranch! Welcome to Fellowship Church.
You know, at Fellowship Church, we’re full of incurable learners, and you hear this-this term thrown around – a disciple. A disciple is a learner. And we’ve got a lot of people at Fellowship who are hungry for learning. So whether we watch a speaker on some high-definition screen, or whether the person is live or whether we’re watching a short film, a video, a vision, or whatever we’re doing, we’re learning and understanding what it means to have this personal and authentic relationship with Christ. And also, what it means to grow with him. And I’ll promise you this. At Fellowship Church, the speaker might not always be live, but Jesus is. I can promise you that. I can promise you that.
I’d also like to welcome all of our television audience, you know, this-this is seen on television around the world. We get correspondence, emails, texts, all-all sorts of contacts from Europe, from-from the Orient, from, uh, all over North America – a South America, so that’s pretty cool to know that-that we’re leveraging technology.
Well, today, I am in a series of talks that I’m very, very excited about called Lesser Known Personalities of the Bible. Now most of us know, or we’ve heard of some of the big-time people in the Bible like Moses. Like Jonah. You remember when the guy got swallowed by the big fish. You might have heard of Abraham, Isaac. Of course, we’ve heard of the disciples and Jesus. But how about the ones that we sort of overlook? How about the ones that we just kind of hydroplane over and don’t really concentrate on their lives?
Well, in this series, we’re going to look at the people in the background, the lesser known personalities, and we’re going to make them well-known. We’re going to take people from the background and bring them to the foreground. We’re going to take people that we overlook and we’re going to look over them. Because every person, every man and woman mentioned in the Bible, is there for a dynamic reason. So these lesser known personalities, I believe, will really, really speak volumes into our lives.
Today, I’m talking about someone that I’m going to bet you cash money that you’ve never heard about. On top of that, I know you’ve never heard a message on this character. I mean this guy is a crazy guy, a brutal guy, someone who was very sadistic. And when I tell you his story, you’re going to be saying to yourself, “How can I relate to this cat? I mean, this guy, Ed, is absolutely bonkers. I mean, he’s berserk.”
But let me tell you this story, and then we’ll see how this applies to our lives. His name, are you ready for this? Adoni-Bezek. Say it with me, “Adoni-Bezek.”
You might be asking, “Who in the world was Adoni-Bezek?”
I’m glad you asked. That’s why we’re here today. If you have your Bibles, turn to the book of Judges.
Make sure that you bring your Bibles. You might be saying, “Well, I don’t have a Bible.” Share with someone. “I don’t have a Bible.” Go and buy a Bible. There are phenomenal Bibles for sale everywhere. My wife got one at a flea market several days ago for one dollar. But if you don’t have a Bible, I will read from the Bible and we can follow along.
You know a lot of people have these iPhones, right? You can get an app for the Bible on your iPhone. Am I right? Ok, ok.
Turn to the book of Judges in the Old Testament. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Number, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges. Judges is over in the Old Testament. Judges is a unique book, because basically, the men were a law unto themselves. In other words, so many people in the book of Judges just did what they wanted to do.
Doesn’t that kind of sound like our world today? Most people are just kind of doing what they feel they should do. That’s what we find in the book of Judges.
Adoni-Bezek ruled over a city in northern Palestine called Bezek. Now he was the man. Adoni-Bezek ruled over a town, he was the king of a town called Bezek. He was a notorious warrior. He would dominate people and infiltrate areas and take people as captive.
The context is basically this. Joshua, God’s man, the guy that took over after Moses clocked out, has just died. There were still some strongholds, some Canaanite strongholds in the land. So, Adoni-Bezek was this terrible guy who would capture kings after he would defeat their armies. And check this out. He would take the kings and cut off their thumbs and their big toes. He’d throw them under his table. I’m telling you, the Old Testament’s ‘R’ rated. And he would make them grovel around like dogs while he threw them scraps of bread. Now how cold-blooded is that? Again, get the picture. Adoni-Bezek would capture these kings, cut off their thumbs and their toes, throw them under his table, this big beautiful table, and while he was eating, he would throw bread to them and make them grovel around for it. That was totally humiliating to these kings. Because you cut their thumbs off, I mean, that’s bad news. You cut their toes off, they can’t fight anymore. So it was like, “In your face! In your face!”
Have you ever heard this phrase before? “What goes around comes around.” You ever heard that before? Let’s say it together, “What goes around comes around.” At all the campuses, “What goes around comes around.” And sometimes we say, “Oh, he’s going to get a dose of his own medicine.” Or “She’s going to get a dose of her own medicine.” Or we talk about the big payback. Or people say, “In your face.”
And we wait and we look and we love to watch people who’ve messed us around, or messed someone else around, get messed around themselves, don’t we? Have you ever thought about that?
There’s this justice chip in all of our lives. Down deep we say, “Somebody has got to pay.”
I mean when someone like Adoni-Bezek did what he did, and down deep, when we read this in the Bible, we go, “You know somebody has got to pay! You mean to tell me, Ed, Adoni-Bezek just did all that, captured all these people, tortured them and just got away scot free?”
Well, you know it looks that way, because in the book of Judges, Adoni-Bezek was the man. He was living large and in charge, everyone says, and no one could get to him.
But here’s what I’ve discovered about life. And haven’t you seen this? There is a slippery slope that is all about success and acclaim and pride. Someone is on a role, someone is doing what they want to do, and someone thumbs their nose at God and does exactly what they feel they should do. It’s just a matter of time, right, before they slide down that slippery slope. One moment, you’re a hero; the next moment, a zero.
And we’ve seen this, haven’t we, in our culture, with this economic breakdown. All these people, all these fat cats who were riding high and doing this and that. Now, all of a sudden, so many are downtrodden and destitute.
So it seemed like Adoni-Bezek was untouchable, man. It seemed like this guy is not going to pay his dues. What goes around comes around. But I guess not in Adoni-Bezek’s case.
But now, the story gets interesting. Because out of nowhere, that’s right, out of nowhere, the tribes of Judah and Simeon cruise into the Canaanite land and they open up a can of Canaanite. Because when they open up a can of Canaanite, they just wipe out Adoni-Bezek and all of his people, but they did not kill Adoni-Bezek.
So now, we can read the Scripture in Judges. Judges 1:4-6. “When Judah attacked, the LORD gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek. It was there that they found Adoni-Bezek and fought against him, putting to rout the Canaanites and Perizzites. Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.”
What goes around comes around. And don’t you know when they cut off his thumbs and big toes, they probably were joking and going, “Hey, Adoni-Bezek, thumbs up!” “Hey, Adoni-Bezek, no more turf-toe for you!” They probably talked trash, because, read it in Scripture, God’s people talked some trash, now.
As you keep going in Judges 1:7, this is where it really gets hot. This is where we can apply this stuff, check this out. “Then Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.”
T.S. What goes around comes around. Another way to say it: we’ll meet our sin again.
Now let me talk about that for a second because that’s not a very popular statement. Because basically, I’m talking about here, the judgment of God.
“Well, I thought God was a God of grace, and a God of love, and a God of forgiveness.”
He is. There’s no doubt about it. But you can’t talk about those aspects and those qualities of God without talking about the fact that God is a God judgment. God is a God who tells us over and over in the biblical record, in the biblical revelation that we will meet our sins again. And that’s exactly what happened in this situation.
So there is a certainty to this law. It’s a spiritual law. We’ve got natural laws; this is a spiritual law. We will meet our sins again. And what’s interesting about this law is it’s mysterious. So often it works in areas that we can’t even see. But one day we will meet our sins again. There’s a certainty about it.
You remember Jacob back in the Old Testament? Jacob was the father of Joseph, you know, the guy with the Gucci Coat. You remember that? Jacob, if you read about him, had a brother named Esau. Jacob put goat skins on his arms because his brother Esau was real hairy, you know. Jacob went to his father Isaac and acted like he was Esau. He deceived his father. As he deceived his father, he got the blessing from his father. His father thought he was giving it to Esau, but in reality, he was giving it to Jacob. Jacob had deceived him.
All right. Freeze frame that for a second. Press the clock forward. Jacob had a bunch of sons. His favorite son was Joseph. Joseph’s brothers kicked Joseph into the pit, took his Gucci blazer, brought it back to their father Jacob with blood on it and said, “Dad, Dad! Wild animals have killed Joseph!”
They were deceiving Jacob. Jacob had deceived his father, Isaac.
We will meet our sins again. What goes around comes around. You might be saying, “Well, wait a minute man. I don’t see this in effect.”
It might not be today. It could be tomorrow. It might not be tomorrow; it might be the day after tomorrow. God does not always pay on the first and the 15th, but he does pay. There’s going to be a payday, someday. We will meet our sins again.
You remember Jonah? God said, “Hey, Jonah, go to Nineveh. I’m going to give you the strength to go to Nineveh, and my plan is for you to go to Nineveh and to preach.”
You know what Jonah did? “Hmph, Ha! I’m not going there with those ungodly people, those hell-raisers. I’m not going there!”
And so Jonah went the opposite direction. And what happened to him? A whale-house became a jail-house. He ended up being swallowed by a fish. So in his search for freedom, in his search for liberation, and his pursuit for, “Ok, I’m going to be the man, I’m going to forge my own future,” what happened? He ended up in the belly of a fish with digestive juices eating away his skin. I mean, that’s not a pretty place to be.
And we’ve seen this so often, haven’t we, in our lives? Just think about your life. And, I’ve thought about my life. We will meet our sin again. So there’s a certainty to it.
There’s also an unusual connectivity to meeting our sins again. Think about David. You remember David the giant-killer? Most people know about him. Well, David, when he took over Israel, at the top of his game, committed murder and adultery. And then he saw his sins reproduced. He saw his sins duplicated in the lives of his children, because the prophet Nathan said, “Hey, David. I mean, God has forgiven you, you have repented, and you’ve changed your ways. However, the sword will never leave your house.”
What goes around comes around. We will meet our sin again. And if you don’t believe me, just crank out a couple of kids and you’ll meet your sin—yeah, the parents are laughing—you’ll meet your sin again. Is that the truth? Is that scary? Lisa and I have 4 kids. I love them to death. But I mean, whoa!
So there’s this certainty to this spiritual law. There’s connectivity to the sin, to the transgression and the punishment of the sin. But there’s something else I want you to notice. The confession.
You remember what Adoni-Bezek said? Remember what he said in verse 7. “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back.”
Earlier in his life, he was defying God. “Oh, I’m the man. I’m God. I’m sovereign, God, and you’re not!”
And now he’s changing, now he’s saying, “Whoa, now God has paid me back.” He’s yielding to the judgment of God. “For what I did to them.” It’s just a big payback.
If you read in the Bible, the record of men and women when they met their sin again, nowhere in the Bible do you find them going, “Wow, God, you’re so unfair. God, I can’t believe I’m facing this judgment. Oh man, I can’t believe I’m meeting my sins again. What goes around comes around? That’s ridiculous, Lord!” You never see that.
What did Adoni-Bezek do? This hellacious, horrid, mean-spirited man, eaten up with chicanery, what did he say? “You know what, God, I’m getting my payback.”
So you don’t find people going, “Well, man, I can’t believe God, that I’m meeting my sin again. You’re so unfair; you’re so unjust. Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.”
Think about hell. That’s not a popular subject, but a lot of us use it in our vocabulary all the time. It’s not popular, but we talk about it a lot. Hell, the Bible says, is a real place. “Ed, I don’t believe in a literal hell.”
Well, you know what? You can take that up with God. I’m just telling you what the Bible says. I do, because God says it. Hell is a place of utter isolation. It’s a place of eternal remorse. It’s not a place where people go, “God, you’re so unfair. I can’t believe I’m in hell. Good night nurse! What’s the deal? You’re a cosmic kill-joy.”
No, no, no, no, no, no. You won’t hear that in hell, because people in hell know why they are there. What goes around comes around.
People in hell, on planet earth, had a vested interest in keeping God at bay. When they clock out of here, God’s going to simply give them a greater measure of what they desired on earth, which is eternity away from the Lord himself. Hell is a place of isolation; it’s a place of utter remorse. It’s a place of saying, “You know what? I had an opportunity at that worship service. I had an opportunity in that situation. I had an opportunity in that Bible study to give my life to the Lord, but I didn’t do it. And now, I’m receiving what I wanted. I’m receiving the eternal payback.”
So what goes around comes around. There’s a certainty to it, there’s a connectivity to it. And notice the confession. The confession is always, “God, you’re God, I’m not. I deserve what I’m getting.”
T.S. Well, now let’s flip over to another section of Scripture, because this is going to even highlight this principle more and more. What goes around comes around. That’s kind of the negative side I’ve talked to you about so far. It’s like, “WA-Wa-waaaaa. Wow, this is pretty tough so far, isn’t it?” Well, now let’s talk about the good stuff. Are you ready for the good stuff? Because there’s a good side to what goes around comes around.
Let’s check it out. Galatians, over in the New Testament. Galatians 6:7-9. Now you will love this. What goes around comes around. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked…”
You know what the word mocked means? The picture is interesting. It’s the picture of someone sticking their nose up before God. It’s like snobbing God out. “You know God, yeah, ok, you say this, you say that, but I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m the man. I’m the Adoni-Bezek of my world.”
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
What does that mean – Reap? That means he harvests, right, what he sows.
Verse 8, “…The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction…”
And we’ve talked about that, right? And what’s so funny about it is, we sin retail but confess wholesale. Some of you will get that a little bit later. We sow our wild oats and then pray for a crop failure, that’s what I’m saying.
Then it says, “…the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
So three things I want to talk to you about real quickly out of Galatians 6. Number one, we will reap what we sow.
If I sow seeds of oranges, I’m not going to go, “Wow, pineapple! I got pineapple!” No, I plant for oranges; I’m going to get what? Oranges. I’m not going too fast am I? So, I’m going to reap what I sow.
“You know what? I want friends, man. I want this real deep connectivity.”
If you want friends, you’ve got to do what? Be a friend. You’ve got to sow seeds of friendship. I moved around a lot in my life and as a junior high and high school student, I remember being thrust into various environments where I didn’t know anybody. I’m at these public schools where there are thousands of kids and here I am. Well I learned at a young age, if I’m going to get friends, because I wanted friends, I’ve got to do what? I’ve got to be a friend. I’ve got to sow seeds of friendship.
So if you want encouragement? What do you do? You sow encouragement. You want love? You sow love. You want forgiveness? You sow forgiveness. You want commitment? You sow commitment.
And I’ve got to ask you right now, what are you sowing? Because you’ll reap what you sow. What goes around comes around.
Number two. You’ll always reap more than you sow. And this is the good side of it. I’m not talking about the negative stuff. This is the good side.
So here’s the cool thing. When I sow hope and faith and love and all of these godly things, I’m going to reap more than I sow.
Think about a little kernel of corn. Drop that in the ground. Now I’m not a farmer, but after a while, you’re going to have some corn. And you have the ears of corn with hundreds and hundreds of seeds. And they occurred because of that one seed. And that’s what happens in all of our lives. All of this stuff, all of the fruits of the spirit, all these great and godly things are compounded daily with this godly interest. It is phenomenal.
So yeah, on the negative side, we’re going to meet our sin again. That’s the spiritual law. But also, the good side is, I sow phenomenal stuff, man, boom! The harvest is going to be plentiful.
But here’s the third thing I want you to notice about Galatians 6. We always will reap later than we sow. That’s why we have got to be patient.
We can’t plant ourselves in the local church and go, “Ok, I want to mature overnight. I want to start just walking on the ragged edge and ledge of faith overnight.”
It takes some time. You sow those seeds of giving your talent and your treasure and your time to the Lord. You sow those seeds of godly relationships and of a Christian marriage and of a Christian home. And many times you’ll want to quit, you’ll want to give up, you’ll want to turn your back on the field and say, “There’s no way that crops are going to come up!”
I’m telling you, be patient. You hang in there, you stay with it, and what goes around comes around. You will reap a harvest.
Now, at this time, some of you are thinking, “Now ok, Ed, go back with me to that first portion of this talk, because you’ll meet your sin again. How about forgiveness? I mean, how about grace? How about mercy, right? Isn’t that the whole thing about the Bible, God’s redemptive story?”
Yes. God’s all up into grace and mercy and forgiveness. He does not, however, remove the consequences of sin.
Illus: My wife and I have a couple of Dobermans. We love these dogs to death. Dolché and Dutch. Dobermans are sneaky. They’re definitely smarter than I am. They’ll like look me in the eyes and they creep around. Because they stay inside, they’ll creep around our house and they have these big ol’ pads on their paws and their toenails aren’t like down like most dogs. They can sneak up on you, you know. It’s just spooky.
Sometimes, when they disobey, guess what? I take them to the crate. And when I take them to the crate, before I take them, I’ll look at them and I’ll say, “You want to go to crate city?”
And when they’ve misbehaved, I’ll take them by the collars, gently, and take them to crate city. And I sing them a song.
“You belong to crate city. You belong to the night.” Some of you get that. And they stay in crate city. I’ve forgiven Dolché and Dutch for all their misbehavior. I love them to death. They still, though, spend time in crate city. And that’s the picture of the gospel.
We sin, we repent, and God forgives. He cleanses, he changes. That’s true. But he’s not going to remove the consequences of the sin. Because [singing] “We still go to crate city. We still belong to the night.” We still face the consequences of sin. So we need to understand that.
But we have this judgment chip, don’t we, in our lives. We just know down deep there’s a payback. There is a time when retribution takes place. And we also have this justice chip.
When we see things that are wrong or immoral, we say to ourselves, “You know what? Somebody’s got to pay. You know what I’m saying to you? Somebody’s got to pay.” And that principle is from Scripture.
You know, you think back to the book of Genesis for example. Adam and Eve sinned before God. Everything was perfect; then they sinned. And what did God do? All creation held its breath to see what God would do. What did God do? Man and woman have sinned. They were naked and they realized their nakedness. Here’s what God did. God took an animal, an innocent animal, a third party, killed it, skinned it and put the skins around Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness. Adam and Eve had never seen death before. They’d never seen the unnatural movements before; they’d never seen blood before.
God, though, was foreshadowing the gospel. God was foreshadowing the fact when we mess up, when we sin, when we go our own way, it takes the death of an innocent third party. It takes the spilling of an innocent third party’s blood, and only that blood can cover sin. And we see this developing throughout the Old Testament and subsequently culminating in the New Testament, when Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of our sins.
The lamb was slain for the sins of the world. The final sacrifice. And right before Jesus breathed his last breath, he said, “It is finished.” Somebody’s got to pay. Jesus paid it all for your sins and mine so we can understand this principle. What goes around comes around. The big payback.
What have you done with Jesus? What have you done with this spiritual law? God wants all of us to achieve the best and we only do it by walking with him. And realizing what goes around comes around. Let’s pray together.
[Ed ends in closing prayer.]