Blog thru the Bible: JUDGES

When Joshua dies, the people of Israel have partly conquered the Promised Land. They dominate the land but there are still Canaanites living in the land. The world surrounding Israel is pagan, led by myths and gods and even myths about gods, Israel is in a fishbowl among humanity. These nations are left because God has allowed them too as a test! Will they follow God or fall into the influence of surrounding cultures? From the call of Moses to the covenant at Mt Sinai and the generation of Joshua that followed, the Hebrew’s have struggled to remain a committed people.

The Book of Judges traces the history of Israel from the death of Joshua to the installation of the first King – Saul.

The left-handed judge, Ehud walked into the Moabite King’s chambers and slew him (Judges 3). Deborah judged and Barak acted and they defeated the Canaanite King giving Israel rest for 40 years (Judges 4). Gideon threw down the “fleece” when he defeats Midian (Judges 6). Sampson was filled with great pride, yet God used him to subdue the Philistines and he slew a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass; before he met Delilah and before he brought the Temple of Dagon down to rubble (Judges 13-16). Oswald Chambers wrote: “How God uses whom He chooses”.

Deborah and Gideon, and certainly Sampson, are familiar names and we connect to them as their exploits are told and retold in stories. We like heroes and great legendary warriors because they give us hope in our own trials; and, hope that we might also rise up like them and win a great day. However, it is worth noting that in spite of these heroes and short relative peace that followed their exploits, the Israelites repeated their sin and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; they served the pagan gods instead, in spite of all they had seen.

The heroes came and went among the generations who followed after the days of Joshua. The judges were good, but they could not save the people from themselves. It seems God’s people just naturally have a difficult time staying focused on God’s adventures. These stories are a glimpse of how the Old Testament foreshadows the New. The Hebrew people needed a savior in the Promised Land and they eventually begin a quest to find one in an earthly King. But, God has a plan. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” John 3:17. Oh, how we need a real Hero like Jesus. Ain’t it so!

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