God Called Them Judges

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God Called them Judges 

Read the stories of the heroes of the Bible

Judges 2.16–19

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • November 17, In the year of our Lord, 2013

  1. Israel captured an enemy king and cut off his thumbs and big toes. 
    1. They left off capturing all the land,
      1. although they had the power to conquer the entire world.
    2. They turned repeatedly from the Lord, and
      1. repeatedly He handed them over to their enemies, and
      2. repeatedly they cried out to Him and
        1. He delivered them.
    3. The children of Israel did what was right in their own eyes, and when they did
      1. perversions of God’s religion happened,
      2. false and idolatrous worship happened,
      3. immorality happened,
      4. genocide happened, and
      5. some other weird things happened.
        1. Does that explain why those things go on today?
        2. Could the church help itself and our nation,
          1. if we saw what happened in Israel
          2. when they did what was right in their own eyes?
  2. Judges led Israel before any king reigned over Israel. 
    1. One used his left-handedness to save Israel.
      1. Another killed six hundred Philistines with an ox goad.
    2. One was a woman.
      1. Another took an army of three hundred and defeated an army of 135,000.
    3. One offered his daughter to the Lord forever.
      1. Another had physical strength that no man could match.
    4. The last one made such an impression upon Israel and the world
      1. that two Bible Books carry his name.
    5. They were the Judges of Israel!
      1. Leaders who saved Israel from oppression and
      2. kept Israel faithful to God.
  3. The Book of Judges covers the time from the death of Joshua to the first king. 
    1. They judged primarily and governed,
    2. although we know them more for their few military exploits.
      1. They were not kings.
      2. They were not elected officials.
      3. They were not hired.
      4. They could not be fired. 

Judges Could Not Be Fired

  1. They kept Israel loyal to the Lord. 
    1. However, that came after a period of unfaithfulness, and
    2. the Lord made them suffer for their unfaithfulness.
      1. When they realized their error,
      2. they called out to the Lord and
        1. He sent a judge to deliver them from their oppression, and then
        2. the judge would serve Israel as a judge.
  2. All kinds of interesting things happened during the period of the judges, 
    1. all of which show what happens when a people forsake the Lord.
    2. This goes for both nations and churches as well.
  3. You will read of a king 
    1. who cut off the thumbs and big toes
      1. of 70 other kings and
      2. made them eat under his table;
    2. of the angel of the Lord speaking to the whole nation of Israel,
    3. of the age of Joshua when he died,
    4. of why the Lord left some of the Canaanites in the land,
    5. of a cubit-long dagger, including the handle, going into the belly of a king,
    6. of a woman killing an army commander with a tent pin,
    7. of an army of 300 performing a feat greater than the 300 Spartans holding off the Persians,
    8. of one man offering his daughter to the Lord forever,
    9. of a barren woman, and the son she eventually bore killing more of the enemy in his death than during his whole life,
    10. of a grandson of Moses who became priest to the tribe of Dan,
    11. of a man who cut his concubine into twelve pieces, sending the parts to the tribes,
    12. of the tribes battling Benjamin, leaving it only 600 men,
    13. of what happens when people do what is right in their own eyes rather than in the eyes of the Lord.
  4. The Lord used Judges as part of keeping His promise to Abraham 
    1. to bless all the families of the Earth.
    2. Abraham’s descendants would deliver the promised blessing to the world.
      1. His descendants needed a land.
      2. The land needed purging,
        1. first, of the Canaanites,
        2. then of the Israelites, and
          1. they eventually learned of God’s holiness, and
          2. centuries later they brought Jesus of Nazareth,
            1. who would bring the promised blessing.
  5. In the Book of Joshua, Israel overcame the Canaanites. 
    1. In the Book of Judges, the Canaanites overcome the Israelites.
    2. This happened because
      1. Israel corrupted herself from within, and for that,
      2. the Lord oppressed them from without.
        1. Israel lived with the Canaanites
        2. instead of destroying them completely, and this led to
          1. warring with the Canaanites
          2. to be released from oppression, but in the end
            1. Israel lived like the Canaanites.
  6. To me, the Book of Judges is like Ephesians 5.22–33
    1. Paul wanted to use marriage
      1. to picture the relationship
      2. between Christ and His church, but
    2. marriage in the Roman Empire was in horrible shape.
      1. Christians in the first century may not have appreciated
      2. the comparison of marriage among men and women, hence
        1. of marriage between Christ and His church.
        2. As Paul illustrated the relationship between Christ and the church,
          1. he had to teach husbands and wives how to be married, then
          2. they could understand Christ and the church.
    3. The Book of Judges shows Israel in the land, and
      1. the Lord put them there to be an example to the rest of the world, and
      2. to prepare the way for the giving of the Messiah to the world.
        1. However, Israel had massive problems after Joshua died, and
        2. the Lord had to deal with those problems.
          1. Yes, the Lord became angry with them.
          2. Yes, His anger grew and He could no longer tolerate them.
            1. Yet, He brought them back,
            2. showing His relentless love for Israel and the world.
  7. The Bible’s brevity is again amazing. 
    1. The Book of Judges covers about three and a quarter centuries, yet,
    2. for covering that amount of time,
      1. the Book is relatively small.
      2. Therefore, what the Book does reveal by the Holy Spirit,
        1. was obviously very important for Christians to know.
        2. Read the Book of Judges to see what the Holy Spirit wants you to know.
    3. Joshua died in the year 1375 bc, and
      1. Saul became king in the year 1051 bc.
      2. The Book of Judges shows this 324 year period.

Period of the Judges

  1. The Book of Judges has three major divisions. 
    1. 1.1–2.4 – Conquest of the Land
    2. 2.5–16.31 – Cycles of the Leaders
    3. 17.1–21.25 – Confusion of the Laymen
  2. The Book of Judges teaches: 
    1. Full-fledged apostasy can happen in one generation.
    2. God does not save by numbers.
    3. What we think is right does not matter, but only what the Lord thinks is right.
    4. We need leadership.
      1. Do not count yourself out.
      2. It is not you,
        1. it is whether the Lord is with you, and
        2. if He is,
          1. you can do anything,
          2. regardless of your skills or lack of them.
  3. Judges 2.7–23 shows a cycle that happens seven times during this time. 
    1. 7–9, the leader dies.
      1. 10–13, the nation apostatizes.
        1. 14–15, the Lord oppresses.
      2. 16–18, the nation groans.
    2. 18, the leader delivers.
      1. 19, the leader dies.
        1. 19, the nation apostatizes.
    3. 20–13, the Lord explains why He left the Canaanites in the land.

The Judges CycleExhortation

  1. What has been the story of your life? 
    1. Has it been one where you are only faithful to the Lord
    2. when you have a strong leader before you?
  2. Have you turned away from following the Lord? 
  3. The cycle of Israel in the Book of Judges, 
    1. shows itself again in Israel during the days of the kings.
    2. In fact, it seems to show up in the people around us.
      1. Does it show up in us too?
      2. You see, this was not a problem of Israel.
        1. It is the problem of humanity.
        2. Paul said it well,21 …now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3.21–23).
  4. The Book of Judges shows why the children of Israel need the great Judge, 
    1. who is also the Savior of all people,
    2. saving us, both Jew and Gentile,
      1. out of the hands of the terrible oppressor,
      2. the devil.