Judges: A Few Good Men…And Women
Introduction: What is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word “judge”? Turn to the person next to you and share what came into your mind first. Remember, no swearing in church.
Some people think of something like this: (Flip Wilson of “Here Comes the Judge”).
Others might think of Judge Judy.
Others think of the person in the black robe who hands down a jail sentence.
On Sunday mornings we are looking at the Bible in Chronological order, and this week, we come to a 300 year period known as the period of the Judges.
In fact, this morning we are going to look at a book in the Bible is named Judges. Turn there. Pew Bible # ___.
In the Old Testament while these judges not only could throw you in jail, they are known mostly for getting God’s people out of jail.
Seven hundred years after God’s promise to Abraham, the people of God are in their own land, God is present in the tabernacle, a law guided their lives and a sacrificial system exists for reminding them of their sins.
The people were truly blessed by God. But there is a problem. Sin.
Sin still reigns in the hearts of the people. Sin raises its ugly head.
As you recall last week, God instructed the Israelites to completely destroy the inhabitants of the land God had promised them because of the rampant sin within the people groups there, and because God wanted to make Himself known among the nations.
But we find:
I. Israel’s Two Mistakes after Conquering the Land.
A. They did not drive out all the Canaanites and this led to the sin of idolatry.
And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.
And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.
Application: our environment can influence us toward wrong
B. They did not teach their children about God and his great acts of deliverance.
And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
Application: Christianity is only one generation away from extinction.
II. The two reasons that God raises up the judges.
A. God has blessed Israel in the eyes of all the other nations. God wants other nations to know His goodness and blessing.
B. God powerfully intervenes when His people cry out to Him for help. When the people pray, God responds with deliverance.
III. The four movements in a repeated cycle or pattern in Judges.
(The cycle is repeated 6 times in the Book of Judges)
We see an example in 2:11-19
11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. 13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. 16 Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so. 18 And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. 19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.
So, we see these cycles in movements of the people.
A. Movement 1- sin.
1. The people worship pagan gods.
2. God wants to be first in their lives.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
B. Movement 2- oppression
1. God removes His hand of protection and allows surrounding nations to oppress His people.
so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the Lord, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not.”
2. God uses 6 pagan nations to oppress His people: Mesopotamians oppress for 8 years; the Moabites for 18 years; the Canaanites for 20 years; the Midianites for 7 years; the Ammonites for 18 years; and the Philistines for 40 years.
So God allows the consequences of their sin to be realized.
C. Movement 3- repentance.
1. The oppressed people cry out to God for help. They “turn” or “return” to the Lord. They repent (make a decision to do a 180 degree change in direction).
2. God raises up a judge who serves as a deliverer from the ites..
Othniel delivers them from the Mesopotamianites;
Ehud delivers them from the Moabites;
Deborah from the Canaanites;
Gideon from the Midianites;
Jephthah from the Ammorites and
Samson from the Philistines.
(…and City Pest from the Termites)
D. Movement 4 - deliverance.
1. It is important to notice that it is God who orchestrates the deliverance, not the human judge.
2. The judges were flawed human beings.
IV. Two judges illustrate flawed humanity.
A. Gideon: Judges 7
1. Gideon was from the weakest clan and was the weakest in his family.
2. God reduces Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300 so that the deliverance will be from God, not Gideon and the army.
B. Samson: Judges 13-16
1. Samson reveals the secret of his strength to Delilah: Judges 16
2. Samson’s pride and immaturity led to his death.
There is a correlation in the lives of the Israelites and the life of each of us. Where do you identify with the cycles mentioned?
We sin—we don’t keep God on the throne of our lives.
1. I’m chasing the wrong thing right now.
2. I have mixed up priorities.
3. I have an addition or an addictive personality and it has captured me.
4. I keep mistreating other people.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
We are oppressed—our fellowship with God and others is broken.
1. My relationship with God has been affected.
2. I am destroying my relationships with others.
3. It is affecting or will affect my physical and emotional health.
4. It is affecting or will affect me financially.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
We repent/confess—we are restored through the blood of Jesus.
At this stage, you identify you’re in sin or oppression, so you have two choices:
1. I am not ready to come clean with God.
2. I am ready to come clean with God right now.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We experience deliverance—we experience joy and fruitfulness.
Out of a broken heart of repentance and confession, God can deliver us. God takes back those who run to Him.
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.