Faithlife Sermons

Here Comes the Judge

Treaties, Compromise & Deliverance  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:46
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God uses pain to motivate repentance and reliance upon deliverers.



Today’s text is the second slope of a chiasm. You may recall that chiasm is a popular literary structure in the Hebrew Scriptures as it created a way to remember when people did not have personal, written copies of God’s Word.
Just as Luke Koch building an arch starts wide and builds to the capstone, today’s verses are the back slope of last week’s verses. So I will start at the bottom and work toward the top, or in the order of our verses I will start at the end, then work toward the beginning.

Israel Disobeyed by Intermarriage (Judges 3:5-6)

Judges 3:5–6 ESV:2016
5 So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 6 And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods.

The Counterpoint to Intermarriage was Idolatry (2:11)

1. Intermarrying was just as offensive to God as Idolatry.
2. God intentionally pointed out the marriage relationship, because their intermarrying with godless peoples was an intimate betrayal.
3. V.17a is translated as “whored after”, “played the harlot”, or “prostituted themselves”

Why so divisive? Doesn’t God just want us all to get along?

1. The appeal to “ecumenism” is a wrong application of John 17.
· To understand John 17:11 one has to go back to vv.3 & 9
John 17:11 ESV:2016
11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
John 17:3 ESV:2016
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
John 17:9 ESV:2016
9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
· Jesus is praying that those within the Body (the CHURCH) to be unified.
· We do those outside of Christ a disservice when we refuse to speak the truth in love.
2. The Israelites acted selfishly in taking foreign wives for themselves and they set their children up for failure when they arranged interfaith marriages.
· We must speak of an exclusive Christ to our own children. We can’t assume they know! If they are not convinced, they will be easily led astray.
I was living in Wisconsin the year that Aaron Rogers joined the Green Bay Packers. Since he was following the coattails of a Hall of Fame Quarterback, there was a lot of press about his positive qualities on and off the field. I remember reading “Rodgers grew up a devout Christian. He stated that he accepted Christ when he was very young and attended a non-denominational church with his family every Sunday.”
That would soon change. ESPN the Magazine ran an interview on Aug 30, 2017 where he admitted a change. Not long after he became the starter in Green Bay in 2008, he met Rob Bell, a young pastor from Michigan...Over time, as he read more, Rodgers grew increasingly convinced that the beliefs he had internalized growing up were wrong, that spirituality could be far more inclusive and less literal than he had been taught. As an example, he points to Bell's research into the concept of hell. If you close-read the language in the Bible, Rodgers tells me, it's clear that the words are intended to evoke an analogy for man's separation from God. "It wasn't a fiery pit idea -- that [concept] was handed down in the 1700s by the Puritans and influenced Western culture," he says.
"The Bible opens with a poem," he adds. "It's a beautiful piece of work, but it was never meant to be interpreted as I think some churches do." I ask him whether he still sees himself as a Christian, and he says he no longer identifies with any affiliation.
3. As a sidenote, Rogers was dissuaded by false information. The fiery pit is not a new concept in the 1700s. Anyone who knows of the burning rubbish heap called Gahenna during the time of Christ would have connected the place of torment with fire.
4. This sermon isn’t about the faith of an NFL quarterback. He is only 1 example of how easy our children can be led astray. That is why the intermarriage of Judges 3 is so horrendous.
5. One of the reasons I do not like to put celebrities on a faith pedestal is that their potential influence for good can easily turn into an influence for doubt.
6. We can find other examples of being derailed in one’s values.
For those who follow the royal family of Great Britain, you are aware that Princess Diana’s younger son married in Summer of 2018. Less than 2 years into their marriage and they have now announced what the media is calling Megxit. Harry and Meghan are separating themselves from public participation in the affairs of Royalty. 33 years of values that he was raised in are being disregarded.
7. When Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived (apart from Christ), took multiple wives, it led to his downfall. When Samson gave in to his desires for a pretty woman, it literally cost him his life. This problem of intermarrying with locals who follow other gods will be a repeated problem for Israel all the way up until the time of Ezra.
Transition: Because they intermarried, we see a similar response from God when He observed their idolatry.

Israel’s Disobedience Triggered Anger and Discipline (Judges 2:20-3:4)

Judges 2:20–3:4 ESV:2016
20 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua. 1 Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. 2 It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before. 3 These are the nations: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. 4 They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

Remember the emphasis is on the causation of the wrath. (“kindled” & “Because” v.20)

1. God’s “anger” is a righteous jealousy that grows out of His deep commitment to His people.
2. “Whenever” begins vv.18 and 19 – the next 14 chapters are going to reveal no less than 7 times that the downward spiral picks up momentum
Just north of us is an old railroad depot. When the old steam locomotive would leave the station, it would start with slow revolutions of the drive wheels. Each revolution would get faster until the whole train was clipping along at cruising speed, the faster the train moved, the longer stopping distance it would require. This is exactly what happened with the rebellion and disobedience of the Israelites.

God’s method of Discipline--war (2:21-3:4)

1. On the front side of the chiasm the discipline was focused on their property being plundered.
2. On this side of the chiasmus the discipline centers on pain; the pain of war.
3. The 4 people groups in v.3 represent the SW, SE, NW & NE. As the following schematized map of the land of Canaan illustrates, these four names have the entire land of Canaan covered: southwest (Philistines), northwest (Sidonians), northeast (Hivites), southeast (Canaanites).[i]
4. Each battle that was lost was God’s way of asking, “Have you had enough yet?”
The 1970’s song War asked, “What is it good for?” and the reply was “absolutely nothing”.
5. In God’s plan, war was good for something. It was good to interrogate the Israelites if they wanted to continue on the stubborn path or return to the God who loved them.
I did not have any older brothers. But some of you have and you can vividly recall being pinned down and getting a pink belly, or chest taps, or a head noogie until you would cry “uncle.”
6. God allowed them to experience the pain of war so that they would surrender to His will and submit to His righteous authority.
Transition: God desired to deliver His people from their distress

Israel’s Disobedience Demanded Deliverers (Judges 2:16-19)

Their pain caused groaning (v.18d)

1. The distress of v.15 prompts deep groaning.
2. This word is rare in the OT. It appears in Ezek 30:24 to speak of a man lying with both arms broken and is a direct link to Exodus 2:4 that says God’s decision to liberate from the Egyptians was due to the Hebrews’ groaning.
Have you ever had a normal conversation when the other person reveals some deeply painful incident like death or cancer that prompts you to interrupt their story with and “oh, I’m sorry”? It is an instinctive response to sympathize with the pain of another.
3. It is this compassionate response that moves God to action.

Groaning prompted pity/compassion (Judges 2:16-19)

Judges 2:16–19 ESV:2016
16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. 19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways.
1. These 4 verses are the capstone, the climax, the pinnacle of the story that began back in idolatry of 2:11
2. God sends deliverers in response to their helplessness.

A Downward Spiral

1. The peoples’ repentance is never complete because they rebel even worse after the Judge dies.
2. The victory of 1:4 quickly gives way to compromise, cohabitation and conceding to the enemy.
3. This is the same 3-step deterioration that we see in Psalm 1:1
Psalm 1:1 ESV:2016
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
4. The more comfortable we get with sin, the more dangerous it becomes.
My friend, people who were more righteous than I am have fallen to temptation. And people more righteous than you have fallen as well.
Transition: It is foolish for either you or me to think that we are immune to sin’s temptattion. We all need a deliverer.


The ultimate deliverer for man’s rebellion was when God took on the form of humanity in the person of Jesus Christ.
By taking the curse of sin upon Himself, he rescues any who will cry out to Him in faith and repentance.
He will fully deliver any who admits “I am a sinner and I’m sorry.” He will rescue any who places his or her trusting belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as full satisfaction of God’s holy demands and calling on Him for salvation.
[i] Daniel Isaac Block, Judges, Ruth, vol. 6, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 139.
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