The Book of JUDGES
The Book of JUDGES covers a chaotic period in Israelís history, a period
between Joshuaís death and the rise of the monarchy. Under Joshua, Israel
had generally conquered and occupied the land of Canaan, but large areas
remained yet to be possessed by the individual tribes. Israel did evil in
the sight of the Lord continually and "there was no king in Israel; everyone
did what was right in his own eyes."(21:25). By deliberately serving foreign
gods, the people of Israel broke their covenant with the Lord. As a result,
the Lord delivered them into the hands of various oppressors. Each time the
people cried out to the Lord, He faithfully raised up a judge to bring
deliverance to His people.
The book of
JUDGES serves to show the faithfulness of the Lord to His covenant. Whenever
His people repented and turned from their evil ways, the Lord always forgave
them and raised up Spirit-empowered leaders to deliver them from their
oppressors. Also, this book illustrates the disastrous consequences of
breaking fellowship with God through idolatrous worship. Sin separates us
from God. The Lord requires commitment from His people. When we commit sin,
the Lord in His love chastises us until we come to full repentance. When we
cry out to Him, the Lord faithfully responds to us. He forgives us, brings
deliverance to us, and restores fellowship with us. He responds to the cry
of penitent heart. The Lord is faithful and His love is constant.
The Holy Spirit at Work
The activity of the Spirit of the Lord in the Book of JUDGES
is clearly portrayed in the charismatic leadership of the period. The
following examples of heroic deeds attest to the power of God through His
Othniel The Spirit of the Lord came upon
Othniel (3:10) and enabled him to deliver the Israelites from the hand of
Cushan-Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia.
Gideon Through the
personal presence of the Spirit of the Lord, Gideon (6:34) delivered Godís
people from the oppression of the Midianites. Literally, the Spirit of the
Lord clothed Himself with Gideon. The Spirit empowered this divinely
appointed leader and acted through him to accomplish the Lordís saving act
on behalf of His people.
Jephthah The Spirit of the Lord equipped
Jephthah (11:29) with leadership skills in his military pursuit against the
Ammonites. Jephthahís victory over the Ammonites was the Lordís act of
deliverance on behalf of Israel.
Samson The Spirit of the Lord empowered
Samson to perform extraordinary deeds. He began to stir Samson (13:25). The
Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him on several occasions. He tore a
lion apart with his bare hands (14:6). At one time he killed thirty
Philistines (14:19) and at another time he freed himself from ropes that
bound his hands and killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a
The same Holy Spirit who
enabled these deliverers to do exploits and fulfill the Lordís plans and
purposes is at work today. He desires to move upon His people so that they
too can do impossible things. The Lord wants to bring deliverance to His
people, and He is looking for consecrated men and women whom He can empower
with His Holy Spirit.
TRUTH-IN-ACTION through JUDGES
Truth JUDGES Teaches
Text Action JUDGES Invite
for Growing in Godliness
Judges emphasizes the necessity of trusting
Godís presence and divine resources rather than our own. Even those talents
and abilities we have from birth are corrupted by sin must be energized by
the Holy Spirit to bear fruit for God.
Believe that God strengthens those He calls and commissions. Trust
in the promise of His abiding presence.
10:13,14 Heed Godís warning: Do
not continue to rely upon your fleshly wisdom and ability lest God limit
you to those resources rather than releasing His wisdom and power through
Wisdom is knowing how to apply what you know to be true.
Therefore, wisdom demands that you ascertain the Lordís direction and
leadings for your life. Also, JUDGES warns against assuming that all
leadings are true. Self-righteousness and religious sentiment can be a
source of serious deception.
Test and confirm any sense
of divine leading. Refuse to move impulsively. Be certain of
Godís direction; it results in greater confidence.
17:3 Know that God
rejects any idolatry, regardless how religious or sincere oneís sentiment
may be. Be wary of religious deception.
Dealing with Sin
Sin presents a constant struggle with which we must
deal or risk downfall. When we resist sin, we often feel the battle is over
only to be tempted by the same sin again and again. Sin never goes away, and
so we must constantly be on guard against it. However, even when we are
overcome with sin, we have hope. God always gives another chance to turn
from sin and back to Him.
Understand that sins not dealt
with radically and ruthlessly ultimately weaken and make cause downfall.
14:17 Persist for victory
in your struggle against sin
16:4-22 Guard against
the seductions of the world and the flesh. Understand that compromise
will eventually weaken and war you out, giving the Evil One an occasion to
16:28 Repent quickly
when overcome by sin. Be confident that God is faithful to honor all
truly heartfelt repentance.
Good leadership is a key to the triumph of Godís purposes.
JUDGES underlines the need for Godly leaders who speak with prophetic,
anointed voices. When there is a lack of such leadership among Godís people,
the people lead unrestrained lives guided by their own opinions rather than
Godís Word and Godly wisdom.
Know that a lack of Godly
leadership will cause Godís people to become worldly and incur Godís
judgment. Strive to become Godly in your leadership.
17:6; 18:1 Pursue a
prophetic dimension in your ministry.
Lessons in Faith
Faith sees beyond trials and obstacles, knowing that
God is sovereign over such and uses them to shape us and strengthen us for
future battles. Faith also relies on an ever present God to bring the
necessary answer and supply the present need.
Accept adversity and welcome
opposition. Believe that God will use them to train you in
obedience and strengthen you in spiritual warfare. Avoid relying upon
men due to a lack of confidence in Godís presence. Faith in God honors Him
and results in your receiving what He intends for you.
JUDGES stresses that humility is acknowledging
that any good or righteous acts we accomplish result from Godís working
through us. We often think of humility as a weak self-abasement when, in
fact, it is a bold confidence in a faithful God.
Understand that Godís spiritual
victory does not depend upon natural strength or ability. Rely totally
upon godís enablement and strength.
8:27 Refuse to build any
monuments to your successes or victories. Know that they will likely
become an occasion of stumbling for yourself and others.
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