Judges: God’s Enduring Commitment
Mar 8, 2019 · Courtney Jacob
Have you come to the conclusion that we live in an age of rampant moral corruption? It’s an understandable conclusion to make when stories of prejudice, injustice, murder, rape, and harassment seem to dominate our news cycles. It’s a disheartening reality that at times feels overwhelming, depressing, insurmountable, and even hopeless.
And yet, this reality is not unique to our day and age. In the book of Judges, we encounter all too familiar circumstances. Chapter after chapter, we read shocking, gross, and even appalling stories—stories grounded in the Israelites’ tendency to fall away from God and their proclivity to do only “what was right in their own eyes.” In our Groundwork series, “Judges: God’s Enduring Commitment,” we’ll explore that resonant theme and examine what we learn about God and about ourselves through the gritty stories of God’s appointed leaders and a struggling Israel.
A Time of Moral Corruption
The book of Judges takes place at a time when Israel lacked a strong, identifiable leader. Previously, God appointed Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, then he chose Joshua and gave him the military prowess to establish Israel as a nation firmly planted in the Promised Land. When Joshua died, he instructed Israel to remain faithful and serve the Lord. He warned them of God’s inevitable punishment if they rebelled (Joshua 24:19-20).
But as Joshua’s generation died, his instructions and warnings died with them. The next generation of Israelites forgot the things God had done for them. Their unity as a nation waned and they became distracted by the other nations and false gods in their midst.
The Judges Cycle
The stories of Judges display an eerily familiar cycle, that of Israel’s sin/rebellion, God’s discipline, Israel’s repentance, and God’s rescue. God doesn’t just rescue the Israelites once. He faithfully rescues them over and over again. Judges tells the stories of twelve leaders God raises up to deliver his people from their oppressors. But it never fails that Israel forgets the Lord’s faithfulness and his mighty victories, and they fall away yet again.
Judges and Us
Does this disappointing, painful cycle sound familiar? Many of us easily recognize similar patterns in our own lives, in our churches, and in our generations. That’s why the book of Judges is so valuable.
Judges does the significant work of reminding us of humanity’s fallenness and our desperate need for salvation. Most of us know what it feels like to realize we’ve lost sight of what matters. Baffled, we wonder, “When did that happen?” In desperation, we cry out to God for help. Yet, no matter how long or how far we stray from God, the stories found in the book of Judges teach us that God is faithful and rescues us when we cry out to him.
The stories found in Judges reveal God’s character and demonstrate how God works through his chosen leaders to rescue and deliver his people. This is no small detail. When we long to hear God’s voice directly or witness supernatural divine intervention, it does us good to remember that God often works through the unconventional circumstances of the willing and faithful individuals who remain committed to him.
God’s Enduring Commitment
I invite you to explore the purpose of Judges and rediscover God’s faithfulness through our Groundwork series “Judges: God’s Enduring Commitment.”
- Our Failures and God’s Rescue - Judges 2:6-19
- Deborah and God’s Unlikely Heroes - Judges 4-5
- Gideon and God’s Unconventional Ways - Judges 6-7
- Samson and the Riddle of Grace - Judges 13-16
- A Grim Reality and a Reason to Hope - Judges 3:20-23 and Judges 21
Together we’ll study the inconceivable victories and shocking stories of Judges to understand and recognize how God continues to work in our lives and remember his enduring plan for our salvation.