Summary: An Exposition of Judges 1.1-21
What if everyone did whatever they wanted? – Week 1:
A Great Generation Dies
Text: Judges 1.1-21.
1. In 1998 Tom Brokaw wrote a book about the men and women who persevered through the days of the great depression and later fought and won WW2. He wrote this as part of his introduction and explanation for his purpose to write the book… "In the spring of 1984, I went to the northwest of France, to Normandy, to prepare an NBC documentary on the fortieth anniversary of D-Day, the massive and daring Allied invasion of Europe that marked the beginning of the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. There, I underwent a life-changing experience. As I walked the beaches with the American veterans who had returned for this anniversary, men in their sixties and seventies, and listened to their stories, I was deeply moved and profoundly grateful for all they had done. Ten years later, I returned to Normandy for the fiftieth anniversary of the invasion, and by then I had come to understand what this generation of Americans meant to history. It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced." Mr. Brokaw said a bit farther on…” At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workaday world, they were fighting in the most primitive conditions possible across the bloodied landscape of France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, and the coral islands of the Pacific. They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. They succeeded on every front. They won the war; they saved the world. They came home to joyous and short-lived celebrations and immediately began the task of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted. They married in record numbers and gave birth to another distinctive generation, the Baby Boomers. A grateful nation made it possible for more of them to attend college than any society had ever educated, anywhere. They gave the world new science, literature, art, industry, and economic strength unparalleled in the long curve of history. As they now reach the twilight of their adventurous and productive lives, they remain, for the most part, exceptionally modest. They have so many stories to tell, stories that in many cases they have never told before, because in a deep sense they didn't think that what they were doing was that special, because everyone else was doing it too. Mr. Brokaw expressed his conviction about that generation as follows… "it is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced." He argued that these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the… "right thing to do."
2. When I read these words and think about the kind of people who formed that particular generation of Americans I have to ask the question….Where are the people today who have that kind of character?
3. The book of Judges is a book primarily about a nation that had seen their “greatest generation” come and go. They too could look back and see great people and great leaders in their past, but in their present; the people were aimless and lost.
4. Today I want to begin with you a journey to read and tell the stories found in the book of Judges. We will see what was going on in Israel and how they were led inextricably, one step at a time, from great blessing to great loss and ultimately great judgement.
5. But this book is not merely a dry recitation of history….it is living and interesting, it is about the lives of ordinary people like you and me….and we can learn a great deal from them. So many things that we will read and learn in the coming months apply directly to the problems facing America and the American church today.
6. Open with a short prayer for blessing.
First, let’s get some background for the story we are about to begin …
I. The first chapter and a half of the book of the Judges is a simple recounting of the high points and victories of the generation of people who lived under Joshua and his leadership and of those who outlived him, yet remembered him personally.
A. Let’s begin by reading Joshua 24.29-31.
B. Let’s continue by reading the beginning of the book of the Judges…Judges 1.1a and 2.7-10.
C. This lets us know that Judges begins with a description and recounting of “A Great Generation”.
II. What was this Great Generation like?
A. They were committed to the task Joshua had left them – 1.1.