Summary: The Hebrews developed a detrimental cycle in Judges of Rebellion; Repression; Repentance; Restoration. This cycle was caused because parents did not teach their children and settled for "substandard standards."

1. What do you think of when you hear the word, "Judge"?

a. Laugh-In -- "Here Comes the Judge"

b. Judge Judy

c. A person passing judgment -- critical spirit (remember we are told not to judge/condemn -- not our job)

2. Time Line

3. Judges in bible times were warrior leaders among the tribes/nation -- Hebrew name means "Leaders" or "Judges"

4. The book of Judges is a type of "stop-gap" or "Middle Ages" period in the history of Israel between the leadership of Moses-Joshua and the kings -- in fact, one of the theories of the book is that it was written as a proof text of the need for a king

5. During the 330 year period of Judges there is approximately 111 years of oppression to the Israelites in which a Judge was needed to deliver the people

I. The Recurring Cycle -- Judges 2.11-19

[Evaporation Cycle; Circle of Life; etc. -- some are unavoidable; some are not

A. The Four Staged Repetition:

1. Rebellion -- rejecting God and his ways (did not remove all of the Canaanites -- influence remained -- Judges 2.20-23)

2. Repression -- Various nations arose to oppress the Hebrews

3. Repentance -- Crying out to God for Deliverance

4. Rescue and Restoration

B. The Prevention -- Faithfulness

1. Certain Cycles need to be stopped -- Abuses within families

2. God's love breaks cycles

3. Our faithfulness as a response breaks cycles

II. The Failure of Family -- Judges 2.7, 10-11

The May 1984 National Geographic showed, through color photos and drawings, the swift and terrible destruction that wiped out the Roman Cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D. The explosion of Mount Vesuvius was so sudden that the residents were killed while in their routine: men and women were at the market, the rich in their luxurious baths, and slaves at toil. They died amid volcanic ash and superheated gasses. The saddest part is that these people did not have to die. Scientists confirm what ancient Roman writers record--weeks of rumblings and shakings preceded the actual explosion. Even an ominous plume of smoke was clearly visible from the mountain days before the eruption. If only they had been able to read and respond to Vesuvius' warning There are similar "rumblings" spiritually today: murder, hatred, sexual immorality, divorce, greed, bitterness, envy, jealousy, etc.

A. Parents Failed to Teach Their Children

1. They knew their responsibility -- Deuteronomy 6.4-9

4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD;5 and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.8 And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

a. To themselves and To their children

b. Jewish Tradition -- House is the small temple -- if the temple and synagogues are destroyed Judaism will live on because of the teaching of parents to their children

c. Question: Why should we do anything less? We should be making Jewish people jealous -- Romans 11.11b: But through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel

2. Excuses

a. It isn't fun (for the kids or me)

b. Busy with other things

c. We have circumcised -- it's enough

d. Don't want to push them -- might drive away

B. The Result was Ignorance Toward God and His Instructions

1. Failure to Follow God

2. Failure Toward Others

3. We are always one generation away from extinction

III. The Substandard Standards -- Judges 17.6; 21.25

A woman from Wichita wrote in to "Playboy" to get the opinion of its readers on mate swapping. So, "Playboy" published her question as a poll. She asked, "When both partners consent, is adultery immoral?" One Dion O'Glass of New York responded with an editorial. Dion concluded that the first mistake is asking if something is moral at all. He wrote, "individual feelings are the most important thing there is...To realize that each man is a law unto himself is to arrive at an irreducible basis for libertarian thought -- the most valuable and needed viewpoint in avoiding the pitfalls of right- or left-wing totalitarianism. Therefore I suggest to the lady from Wichita one rule that eliminates the need for all others: think for yourself." In other words, there is no wrong decision. You don't ask if something is "right" or "wrong." The important thing is that you make a decision."

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