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Summary:

A. Introduction

1. This morning we conclude our brief sermon series on the Book of Judges. I have certainly enjoyed preaching from this fascinating book, although most of us would agree that it is a wild, difficult and bewildering one. Our study has exposed us to graphic descriptions of violence and mayhem, astonishing examples of treachery and deceit, exciting accounts of pursuit and adventure, and disturbing portraits of wickedness and debauchery.

a. At the center of the Bible record, as always, is Jahweh, the God of the Covenant. In the Book of Judges we see evidence of:

(1) His absolute -- and sometimes terrible -- s __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __:

- His a __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ over His creation,

- His mighty p __ __ __ __, and

- His w __ __ __ for His people;

(2) His c __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __, revealed in His:

- r __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __,

- perfect j __ __ __ __ __ __,

- great m __ __ __ __,

- profound g __ __ __ __;

(3) His incredible l __ __ __ for His called-out people, expressed in His:

- l __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __,

- f __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __, and His

- p __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ for them.

b. Of course we learn much about the chosen people of God in this book, too. What cannot help but be revealed immediately is that, left to themselves and of their own volition, they are completely without any special m __ __ __ __ that might explain why it is that God ever chose them in the first place. Among the disturbing character traits of the people of God portrayed in the Book of Judges:

- m __ __ __ __ weakness;

- lack of f __ __ __ __;

- d __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ to the will of God for them;

- stubborn and destructive s __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __;

- reckless and fatal disregard for o __ __ __ __ __.

2. All of this was seen in the first sixteen chapters of the book, but the focus was upon the great deliverers whom God raised up to rescue His people, especially the "major" judges:

a. O __ __ __ __ __ __,

b. E __ __ __,

c. D __ __ __ __ __ __,

d. G __ __ __ __ __,

e. J __ __ __ __ __ __ __, and

f. S __ __ __ __ __.

3. In the last five chapters of the book the emphasis changes. The narrative revolves around two separate stories which provide insight into to moral conditions of the times. It is important to note that these last five chapters have not been placed in chronological order. Nearly all scholars agree that the incidents recorded here -- particulary the civil war -- must have occured before the forty year Philistine oppression, and could have occured before the time of any of the judges. In the first sixteen chapters we read time and time again that "Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord," and it may well be that the last five chapters are used by God to show us just how wicked was "the evil" done by the Israelites. They provide specific evidence of the moral climate in Israel during this period:

In those days there was no king in Israel; Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

a. "There is an extremely important and very contemporary insight in those verses. The Israelites did not do what was wrong in their own eyes. On the contrary, they were convinced that they were doing was was right. It was a society filled with violence, idolatry, gross immorality -- utterly pagan -- and yet these people thought that what they did was right. Their value systems, moral standards, religious doctrines, and practices had lost all touch with reality and absolute truth. As a result, only the swamp of relativism was left. That is what makes Judges so practical to twentieth-century Christians; for we, too, live in a society that has no standards. The basic life philosophy of the modern man is, 'If it is right to you (i.e. in your own eyes), then do it.'" - Gary Inrig: Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay


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