Summary: By the Israelite's failure to possess the land, we can learn valuable lessons in overcoming our enemies. This is the intro to the series.
Leaders, Legends & Losers
Series: Leaders, Legends & Losers
May 18, 2014
So today, I’m starting a summer series of messages on the book of Judges. I’ve always liked the book of Judges because of the classic bible characters and stories that you find in it. People like Gideon, Deborah, and especially Samson. I remember as a young boy sitting in Sunday School class, listening to the story of Samson… wishing I had his strength! I could just imagine myself breaking cords of rope and chopping down Philistines with their jawbone of an donkey! Or how about Gideon…and his 300 men, charging down the hill with a torch in one hand and a sword in the other…greatly outnumbered against thousands of Midianites crying out…”For the Lord and for Gideon! Ahhhh!” Pretty exciting stuff for a 9 year old boy!
However, it wasn’t until I got to be an adult that I actually decided to do an in depth study on the WHOLE book of Judges (not just individual stories) and WOW! …what a different picture I got! For most of us, when we think of a “judge”, we think of the justice system. A person with a long robe, coming into a courtroom and slamming their wooden hammer down. “Order in the court!” Kind of like a “Judge Judy” or a “Judge Joe Brown”. (I can’t watch those shows without thinking to myself…"Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when 1st we practice to deceive." Man, we can sure get ourselves into messes, can’t we?)
But the Heb. word ,“soap-tim” that most of our bibles translate as ‘judge’, is actually more accurately translated, “deliverer” or “savior”. The “judges” were men and women that God raised up and anointed for the specific purpose of delivering and saving His people from their enemies, so they could live out their lives for Him. But as we’re going to see…not all of the ‘judges’ fulfilled that assignment. Some of them succeeded pretty well, others were somewhat successful, and still others were outright disasters! That’s why we’re naming this series, “Leaders, Legends and Losers”.
In fact, as we go through the book, we’re going to see that as time goes on, there are more “losers” than leaders! With each chapter, the ‘judges’ become increasingly flawed and failing. So you say, “What in the world are they doing in the bible then?” Well, you have to understand that the bible shows people as they ARE, not as we “want” them to be. It shows them warts and all. So the book of “Judges” isn’t a book about these sanitized, perfect people who always did everything God wanted them to do. No. It’s a book about messed up, weak, flawed and undeserving people (like you and me)…that God (in His mercy) works with and is somehow able to rescue us from our worst enemies…ourselves! So each “judge” we’re going to encounter in this book, symbolizes a weakness that God needs to save us from.