Summary: God delivers the pivot of born-again believers who faithfully follow Him.


(Judges 2:11-20; Lev. 26:14-39))

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Today we’ll look at the topic of national sin, God’s discipline of a nation, and His deliverance when they confess their sin. We’ll look at this topic through an overview of the book of Judges, but first, let’s place this book into where it falls in Old Testament history.

Genesis - Eternity to 1805 B.C. (death of Joseph)

Exodus - 1876 B.C. to 1445 B.C.

Leviticus - No chronology.

Numbers - 1445 B.C. to 1406 B.C. (Moses writings)

Deuteronomy - 1406 B.C.

Joshua - 1406 B.C. to 1385 B.C.

Judges/Ruth - 1385 B.C. to 1050 B.C.

1 Samuel - 1100 B.C. to 1010 B.C.

2 Samuel - 1010 B.C. to 975 B.C.

1 Kings - 970 B.C. to 853 B.C. (death of Ahab)

2 Kings - 853 B.C. to 586 B.C. (Babylonian captivity)

Chronicles - From Adam to 539 B.C.

Ezra - 539 B.C. to 457 B.C.

Nehemiah - 445 B.C. to 444 B.C.

Malachi - 444 B.C. to 400 B.C.

When the book of Judges begins, the people of Israel are inhabiting the land that God gave them during their military battles in the prior book of Joshua. God had led them out of Egypt, and gave them a land “flowing with milk and honey”:

Joshua 5:6 For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, {that is,} the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished because they did not listen to the voice of the LORD, to whom the LORD had sworn that He would not let them see the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. (NAS)

In addition to having a new land at this time, Israel also has a constitution. This is the law which had been given to them by God through Moses on Mt. Sinai. The law prescribed what they were to do and not do socially, legally, and spiritually.

The period of the Judges was about 335 years, from 1385 BC until 1050 BC. The Israelites had no king and were not ruled by any human authority. They were a loose confederation of tribes gathered around their central shrine, the Ark Of The Covenant. God was their leader, and resided in the Ark as the Shekinah Glory, a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night.

But the Israelites continually disobeyed God, and worshipped false gods instead. The Bible tells us that “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17:6). This sounds a lot like what many people do today, because we are no different than the Israelites. We should never read about the evil they did and say, “I never would have done that!” Chances are that most of us in that same situation would have acted the same.

The judges were not legal judges as we understand them today. They were more like strong military leaders who delivered the people from oppression. They didn’t rule over all of Israel, but only in the region were God raised them up. They were strong, charismatic leaders who would rally and organize the people to defeat their enemy. These judges were not particularly spiritual men, and we see a lot of their weaknesses as we read about what they did.

There were 12 judges mentioned in this book. Some judges such as Shamgar and Tola are only mentioned briefly in the Bible. Others are shown to us in great detail, the three most famous being Samson, Gideon, Deborah. But as a fan of action-adventure films, one of my personal favorite judges is the dagger-carrying Ehud. Their stories are some of the most interesting in the Bible, and show us that despite our personal weaknesses and struggles with sin, God can still use us in a mighty way.

The book of Judges covers a chaotic time for Israel, between the death of Joshua, and the establishment of the first king of Israel, King Saul. The author of this book is unknown, but it is believed to have been written during the time of King Saul or King David. It was a time of political instability and great sin.

Without a strong spiritual leader such as Moses or Joshua to lead them, the Israelites repeated a pattern over and over again through the Scriptures, and we see it a lot in the book of Judges:

- Israel does evil by worshipping false gods;

- God uses an enemy nation to judge Israel;

- In great oppression, the people cry out to God for help;

- God gives them a leader, a judge, to help deliver them;

- The enemy nation is defeated;

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