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Summary: The story of the judges. Inspired by Frazee and Lucado.

A Few Good Men and Women

Here Comes the Judge!

October 31, 2010 - week 8

What’s the first word or thought which comes to mind when I say the word judge? Some of you have had experiences with these people which may not have been so pleasant. So, what’s the first word or thought when you hear the word JUDGE?

This may date me a little, but one of the first things I think of, is Flip Wilson doing his impersonation of Here Comes da Judge on the old Laugh In program.

What about the TV shows with judges like Judge Judy or the original Peoples Court with Judge Wapner. Those are kind of fun to watch if you can make it through an entire episode. I always shake my head, wondering what gets these people to share their dirty laundry on national TV.

When I think of a judge, I think of someone whom I come before who proclaims my guilt or innocence and sentences me or fines me for what I did wrong. Judges never seem to call you in for what you did right. Can you picture the judge calling you in, saying “Michael Deutsch, please rise, this court finds you guilty of being a good person.” They don’t ever do that, that would be fun.

In our journey through the Story, we’ve come to chapter 8, it’s an incredible chapter. It’s a period called The Judges; with a chapter in the Bible also called, Judges. You see, God raises up people who are called judges, and their job description is quite a bit different than today’s judges. The judges were to tell the truth and to point out right and wrong to the Israelites. In the OT they were more responsible for getting people out of jail, than for putting them in jail.

If you’ve brought your copy of the Story, I want you to turn about 3 pages into the book and you will see a time-line. In that time-line you will see Abraham moves to Canaan, and notice the date and notice the time for the judges; over 700 years has transpired. The people are in the promised land and they’ve conquered the land with the leadership of Joshua and amazing power of God.

If you have your maps, you noticed that you put an image of Joshua just before the Jordan River and they crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho. They conquered the land of Canaan, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The land was divided according to the 12 tribes of Israel, which are the names of

the 12 sons of Jacob. Here’s a map to help you visualize it. I’ll give you a few seconds to fill in the names of the tribes. Okay, you should be done now.

Now, listen to this awesome setup for the children of Israel. It’s like T-Ball, where the coach sets the ball on the T and in our adult eyes, how hard is that to hit. Well, that’s what God is doing for the Israelites. They have their own land, God’s presence is with them, forgiveness is available through animal sacrifices, the 10 commandments instruct them how to live, how they are to love God and one another. God is just blowing their socks off, and they didn’t even wear socks, because God blew them off.

But there’s a problem. It’s in every single chapter. Sin reigns in the heart of the people and it won’t go away. It keeps raising it’s ugly head, getting people into trouble and destroying relationships. With Joshua’s leadership, the people were led to do what was right in the eyes of God. But Joshua’s now dead, and times have changed and the people make 2 major mistakes which open the door to disaster. We need to understand these mistakes because they are still present today. When we continue to make the same mistakes it opens the door for our own disasters.

First, at the opening of chapter 8, page 85 or Judges 1:27-33, tells us the Israelites never drove the Canaanites out of the land. Why was that important? If they removed the Canaanites, they would have removed the worshiping of other gods. As a result, the Israelites also began to worship other gods, which violates the 1st commandment. We realize that the environment we place ourselves in matters. Where we live, where we call home matters, because, if we aren’t careful the environment we live in can lead to our disaster and ruin.

The 2nd major mistake they made was that the generation which followed Joshua grew up without knowing the Lord or what the Lord accomplished for the people. On page 85, Judges 2:10, we read, After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.

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