Topic : Judges

General

The Book of Judges Vs. the Book of Joshua

Joshua

Judges

VictoryDefeat
FreedomServitude
FaithUnbelief
ProgressDeclension
Spiritual visionEarthly emphasis
Fidelity to the LordApostasy from the Lord
JoySorrow
StrengthWeakness
Sense of unityDeclension, anarchy
Sin judgedSin lightly regarded

The New Unger’s Bible Handbook, Merrill F. Unger, Revised by Gary N. Larson, Moody Press, Chicago, 1984, p. 129

Cycle of Men and Nations

Labeling it a “bird’s eye view of the cycle of men and nations,” one historian has summarized history in this way:

(1) from bondage to spiritual faith.

(2) from spiritual faith to great courage.

(3) from courage to liberty.

(4) from liberty to abundance.

(5) from abundance to selfishness.

(6) from selfishness to complacency.

(7) from complacency to apathy.

(8) from apathy to dependency.

(9) from dependency back to bondage.

Today in the Word, March 1989, p. 42.

Judges 3:1-4

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Judges 5

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Judges 6:11-40

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Judges 6:33-40

Insecurity

Hoping to relieve him of financial pressure and enable him to write more freely, the first publishers of American writer Sherwood Anderson offered to send him a weekly check. After a few weeks, however, Anderson took his latest check back to the publisher’s office. “It’s no use,” he explained. “I find it impossible to work with security staring me in the face.”

Unlike Anderson, the Israelite leader Gideon found that he couldn’t work without security staring him in the face. It was Gideon’s insecurity which caused him to ask God for two miraculous signs aimed at strengthening his faith. From a human point of view, Gideon’s fear is understandable. After all, his tiny force of 300 armed men was about to face an army of 135,000 Midianites. Gideon’s band seemed to have little or no chance against such a superior force.

However, Gideon knew that God had sent him against the Midianites (see 6:12-16). But the fear of defeat had paralyzed Gideon’s faith. That’s why he asked God to prove His presence through the two familiar requests we read about today. On the first night, Gideon put a fleece on the ground. If it was wet the next day while the ground was dry, he would know God would give him victory (vv. 36-38).

But that wasn’t quite enough for Gideon. Perhaps he realized that a fleece could remain wet even after the ground had dried. So he asked God to keep the fleece dry and the ground wet on the next night (vv. 39-40). God did as Gideon requested, and God’s servant went on to lead the Israelites in the defeat of the Midianites (7:1-25).

The miracle of Gideon’s fleece demonstrates that ours is a God of compassion. God’s command and promise were clear: He would be with Gideon, and they would “strike down all the Midianites” (6:16). Instead of rebuking Gideon for his fear, the Lord buoyed his faith with a miracle. God allowed security to stare Gideon in the face so Gideon could accomplish God’s purpose.

Today in the Word, May 8, 1993

Judges 6:36-40

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Judges 6-8

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Judges 11:1-3

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Judges 11:1-8

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Judges 13:1-16

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Judges 13, 14

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Judges 16

Sensuality

The gods had given me almost everything. But I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease...Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in search for new sensation. What the paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion. I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber, one has some day to cry aloud from the house-top. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace.

William Barclay, The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, p. 100. Written by Oscar Wilde.

Judges 16:16-17

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