Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lessons from the Judges

Last week - we discussed the Conquest by the 2nd. Generation

This week = Israel settled in the land - after the life of Joshua
(Note:  the land is secured BUT the conquest incomplete) - many pockets of enemies left that they are to run out and defeat.

We begin with The Covenant Renewal
(as Moses did before the conquest, now Joshua did after the conquest)
Josh. 24:1, 14-31 - notice:  Sheckem - same spot where God promised all this land to Abraham 700 years prior.

Then........ The Judges - (350 years between the conquest and the monarchy) - this was a dark time in the life of Israel.


Apostasy --> Judgment --> Repentance --> Deliverance
 (turned to other gods in land)                                   (God raised up a leader, savior, judge)

(in the text)
Step 1.  "Israel did evil in the eyes of the LORD" - repeated at least 7 times in the book of Judges

Step 2.  "God handed them over...." - gave, delivered, sold into hands of, etc.
Examples:  ruled by Aram (8 yrs), Moab (18 yrs), Canaanites (20 yrs), Philistines (40 yrs.)

Step 3.  Israel cried out to the LORD (turned away from foreign gods)
Question:  True repentance????

Step 4.  God raised up a deliverer (judge)
Othneil, Ehud, Deborah & Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson - some of the judges

Step 5.  "the land had peace".... "till the judge died!!!!  (40 - 80 years)

Step 6.  "Israel did evil in the eyes of the LORD"

Summary:  Judges 2:6-19

So..... they have a time characterized by rebellion, lawlessness, moral decline, decadence and seared consciences leading to bizarre behavior.
Examples:  Abimalech slaying his 70 half brothers so not to have to share, Samson and Delilah, the Danites and the priest, the Levite and his concubine, the slaughter of the men of Benjamin and then allowing the remnant to kidnap their daughters to keep the tribe going.

What's going on here????  NOTE:  The book of Judges is never a commendation of the behavior of the Israelites.  Judges 21:25

I.  This is man being self-righteous - everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Compare:  Judges 14:1-3 - literal Hebrew = "right in my eyes" - don't need God or priest or church to tell me what I need.

Contrast:  Judges 2:11 (a) - ".... in the eyes of the LORD" - going from "in the eyes of the LORD" to "right in my eyes" - doesn't happen over night but over time.

II  This is a cycle becoming a spiral
Remember:  Rom. 1 - God gave them over to.... sinful desires --> shameful lusts --> a depraved mind....
Man exercises self-righteousness, not God righteousness.
For this to be true of a nation, it must be true of the individual people within the nation!!  A nation cannot be given over unless its people are given over.
We don't dwell well in a vacuum morally.  Won't stay in the same cycle, but will begin to spiral downward.

III.  This is God being faithful
Faithful to deliver
Faithful to chastise & curse - God has promised BOTH in His Covenant.
Ex.  Deut. 27:11-14 - blessings vs. cursings
       Deut. 30:15, 19-20

1.  You have a tendency to self-righteousness - everybody does.  It is a universal human trait.
What matters is what's right in the eyes of God - no matter what you think.

2.  You have a tendency to spiral.

3.  You have a God who longs to deliver you from both - a God who is faithful - He wants to free us out of the spiral.  We have a perpetual battle with sin - even in the very best of times.  But, God stands as our deliverer.

No comments: