When the Lord raised up judges for them, he would be with the judge and save them from the power of their enemies as long as the judge lived. The Lord would change his mind when they groaned in their affliction under their oppressors. Judges 2:18
As we begin the book of Judges today, the story picks up with the death of Joshua. After his death, the people found that it was not enough just to settle the promised land and find peace; their peace depended upon their obedience to God’s law. Whenever they rebelled against Him, they were oppressed by pagan nations; when they repented of their wrong, God would raise up a judge to deliver them.
The judges were not magistrates as we would imagine, wearing black robes and settling court cases; rather, they were charismatic leaders who rose up in times of trouble to lead the nation in battle against their enemies. They can be classified more as military heroes. In the midst of the geographic battle for land, the real heart of this book is on a theological level. We see the pattern of all humanity in Israel’s failure to live out the central demands of the covenant, of having no other gods before them:
- Israel sins by turning to other gods;
- The Lord punishes Israel by allowing an enemy to conquer it;
- The people repent and beg God for help;
- the Lord sends a deliverer (a judge) who rescues Israel from their foe.
This cyclical patter is not foreign to us. We see it played out today as well. Let today be a day we renew our desire to follow the Lord and His ways, and follow the ways of our Lord because of our love for Him.
May God Bless You!