The Book of Judges: Israel Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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After the death of Joshua, a strong leader who obeyed God and led the Israelites faithfully to his last days, a void was left. Who would fill that void?

Preoccupied with fighting for land, military leaders became the law of the land, the Judges. Judge Ehud, Gideon, and Samson all did their best but when you’re fighting for your homeland, little else matters.

Most of the time the Israelites hid in the hills, outnumbered and out technologied (made that word up) by their opponents who had chariots, which would be the equivalent to tanks in modern times. The Israelites relied on guerrilla warfare and strategy to make up for numbers and strength.

The book of Judges in the Bible is filled with tales of flawed characters who mostly did allowed their sinning self to control their lives and shut God out.  Samson lusted for women. Gideon led the nation into idolatry. Abimelech killed most of his brothers so he could be king. And the list just goes from bad to worse throughout the entire book of Judges.

Why did the Israelites sink into sin?

  • Influenced by those around them, Israel slowly turned from God to idol worship.
  • Separated by enemies in the valleys, the Israelites slowly separated from each other.
  • Controlled by sin, the Israelites fought each other as well; it was every tribe for itself.
  • “Everyone did as he saw fit.” Judges 21:25

What do we learn from the Book of Judges?

God allowed suffering as a consequence of the Israelites’ disobedience. When things grew really terrible, the Israelites would turn back to God. He’d send a judge to rescue them. But soon they’d degenerate back to sin.

This cycle continued over and over again, but God would not give up on His people. He would rescue them once and for all–by instituting kings over the people.

Why did BSF skip the Book of Judges?

To this, I have no answer. Judges contains the famous story of Samson and Delilah as well as Gideon. I’m assuming for time constraints, but since BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) did break this study into two parts, one lesson in the Book of Judges would have been nice. Yes, it’s full of evils, but how can we rid ourselves of sin without studying the devastating effects of sin?

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