Judges part 2


Last week we did an overview of the book of Judges tonight we will begin a closer look of this book. Let us begin with,


Judges 1:1 Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, "Who shall be first to go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?"  2 And the LORD said, "Judah shall go up. Indeed I have delivered the land into his hand."  3 So Judah said to Simeon his brother, "Come up with me to my allotted territory, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I will likewise go with you to your allotted territory." And Simeon went with him.  4 Then Judah went up, and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand; and they killed ten thousand men at Bezek.  5 And they found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek, and fought against him; and they defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites.  6 Then Adoni-Bezek fled, and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and big toes.  7 And Adoni-Bezek said, "Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to gather scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me." Then they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.


In this first chapter we see the story begins after Joshua’s death and we see that the Children of Israel do the right thing by asking God for instructions for what they are suppose to do and goes as planned in the beginning as we see them being victorious over these Canaanites as they destroy them. Now we learned in verse 6 that the children of Israel cut off this kings Thumbs and big Toes. This would make it to where he could not hold a weapon to fight nor could run with any speed. Then we see a great example of you reap what you so because verse 7 tells us that he had done this very thing to 70 other kings. So from this example I want to remind to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


Now as this chapter continues you see more battles take place and Caleb even offers up his daughter as a prize for whoever takes one their enemies city. For the most part this chapter shows the children of Israel being successful, however in the last part of this chapter we see that several of the tribes fail to drive out their enemies which brings to chapter 2. Now Chapter 2 is great summary of what the whole book of Judges is all about. Lets not take a look at verse 1.


Judges 2:1 Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: "I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, 'I will never break My covenant with you.  2 'And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.' But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this?  3 "Therefore I also said, 'I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.' "



Oh what horrible message to receive from Angle of the Lord. Now I believe that the angel of the Lord mentioned here and many other places in the OT is none other than Jesus before he became flesh. Notice how is talking I lead you, I swore to fathers, you broke my covenant, you didn’t obey my voice. These are the kinds of things deity would say and not just a mere angel. But regardless of who this messenger is one thing is for sure God doesn’t break his covenant but if people do through disobedience then they violate the covenant. We need to keep this mind as Christians because when we were baptized we entered to a covenant or agreement with God that we will serve him and live our life for him and he has promised eternal life in heaven and he keep his word. However, we through disobedience can choose to turn our back on God and nullify the agreement making it to where we will not make into heaven and as we see from our text the children of Israel’s enemies were going to be a thorn in their side and their kings were going to become a snare to them all because they disobeyed God by not driving out the Canaanites as they were asked to do. Now notice there response.


Judges 2:4 So it was, when the Angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.  5 Then they called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to the LORD. 


I am sure this made them sad and scared at the same time knowing that God would not be helping them and that they would have to face their enemies on their own. Could you imagine how sad and scared you would be if you had been told that you had been disobedient to God and now he will not help you. This example should encourage us to remain faithful to God because we all know that sin separates us from God and if we do not repent of sin and continue in it God will not help us until we repent and turn our life back over to him.


Now in these next verses we go back in time a little bit to the end of Joshua’s life.


Judges 2:6 And when Joshua had dismissed the people, the children of Israel went each to his own inheritance to possess the land.  7 So the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel.  8 Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died when he was one hundred and ten years old.  9 And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Heres, in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash.


Basically this telling us that Joshua’s generation was faithful to the Lord and after he died and the elders who died after him we find out that the new generation because very weak and doesn’t serve God faithfully.


Judges 2:10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.


As I said last week if we don’t take the time to teach each new generation about God and what he has done for us we will raise up a generation that does not know God and they will not respect God nor hold to his truth. We are always just one generation away from apostasy. Now notice the result of what happens to this new generation that doesn’t know God as we continue on in,


Judges 2:11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals;  12 and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger.  13 They forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.


This shouldn’t surprise us at all. They were robbed of God’s truth because it wasn’t stressed them what God had done and why they should serve him. So without having a guide line or someone reminding them of God no wonder they forsook God and turned to other idols and Gods. But this did not get them off the hook because God is about to show them that he is a Jealous God and that he wants them to serve him and not some lifeless idols.


Judges 2:14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.  15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for calamity, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.


This is so sad. We have went from a generation that was so faithful to God and he fought for them but now this new generation if unfaithful and now God is fighting against them. However once again we are going to Gods love and mercy come shinning through in these next verses.


Judges 2:16 Nevertheless, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.  17 Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do so.  18 And when the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them.  19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.


You see even the children of Israel deserved death God had pity on them and brought up Judges to rule over them and deliver them from their enemies. Now God did not have to do this no more than he had to offer us his grace under the new covenant, But he did because he loves us. I believe Peter puts it best in,


2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.


You see God doesn’t want us to fail he wants us to be successful and he wants us to be with him heaven but we have to choose to do so. As you see in the book of Judges the children of Israel would follow after God as long as there was a judge but as soon as the leader died they go back to their sinful practice of idol worship. Rightly did the writer of proverbs say,


Proverbs 26:11  As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.


Now as I said last we need to encourage people in our church to be future leaders because without good leadership God’s church will not function as it should and it may find itself far removed from scripture.


Judges 2:20 Then the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He said, "Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice,  21 "I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died,  22 "so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not."  23 Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out immediately; nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua.


Once again we see it repeated the God would not drive out their enemies since the children of Israel were disobedient. But we also learn from this text the God would use these enemies to test them to see if they would keep their faith in God. I think we can all relate to this from the fact that we seem to be tested on a daily basis in this world that we live in. We have all these wonderful technologies and fast transportation but at the same time these conveniences gives a greater access to more temptations and more chances to sin. But if we are going to be pleasing to God we must learn to overcome these temptations after all the Bible tells us,


1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.


Now in Judges 3:1 – 6 we learn about  the enemies that were left in that nation that would reek havoc on the children of Israel and we also read of another sin they commit against God in,


Judges 3:6  And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods.


You might remember that it was against the law for the children of Israel to marry pagan wives but since they were dwelling amongst their enemies they married them and this just made them get deeper and deeper involved in these false Gods. Now lets take a look at our first Judge starting in verse,


Judges 3:7 So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs.  8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim <ku'-shan-rish-a-tha'-im> king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim <ku'-shan-rish-a-tha'-im> eight years.  9 When the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.  10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD delivered Cushan-Rishathaim <ku'-shan-rish-a-tha'-im>  king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim. <ku'-shan-rish-a-tha'-im>  11 So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.  12 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. 


This is just the beginning of a pattern that will occur throughout the book of Judges just as Chapter 2 told us. They we oppressed by this king and then the Judge frees them and they remain faithful for 40 years until the Judge died and now they go back being unfaithful once again. This brings us to our next Judge Ehud. Lets take a look at what happens starting in verse,


Judges 3:12 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.  13 Then he gathered to himself the people of Ammon and Amalek, went and defeated Israel, and took possession of the City of Palms.  14 So the children of Israel served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years.  15 But when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. By him the children of Israel sent tribute to Eglon king of Moab.  16 Now Ehud made himself a dagger (it was double-edged and a cubit in length) and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh.  17 So he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.)  18 And when he had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who had carried the tribute.  19 But he himself turned back from the stone images that were at Gilgal, and said, "I have a secret message for you, O king." He said, "Keep silence!" And all who attended him went out from him.  20 And Ehud came to him (now he was sitting upstairs in his cool private chamber). Then Ehud said, "I have a message from God for you." So he arose from his seat.  21 Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly.  22 Even the hilt went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the dagger out of his belly; and his entrails came out.  23 Then Ehud went out through the porch and shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.  24 When he had gone out, Eglon's servants came to look, and to their surprise, the doors of the upper room were locked. So they said, "He is probably attending to his needs in the cool chamber."  25 So they waited till they were embarrassed, and still he had not opened the doors of the upper room. Therefore they took the key and opened them. And there was their master, fallen dead on the floor.  26 But Ehud had escaped while they delayed, and passed beyond the stone images and escaped to Seirah.  27 And it happened, when he arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the mountains of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountains; and he led them.  28 Then he said to them, "Follow me, for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand." So they went down after him, seized the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross over.  29 And at that time they killed about ten thousand men of Moab, all stout men of valor; not a man escaped.  30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years.


This was a well planned out assassination. I want point out a few things from this story. First of all when it says that Ehud was left handed from the Hebrew scholars say that this probably means that his right hand was injured or crippled in some way. You can see how Ehud gets all the kings people to leave the room. He tells the king he has a secret to tell him and this fat king didn’t want his people to hear. So when he says he has a message from God the king stand up and Ehud stabs him with his knife and it get stuck in this kings body. Now Ehud makes his escape and then he leads the children of Israel to victory over the Moab and they have 80 years of peace.


Now our next and final Judge tonight is Shamgar.


Judges 3:31   31 After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel.


This all we know about this judge. He obviously had God helping him because there would is no way he could sleighed 600 men with an ox goad on his own power. This is great example of what Paul said in,


Romans 8:31 ...If God is for us, who can be against us?


Well this brings to the end of our lesson tonight and hopeful you have seen how important it us for us to remain faithful to God and to teach the next generation to know God and to encourage future leaders for Gods kingdom.