Judges documents the transition from Joshua to the first king of Israel. The events of Joshua take place 1250-1050BC with the focus on the military leaders of the time. These days and events could be summed up in the transition that takes place. In the first verse of Judges, the children of Israel "asked the Lord". By the last verse of Judges:
25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
[NKJV (Judges 21:25). (1982). Thomas Nelson.]
We can easily see our culture in the book of Judges.
- There is no king in Israel.
- People were doing what was right in their own eyes
- The people can't seem to work together.
- The people were in bondage to the enemies.
Joshua and all his generation had passed away. A new generation began to drift away from God. God's people, Israel, exist because of the miracles of God in Egypt. Their heritage is grounded in God but yet they ignore it, take for granted and start following other things and other gods.
The basic reasons for this gradual falling away were disobedience, idolatry, intermarrying with the Canaanites, failure to heed the warnings of the judges and then forgetting their past, history and heritage. We see this cycle of falling away repeated numerous times:
- It starts with a departure from God. They didn't wake up one day an decide to leave God. This is a failure to remain in pursuit of Him. It's the natural occurrence in a heart that is sinful by nature. There is always something in life to draw us away or distract us. Many of these things seem legitimate reasons at the time. Suddenly, before we know it, a momentary distraction has taken root to a full-blown departure.
- God responds to the departure with chastisement. This is done by military defeat and being subject other kings.
- Israel then responds with prayer and pleading with God to deliver them from their oppressor or defeat.
- God responds by sending a judge to deliver Israel. Some of these Judges were not necessarily godly in all their ways. God uses them for His purpose much like He uses foreign kings and armies in chastisement.
One has to wonder in looking at our own culture if we have failed to recognize chastisement of the Lord. The great falling away of our culture looks very much like Israel. I know a great and awesome King who has left you an incredible inheritance. Unfortunately, most will never claim it; most ignore it, seeking their own way, doing what is right in their own eyes.
Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a reproach to any people.
The incomplete conquest
Death of Joshua
Gideon destroys the altar of Baal
The sign of the fleece
The Ephod of Gideon
Parable of trees
The fall of Abimelech
Israel oppressed .... again.