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The last verse of this book (Judges 21:25) is probably the key verse of the book: 25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

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.

As noted, we see this pattern repeatedly throughout the bible.  Does this patter apply to us?  Maybe, but what is required for this pattern to repeat is for the people to recognize the chastisement of God.  One has to wonder in looking at our own culture if we have failed to recognize chastisement and are therefore stuck in step 2 of the cycle.  While we can't say this for sure, what we do know for sure is that we've covered all the basic reasons for falling away just as Israel did.

We should also note this cycle is often present on a personal level.  If we don't actively maintain our faith and relationship with God, we will slip away.  It seems innocent at first and we often get very good at justifying our actions.  God chastens us, we cry out to Him and run back

The title of Judges speaks men and women God raised up as leaders of His people to preserve them against their enemies.  God is still in this business today.   There is no stated author of this book.  The Jewish Talmud states that Samuel is the author.   This book covers a span of 350 years. 

Proverbs 14:34
 Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a reproach to any people.
Ongoing conquest of Canaan
The incomplete conquest
Israel's disobedience
Death of Joshua
Israel's unfaithfulness
The nations remaining in the land
Midianites oppress Israel
Gideon destroys the altar of Baal
The sign of the fleece
The Song of Deborah
Gideon's 300
Gideon conquers the Midianites
The Ephod of Gideon
Gideon's death
Abimelech's conspiracy
Parable of trees
The fall of Abimelech
Israel oppressed .... again.