Today is Day 19 in our journey through the Bible in 90 days.
Today we’ll finish up the book of Judges, read through Ruth (more on that tomorrow), and start 1 Samuel!
Judges is a fascinating book to me. Israel acts out what I’ve seen lived out in far too many lives – the downward spiral of sin.
Judges covers a period of about 400 years right after they had settled down in the Promised Land (we read about that in Joshua). It started on a high note, with the end of Joshua’s life. He had challenged them to choose who they would serve. Unanimously, they answered that they would serve God. Unfortunately, that decision didn’t last long.
Their problem began when they didn’t drive the natives out of the land like they were supposed to…
Judges 1:19 – …they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had iron chariots.
Judges 1:21 – But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.
Judges 1:28 – And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites under tribute (forced labor), but did not completely drive them out.
The rest of the chapter gives a list of people that they didn’t drive out of the land, like they were supposed to.
Sure, they set boundaries and put the people to forced slave labor, but they still lived there. That was the problem. That’s like going in for surgery and the doctor telling you, “Yeah, we got most of the cancer out, but what’s left shouldn’t be a big deal.”
WRONG! It’s a BIG deal!
That’s evident from the very next chapter. By the end of Judges 2, Joshua is dead, and Israel is worshiping Canaanite gods. That was quick, wasn’t it? What happened to Joshua 24:18?
Chapter 3 kicks off a series of (at least) 12 judges that God raises up to deliver His people after they screw everything up…over and over again.
Othniel was the first judge. He showed King Cushan-Rishathaim of Mesopotamia (say that 10X fast!) who was boss. There was a period of 40 years of peace after that…then Othniel died and Israel turned to idols.
Next up: Ehud. He holds a special place in my heart – he’s a lefty. He told King Eglon that he wanted to tell him a secret. His secret was… a dagger into his belly. Side note: Eglon was so fat, that the dagger went into his belly, handle and all, and was covered up by his fat. No joke. That’s good reading, right there! Ehud died 80 years later, and Israel went back to idolatry.
Next was Shamgar…
4 times in the book, it mentions that there was no king, and it ends on an incredibly low note…
Judges 21:25 – In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
We’ve all been here at one time or another. Struggling with the downward spiral of sin. We allow it to remain in out lives because we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re in control. We’re obviously not. So we cry out, God rescues us, we love Him for it, but sooner or later, we’re back to the same old sin.
It’s time to break the pattern. God offers a much better life than that. Are you reaching for God’s best or settling for what the world has to offer?