JUDGES — Judges shows us the life of Israel in the Promised Land from the time of Joshua to the time just before the first king. The refrain, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit” (17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25) reflects the fact that Israel often turned their backs on the Lord, as we see in the book of Judges. Then they urgently called on the Lord for help when foreign powers came in and devastated the land. The Lord would raise up a “judge” (deliverer), but as soon as things were okay again, Israel slid back to their old ways. Sin and grace is a dominant theme of the book.
Monday, January 25, Judges 1
Vv. 6-7 — In verse 7 you get some idea of how sadistically cruel the unbelieving human being can be. Physically mutilating prisoners of war was a common, cruel practice. It made them unfit for any future military service. Sometimes God’s wheels of justice don’t seem to turn at all. Verse 6 gives us an example of how God’s justice does work already in this life. However, the worst judgment for unbelievers is at death when God sentences them to eternal damnation. For us Christians, in order not to fall back into such a sin-sickening life with its horrible end, we need to heed these words of John in John 3:16 and in Rev. 2:10: “Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Tuesday, January 26, Judges 2
Vv. 12-14 — Because Israel failed to destroy all the Canaanites as God had ordered them to do, Israel, as God had warned them, became deeply involved in their heathen neighbor’s idolatrous worship. The Lord permitted them to be raided and plundered by their enemies. In Heb. 12:5,6 we learn that love is behind that discipline. Its positive effects can be seen in v. 18.
- 16 — The term “judge” might be translated more clearly for us as “deliverer” or “leader.”
Wednesday, January 27, Judges 3
- 7 — Baal and Asherah were male and female fertility gods of the Canaanites. The Canaanites believed their gods gave fertility to the womb and soil. Prostitution and child sacrifice were involved in their worship. When Israel sank into the depravity of that worship, God permitted their heathen neighbors to raid and plunder them. When Israel cried to the Lord, God sent them judges such as Othniel, Ehud and Shangar who delivered them from their enemies.
- Vv.20-22 — While Eglon’s end is gory, let’s remember this is God’s judgment on a hardened sinner. It’s put here to warn us against sin. It’s not like TV which glorifies sin. The only antidote to sin is the Gospel. I Peter 1:18-21.
Thursday, January 28, Judges 4
- 4 — Why does God permit a woman prophetess and judge to lead His people? Doesn’t He strictly forbid that in I Cor. 14:33-35 and I Tim. 2:11-13? In all the rest of the Old Testament there are no other female prophetesses. Spiritual life in Israel at this time was low. If men do not carry out their responsibilities in God’s kingdom, then, to the shame of men, women have to do it.
Friday, January 29, Judges 5
The Song of Deborah and Barak is a hymn. There are many beautiful and inspiring hymns in the hymnal written by women who had deep faith in their Savior. Can you find some? Think of Anna Sophia (283), Charlotte Elliott (397), Julia Cory (609), Inger Marie Wexelsen (51), and Birgette Boye (49).
- 3 — Deborah and Israel had good reason to praise the Lord. The real reason for their victory had to be credit4ed to God. Read vv. 20-21. God used the forces of nature to help them win the victory.
- 31 — This verse will find its final fulfillment on Judgment Day. Then all God’s enemies will perish for good. We Christians, who loved the Lord and put our trust in the Son of Righteousness, Jesus Christ, will shine like the sun forever in heaven. (Cf. Matt. 13:43)
Saturday, January 30, Judges 6
- 11, 12 — Who is the angel of the Lord who spoke to Gideon? In v. 14, He is referred to as the Lord. This is none other than the Son of God. v. 30 — Think how low the spiritual life of some had sunk in Israel. The men who wanted to kill Gideon were the real idolaters and they should have been stoned to death (Deut. 13:6-10). In connection with this, read Lam. 3:22, 23.