The Journey Brought Forth "Judges"

This blog series is focused on God’s word bringing people through their journeys in His intentional way that He has set in front of them thereby bringing them through to His completion.

Exodus through Malachi is the section of scripture that most Christians find themselves living in its revolving pattern of realization, but once they receive its revelation, the Third Stage of Life is what their lives are built upon instead of attempting to achieve. Judges brings in a new era with God’s people's relationships and Him. God’s people heard from God in differing amounts during Judges and fell-away and worshipped gods of the lands instead of Him; then, would be gathered back to Him for periods of time just to fall away again once things were going the way they desired. This tumultuous time in history allows God’s people to know they will have challenges in their lives, but He is always near and will answer when called upon.

The Book of Judges begins with the people asking God what they should do next, and God responding for Judah to go up and take a land. Judah instead of listening and directly obeying God’s command, after they had asked for it, invited the Tribe of Simeon to go with them. It is important for God’s people to listen to Him intently and follow Him; because even though He may assist them in the current situation, the end result will always be a corrective lesson.

Some of the tribes drove out the inhabitants, and some did not. The ones who were not driven out became an issue for the Israelites at a later date just like God had warned them. There must not be any room in God’s people’s lives for compromise. They must lead lives of focused determination with purpose; or, they will be misled and compromised on their mission.

Once the elders that were of Joshua’s generation died, the Israelites served other gods, the gods of the lands, and God’s anger was against them just like He warned them. God raised up judges that would save them from their enemies, but they would continue turning to other gods. God intentionally left a remnant of the lands to prove the generations after Joshua to see if they would turn to their gods or worship Him. God allows His people to understand who they are through their trials in their lives today. People often do not know what is in them and how they will react to life’s challenges until they occur, and once it happens, they are able to look back and see how they reacted to understand how they have progressed or regressed from living the way God has prescribed life to be lived.

The on-going cycle of the Israelites turn away from God and being saved by judges that God sent to them continued with, Othniel, Ehud, and Deborah and Barak is the same circle of a lot of people’s lives today. Times are good then people go and do whatever temporarily feels good; then when bad-times return from the effects of sin people return begging God to save them. God does have mercy that endures forever, but He also has judgment and wrath. It makes no sense to go away from the One who gives life, but this has been the challenge for all mankind since Adam and Eve.

The Lord appeared to Gideon and told him to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites with these words, “Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” Gideon knew that in his own strength he was completely inept even to hope to be able to do any great work, and that is what the Lord knew he needed to possess for God to be able to accomplish His work through Him. The Lord told Gideon He had sent him and that should be good enough for any of God’s people to respond with, “OK, even though I do not understand, you know what you are doing, and I trust you.” God had Gideon destroy the idol in the land, gather a group of people, dwindle the number of participants to three hundred, and use psychological warfare to have the enemy destroy themselves. Once the enemy started to destroy themselves, God had more of the Israelites join in the battle pursuing the enemy, and the Israelite were victorious more than imaginable that day. Gideon made a trophy out of a portion of the spoils of this battle that the people ended up using as an idol. This is a perfect portrait of some of God’s people today. He has won the victory through the cross, grave, and ascension and some people still have Jesus hanging on the cross instead of seated in heaven with their Father.

After Gideon’s death, Abimelech, one of his sons, killed sixty-nine of his seventy brothers so he could reign over the people instead of allowing God’s will to be done and diligently pursuing his purpose he wanted to achieve his own way and ended destroying the peace that they were experiencing as a nation. God later sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the people who helped him destroy his family, Abimelech destroyed the people, then he went to another battle and was slain by a woman casting a stone on his head. There is nothing good that comes from people trying to take what is not rightfully theirs because, in the end, it only destroys the people who participated.

God had two more judges lead the Israelites for the following forty-five years, and they forsook Him to serve other gods. He had them fall into the hands of their enemies whose gods they were serving, then they repented and called upon His name. God reminded them of everything that He had done to save them in their past, and they put the false gods away, and He saved them through Jephthah, a man that was born through a whore and was cast away until they needed him to save them. God still uses people who are outcasts and trained in worldly abilities to carry out His plan.

Once Jephthah was victorious in the battle, a tribe of the Israelites came to him and questioned him why he had not included them. He had a sound reason, but they did not accept it, and he had to win a battle against them as well. Don’t be surprised when you are victorious in life that people who are supposed to be your family and on your side come to question you and force you to be divided from them also.

There were three judges after Jephthah who judged Israel, and they did evil in the sight of the Lord; so, He delivered them into the hand of the Philistines again until He sent Sampson to begin delivering them from their hand. Sampson was sent through a barren woman who the angel of the Lord appeared to and told what Sampson’s purpose would be. She told her husband what she had experienced, and he questioned it, so the angel of the Lord came again and revealed it to both of them at the same time. Sampson had relationships with women who seemed to be the wrong kind of relationships with the wrong types of women which actually propelled God’s purpose through his life, but can teach us many lessons through the wrong path that he took and ended in him being blinded and losing his life to accomplish God’s purpose of beginning His saving the people once again. God uses all kinds of relationships and twists and turns in and through His people’s journeys to lead them where they need to end.

Then there was a man named Micah that hired a Levite to be his personal priest in his house that had idols and other abominable things in it. The tribe of Dan happened upon the house and hired him away from the man’s house for an increase in pay and stole the abominable things from the man. They then went and destroyed a peaceable people and took their land from them. All of these actions may seem right to debased minds that are seeking their own truth instead of God’s way, but it still ends in a horrible mess for everyone involved.

The final occurrence in the Book of Judges is for the Benjamites to take a man’s concubine and rape her all night; then she dies from it in the morning at the doorstep. The man takes her body home, cuts her into pieces and sends them to the other tribes. They come to him in disgust asking why a man would do such a thing and he tells them what the Benjamites have done. All of the tribes send for the men who had done this, and the Benjamites refused to give them to Israel. The tribe of Benjamine and the rest of the nation of Israel went to war against each other, and Israel ended victoriously after the third battle. This horrible wickedness ended costing thousands of lives, and more wickedness to seemingly help right the wrong that had occurred because the Benjamites did not have enough women left after the battles to repopulate; in turn, they stole and forced women from a neighboring city to be their wives. Evil breeds evil, and it is a downward way of life until drastic measures are taken that are selfless and only depend on God’s saving grace.

The Book of Judges takes us through a myriad of lessons that simply end in teaching God’s people that His ways are better than man’s ways and the difference in life and death depend on whether God’s people follow Him or their own way of thinking about what is right and wrong.


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Craig Lightfoot
Complete Peace, Inc.

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