This is more examples of what happens when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Jdg. 21:5). When people practice wickedness, we reap corruption and people are left asking, “Why.” In Judges 21:3 they people cry, "O LORD God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel…?”
Judges 16:16 & 17a says, “…when she (Delilah) pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, that he told her all his heart.” It’s been said, “It’s not what you do once but what you continue to do;” that is certainly true in this case. Sampson wasn’t emotionally ready for what he was getting into. The LORD wanted him to take his consecration to Him very seriously during his life so he would be able to stand in trials. Although Sampson failed with Delilah, his hair began to grow (a sign of his consecration to God) and now he was willing to die. Judges 16:30b says, “the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.” The church will do more damage to the kingdom of darkness as we die and Christ lives in us. Also, the church will experience its greatest victory of people won into the kingdom when it looks like defeat from a natural standpoint in these end days.
I don’t have much to say on these chapters except they show what happens to a people (cultures, nations, etc.) when they only have a remnant of religious truth, but have forsaken seeking the truth. You can see this all over in churches and denominations today; (not all, but far too often). They have some basic framework and ideas that come from God’s word, but they are filled with the ways of man. The Levite wasn’t really interested in serving God; he was interested in serving man for his gain. The people didn’t want someone who would be God’s mouthpiece to them; they wanted someone to channel blessings to them.
Samson is a picture of what we the church should be and a picture of what we need to beware of. Samson was called to live as a Nazirite, separated to God and His call, and at the same time God called him to have relations with the Philistines. The church is called to be the “light of the world,” which means we have to be a part of the world, but at the same time not having the world in us. As with Samson, much of the church’s casual approach to their consecration to God often causes them to error in their lives.
Why the continuous cycle of falling away from the LORD then coming back to Him? When things were good, they drifted to the gods of the surrounding people because those gods were more “attractive” to their fleshly desires. When they were oppressed by the people around them, they knew there was only one God who could save them.
Judges 11 – Jephthah
Here is a good example that not every child is planed or wanted by people, but every child is planed and wanted by God. Not only did God give Jephthah a gift to fight, his word’s to the king of Ammon show he was well spoken also. In His grace, the LORD put His Spirit on Jephthah (vs. 29), but the “root of rejection” caused him to make a foolish vow (vs. 30). There was nothing Jephthah could give to God to buy a victory, but the rejection he had faced since before birth caused him to feel otherwise. Jephthah hadn’t learned to accept unconditional love; he only felt “acceptance” based on his performance.
A note about his vow: He probably didn’t give his daughter as a sacrifice in death; she probably lived unmarried her entire life (as a sacrifice to God).
Look at Judges 8:1-3 again. The men of Ephraim felt humiliated that Gideon and his three hundred men were willing to go to war against the great army and Ephraim was afraid to do anything until Gideon began to win the fight. It says Ephraim “reprimanded him sharply.” I want to make 2 unrelated points from this.
Gideon and his army were fighting (and winning) a God inspired battle that would cause blessing on the whole nation, but when he looks for some support of bread to eat, they get none. When we are doing what God has called, we can expect God to provide, but don’t look to people ; often they don’t understand what God is doing.
Judges 9:56-57 sums up the main point of the chapter: “Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers. And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.” When someone sows treachery and violence, they will reap the same.
Judges 7:2 says, “And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.'”
After living in defeat for so long, Israel had a desire to feel good about themselves. They should have instead chose to praise the LORD and find their identity in Him. When we understand God’s love and value of us, we won’t have an “esteem problem.”
Seven times it says Israel “did evil in the sight of the LORD” in the book of Judges, and seven times the LORD raised up a Judge to deliver them after they cried to out to Him.
During Deborah and Barack’s time, it appears the men had relinquished their responsibility as being godly leaders. Barak needed to be confronted about not going to fight; Deborah said to him in Judges 4:6, "Has not the LORD God of Israel commanded, 'Go and deploy troops…” Then, he wouldn’t go unless Deborah would go to the war with him; this is a sad example of how the men were not willing to take responsibility and be brave leaders. The LORD allowed Deborah to go with him but there would be a "price" to pay; Deborah prophesied that his enemy would now be given into the hand of a woman.
Although Judges 4 shows the bad state Israel was in, it marked a turn around. Barak began to take his place and so did some other men. Deborah and Barak begin their song of praise in chapter 5 with these words: ""When leaders lead in Israel, When the people willingly offer themselves, Bless the LORD!"
Note on Judges 1:19: “So the LORD was with Judah. And they drove out the mountaineers, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron.” The reason they could not drive them out was because of their lack of faith; it wasn’t that the LORD would not have given them victory (See Joshua 17:16-18).
In Judges 1:22-26 there is a story of how those of the house of Joseph gave mercy to one man of the city of Luz. In Deuteronomy 7:2, the Lord told Israel, “you shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them.” After they gave him mercy Judges 1:26 says, “…the man went to the land of the Hittites, built a city, and called its name Luz.” When we don’t properly deal with what the Lord tells us to deal with, it will just pop up somewhere else. It probably felt like a good trade off at the time; they give one guy mercy so they don’t have to search for the secret entrance to the city, but it would not be a good trade off in the end.
Judges 2:10 says, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.”
The generation that trusted the LORD to go into the Promised Land didn’t drive out all of their enemies. They also failed to rise up the next generation in the things of the LORD. Therefore, the next generation drifted from the LORD and began to serve the Baals. We need to take heed and keep our homes and churches free of things that could cause the next generation to be drawn from the LORD. Also, parents and churches need to fully bring the next generation into the things of God, teaching them the whole word of God and leading them into the presence of the LORD. Letting children “feast” on the things of the world and then giving them a watered down bible story isn’t going to bring good results.
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan