The Gospel Story: Judges

Halfway obedience opens the door to our estrangement from God and His divine discipline. God provided instructions for Israel and when they did not follow through, it meant that they only obeyed halfway. God’s discipline is an act of love to Israel and to us.

7 The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. 8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.

Judges 2:7-11 NKJV

12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.

Judges 2:12-15 NKJV

God’s goal wasn’t punishment, but repentance. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross our sins are forgiven, but there is still a consequence to our actions.

16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.

Judges: 2:16-19 NKJV

If we are going to choose to do things that are right in our own lives we are going to create these cycles where we are constantly being conquered.

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Judges 21:25 NKJV

We have a king and His name is Jesus and we need to align our lives with His Will. In the midst of Israel being disobedient, God was still faithful to complete the work he started. 

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV

Looking unto Jesus implies a definite looking away from other things and a present looking unto Jesus.

4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

Hebrews 12:4-6 NKJV

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,

Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;

6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,

And scourges every son whom He receives.”

Most of our discouragement comes from the 3 words: You have forgotten.

Discipline is a part of our relationship with God. He loves those He chastens.God’s chastening should never be taken as a sign of His rejection. It is rather a sign of Him treating us as His children. God removing His hand from Israel is to bring them into repentance so they see what life is like without Him.

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.

Hebrews 12:7-10 NKJV

Discipline is for our own good. We are to focus on the result of chastening more than the process of chastening. 

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11 NKJV

Do not despise God’s chastening. Many experience one crisis after another in life because they are either blind to God’s chastening or they resist it.

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