Friday morning I was ready to publish a post that focused on Judges 1 & 2. I spent over 2 hours typing and editing the post and right as I was about to click "publish", the site logged me out. After logging back in, I realized that most of the post was lost. Only two and a half paragraphs remained. I have spent the weekend, praying if I should try to rewrite that post and I don't feel that I should. My prayer for this site is that everything that is written and shared brings glory to the Lord. So, if God allowed that post to be erased after I saved it, I have to think that it may have been more of me and less of Him. And I don't ever want that to be the case.
So, in light of this little set back, I have decided to recap our study from last week, a little differently. I'm not sure if this is something we will continue, but I am going to list some highlights from each chapter. Without any further delay, let's get started!
Judges, Chapter 1
Judges begins right after the death of Joshua. Before his passing, Joshua reminded the Israelites of all God had done for them and challenged them to continue in obedience to all the Lord has asked of them. Indeed, they tried to do just that. Verses 1-5 show us how they asked God who should lead the attack on the Canaanites. The Lord answered them with the tribe of Judah. Following His direction the Lord gave them victory over the Canaanites and Perizzites.
I can't recap this chapter without mentioning an usual story in Scripture. We'll just let Scripture speak for itself here.
"While at Bezek they encountered King Adoni-bezek and fought against him, and the Canaanites and Perizzites were defeated. Adoni-bezek escaped, but the Israelites soon captured him and cut off his thumbs and big toes. Adoni-bezek said, " I once had seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off, eating scraps from under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.: They took him to Jerusalem, and he died there." ~ Judges 1:5-7
Moral of the story: you reap what you sow.
The last half of the chapter, sadly describes how the Israelites did not continue in their obedience to what the Lord had asked of them. The tribes failed to drive out all the people in the lands they were given,as God had commanded them to do. Because of this, they compromised for less than what God could and wanted to give them.
~ How often do we do that? How many times does our own disobedience cause us to compromise for far less than what God has for us?
Here, we are introduced to why God appointed judges (deliverers) for His people. The Israelites served the Lord throughout Joshua's lifetime. (Verses 6-9) Unfortunately, this did not last.
"After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things He had done for Israel. The Israelites did evil in the Lord's sight and served the images of baal. They abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the Lord. They abandoned the Lord to serve baal and the images of ashtoreth. This made the Lord burn with anger against Israel, so he handed them over to the raiders who stole their possessions. He turned them over to their enemies all around, and they were no longer able to resist them. Every time Israel went out to battle, the Lord fought against them, causing them to be defeated, just as He had warned. And the people were in great distress." ~ Judges 2:10-15
It was after this that the Lord raised up judges to rescue Israel. He would be with each judge and rescue His people during that judge's lifetime because He is merciful and took pity on His people who were suffering. Sadly, Israel refused to learn their lesson. After a judge would die they would return to their wickedness, behaving worse than the time before. (Verses 16-23)
Here, we are introduced to three judges.
Othniel, Caleb's son-in-law and nephew. (Judges 1:12-13) The Lord gave him victory over King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram and brought peace to Israel for forty years. (Judges 3: 9-11)
Ehud, left-handed from the tribe of Benjamin. Ehud's victory over King Eglon of Moab is quite a detailed and interesting story. If you haven't read it yet, be sure to have a strong stomach. Don't eat as you read it. God used Ehud to conquer Moab and then gave Israel peace for eighty years, during Ehud's lifetime. (Verses 12-30)
We are given only a small glimpse of the third judge, Shamgar.
" After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath rescued Israel. He once killed 600 Phililistines with an ox goad." ~ Judges 3:31
Chapters 4 and 5
Most of us have either read or heard of the story of Deborah and Barak. Deborah is the only female judge mentioned in Scripture. Because we know that God raised up the judges for His people, we can be sure that He had a purpose for choosing her as judge for that time. At the time that God called her, Israel had been ruthlessly oppressed by Sisera of Hazor for twenty years. (Judges 4:1-5)
Deborah sent for Barak and gave him the following orders from God:
* take 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun
* Sisera will be called out and you will be given victory over him
Barak only agreed to these terms if Deborah would go with him. (Judges 4:6-8)
"Very well," she replied, "I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord's victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman." So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. At Kedesh, Barak called together the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and 10,000 warriors went up with him. Deborah also went with him. ~ Judges 4:9-10
Now, I have to admit, in reading this, I thought that the " victory at the hand of a woman" meant Deborah. But that was not the case! Honestly, I have read and heard this story many times, but I did not recall how Sisera died or who took him out. Let me set this story up for you.
After hearing what was going on, Sisera went out with all his warriors and 900 chariots to meet Barak. When Barak and his 10,000 warriors began to attack, God caused Sisera and his men to panic. As Barak and his warriors successfully defeated all of Sisera's men, Sisera escaped to Heber's wife, Jael's tent. It's important to mention here, that Sisera was under the impression that he was in friendly territory. Although Heber was a descendant of Moses' brother-in-law, he was living in Kedesh and was on friendly terms with Sisera's king. So, here he sees sweet looking Jael, and thinks he is safe. He's exhausted and thirsty and this woman seems so inviting.
"Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, "Come in to my tent, sir. Come in. Don't be afraid." So he went into her tent and she covered him with a blanket." ~ Judges 4:18
Sisera asks for water, she gives him milk. He asks her to stand by her tent door and tell anyone who may be looking for him that he is not there. It's not stated, but I am certain that she sweetly agreed, probably smiled, and waited outside. Once he was asleep, Jael did something I was just not expecting. She took a hammer and a tent peg and drove the peg through Sisera's temple while he slept! (What?! As I am reading this, I felt like I was sitting in the movie theater watching it on screen. I totally didn't see that coming.) Now, it's important to realize how she could physically do something like this. Obviously, God used her to defeat Sisera, but Jael's physical strength came from the common practice of setting up and pulling down tents. Soon, Barak came looking for Sisera, and Jael took him right to where he lay. (Judges 4:19-23)
In chapter 5, Deborah and Barak sing a song of praise, proclaiming how Sisera and their enemies were brought down. The song gave tribute to Jael for her victory over Sisera. (Remember, Deborah had stated that God's victory over Sisera would be at the hand of a woman.)
I must also mention verses 27-30 of chapter 5. These verses give the thoughts and worries of Sisera's mother as she awaited his return. I just find it interesting that this was added. What do you think?
As the song came to an end, the final praise went to God.
"Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength." So the land had rest for forty years. ~ Judges 5:31 (NKJV)
I hope as you read through these chapters this past week, the Lord spoke directly to your heart. God's mercy to His people never ceases to amaze me. Time and time again, they would cry out to Him, He would rescue them but then they would fall right back into the stronghold of sin. I am so grateful for His mercy, because I have done the same thing so many times. Yet, time and time again He reaches down and rescues me.
I am excited to continue in our study of Judges this next week.
Keep reading, Sweet Sisters!
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. "
Hi! I'm Andrea, wife to my handsome hubby, homeschooling mama to my 5 amazing blessings (with one more on the way), and daughter of the King of kings. I am so glad you have stopped by my little piece of the web. My prayer is that the Lord will use this blog to encourage you in your personal, daily walk with Christ.