JUDGES REFLECTION- Day 23
As we wrap up our study on Judges and our Judge reading plan, we end with a reflection.
A Quick Review of Key Themes and the Purpose of Judges. You can read more in the Intro To Judges.
Purpose and Pattern
The book of Judges was written to show the consequences of religious unfaithfulness and to point the way to a king who, if righteous, would lead the people to God. In the book of Joshua, the people of Israel seemed to want to follow the Lord and obey his commands. The book of Judges reveals, however, that the people had been rebelling even in Joshua’s time. This disobedience continued and grew more serious throughout the period of the judges. As summarized in Judges 2:16–23, time and again Israel turned its back on God and embraced the gods and ways of the Canaanites. Israel’s history unfolds in a repetitive way, with each cycle taking Israel further away from God. By the end of the book, Israel had violated its covenant with God in almost every way imaginable.
MEGATHEMES IN JUDGES
|Decline/ Compromise||Whenever a judge died, the people faced decline and failure because they compromised their high spiritual purpose in many ways. They abandoned their mission to drive all the people out of the land, and they adopted the customs of the people living around them.||Society has many rewards to offer those who compromise their faith: wealth, acceptance, recognition, power, and influence. When God gives us a mission, it must not be polluted by a desire for approval from society. We must keep our eyes on Christ, who is our Judge and Deliverer.|
|Israel’s moral downfall had its roots in the fierce independence that each tribe cherished. It led to everyone doing whatever seemed good in his own eyes. There was no unity in government or in worship. Law and order broke down. Finally, idol worship and man-made religion led to the complete abandoning of faith in God.||We can expect decay when we value anything more highly than God. If we value our own independence more than dedication to God, we have placed an idol in our hearts. Soon our lives become temples to that god. We must constantly regard God’s first claim on our lives and all our desires.|
|Defeat/ Oppression||God used evil oppressors to punish the Israelites for their sin, to bring them to the point of repentance, and to test their allegiance to him.||Rebellion against God leads to disaster. God may use defeat to bring wandering hearts back to him. When all else is stripped away, we recognize the importance of serving only him.|
|Repentance||Decline, decay, and defeat caused the people to cry out to God for help. They vowed to turn from idolatry and to turn to God for mercy and deliverance.
When they repented, God delivered them.
|Idolatry gains a foothold in our hearts when we make anything more important than God. We must identify modern idols in our hearts, renounce them, and turn to God for his love and mercy.|
|Deliverance/ Heroes||Because Israel repented, God raised up heroes to deliver his people from their path of sin and the oppression it brought. He used many kinds of people to accomplish this purpose by filling them with his Holy Spirit.||God’s Holy Spirit is available to all people. Anyone who is dedicated to God can be used for his service. Real heroes recognize the futility of human effort without God’s guidance and power.|
What kind of person do you want to be? When people have to stand and talk about you when you’re gone, what do you want them to say? Do you realize that’s up to you? What if you decided to be . . . extraordinary?
- What is one thing you haven’t done that you want to do before you die? Have you taken any steps to do it? Why or why not?
- Do you think our culture values being extraordinary at something or being an extraordinary person? Explain.
- Why do you think most people believe they have to accept living an ordinary life?
- Read Judges 6:11–16. In what ways do you find yourself holding God’s plans for you life at arm’s length? What causes you to do so?
- What would you do if you were confident God was with you, in you, and for you? What would be different about your life?
- In what area of your life do you need to ask, “What would an extraordinary person do?” How can this group help you to answer that question?
You can spend your life doing what you want, when you want, with whom you want like everybody else, but if you do, you’ll never become the best version of you. You will never be extraordinary. A relationship with God isn’t about staying out of trouble. It’s about being extraordinary. Don’t settle for ordinary. Don’t settle for what everyone else is doing.