Wow. The book of Judges had some really interesting characters in it. Especially one of the last ones, Samson. He just couldn’t figure out how to be a stable “image of God” bearer. It seemed like he always was in a rash state of mind—unstable is a word I would use.
The Main Street students have heard about The Cycle of Sin over and over again. And not only was it a vicious cycle the Israelites experienced for around 400 years, it also progressed downward, meaning: more and more sinful. At the end of the book of Judges, the stories tell of an Israel (who’s supposed to look like the God of heaven and earth) that looks more like Sodom and Gomorrah (whom God destroyed in Genesis 19). Judges is a depressing book. It’s almost like the author wants the reader to be thinking:
“Man! These guys are idiots! Don’t they get it! God wants them to look like Him. What’s their problem? Doesn’t it eventually sink in?”
In Judges, no, it does not.
It’s not until the next book, Ruth, does a little ray of light shine in this time of “badness”. The book of Ruth opens with this line:
“In the days when the judges ruled…” (Ruth 1:1)
And then there’s this beautiful story about a man who cares for a foreigner and redeems her (kinsman-redeemer) and does the right thing in God’s eyes, instead of the wrong thing in God’s eyes. This story shows that God is working out his purpose for Israel even when Israel is doing (overall) some really bad things. God is working in subtle and small ways.
Hmmm… maybe that is how the kingdom of Jesus works: small and subtle ways.