Review of Genesis thru Joshua
- God made people to be close to him (Genesis 1-2).
- But our bad choices has broken God’s creation and brought death into the world (Genesis 3).
- God wants to rescue us from sin and death (Genesis 3:15).
- God picks a group of people to be part of his rescue plan (Genesis 12).
- This group of people is to be holy, which means set apart for God (Exodus 19, Leviticus).
- Through the holy nation, Israel, God was going to bless the entire world (Exodus 19).
- God desires to redeem his creation, which means to buy it back, to free it.
- God wants things to go back to the way they were in the beginning.
- The 12 tribes make up the holy group of people called Israel who are defined by a particular set of laws to follow that set them apart from all the other nations around them (Leviticus, Deuteronomy).
- The 12 tribes are occupying a piece of land called Canaan after their rescue from Egypt (Joshua). This is the promised land.
What’s so special about that piece of land?
The promised land was in the middle of three continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe. Travellers had to pass through this piece of land to get between the continents and people in Israel could access all the continents as well.
During this time, Israel had leaders that would rise up and help the people when they got in trouble. These leaders were called Judges, and there were 12 of them:
Funny video about the Judges:
What did the Judges actually do?
Joshua died at the end of the book of Joshua and Israel wouldn’t have a centralized leader for 250 years. In fact, God was supposed to be their leader.
What happens when there is no leader? The people get a little bit mischievous… for 250 years.
At the end of the book of Joshua, the Israelites were to root out any remaining inhabitants in the land of Canaan. It was the duty of each tribe to take care of this task in their own territory. Well, the book of Judges is about what happens as a result of the Israelites not completing their assignment to drive out the remaining people in the land. They are led astray by their false gods.
The Israelites get stuck in the cycle of apostasy. Apostasy means to walk away from what you believe, to abandon your belief.
Cycle of Apostasy
- Israelites would abandon God and worship idols.
- God would send them an oppressor to punish his people.
- The Israelites would cry out the the LORD for help.
- God would raise up a Judge to rescue his people.
- The Judge would drive out the oppressor and rescue God’s people.
- The Israelites would worship and serve the LORD only.
Each time the Israelites went around the cycle, their spiritual condition got worse and worse.
Judges is a miserable book where it shows God’s set apart (holy) people not obeying or being different (set apart, holy) than every other nation around them. Judges shows the need for godly leadership, otherwise:
“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25 ESV)