What is Judges All About?

Paying attention to the following themes in Judges can be helpful in using it as a story to better understand your own heart, life, and culture.

Covenant. God is faithful to His covenant people even when they are unfaithful to Him. God’s promise to Abraham, that He would raise up and provide for His people, remains true no matter how many years pass or how many sins are committed.

Reap-Sow. Obedience brings blessing; disobedience brings cursing. Because God is holy and good, like anygood parent, He cannot aid in evil or reward rebellion. Once God lifts His hand of provision and protection, even the slightest demonic evil floods in to cause great suffering and hardship.

Foolish people are motivated by great pain. Over and over in Judges, people do not cry out to God until they are in so much pain that they are desperate and turn to Him as a last resort. While wise people try to live in obedience to God to prevent pain in their life, foolish people don’t seek God until times are terrible.

God answers prayer. Throughout Judges, when people – even rebellious apostate corrupt prodigals – cry out, He hears and answers their prayers.

God is gracious. On every page of Judges, God is gracious. Rather than giving them what they deserve, He gives them grace.

Leadership is never neutral. Leaders either pull people closer to God or pull people further from God.

God is sovereign over everyone and everything. Throughout Judges, there is no one and nothing that is beyond the sovereign rule of God. He rules over the nation of Israel and the nations who invade it. He rules over godly and godless leaders. He rules over the demons worshipped as Baal and Asherah.

God can do perfect work through imperfect people. In judges like Gideon, we see people with faults and flaws who are on their worst days a lot like us. In judges like Samson, we see people with deep defects and brokenness that God still uses despite their profound imperfections.

Success can be hard to manage. In the story of Gideon, for example, he starts as a poor and timid man. By the end of the story, he is a national war hero, rich and powerful. Sadly, he takes for himself a harem and sires around seventy sons, setting the stage for violent infighting in the next generation. He is a man of God, flawed and imperfect like us, and struggles to manage success in a godly manner.

Which of these themes have you seen at work in your own life and how have they strengthened your relationship with God?

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