Key Message / Verse: Judges 2:16-19; 21:25
In stark contrast to Joshua’s victorious message, Judges is the story of repeated failure and oppression. These were Israel’s Dark Ages, when the people forsook God (Judges 2:12-13) and God forsook His people (2:20-23). Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (21:25).
MORAL RELATIVISM: Results of doing your own thing: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6; 21:25)
Backsliding & Recovery; History & Moral of the Story: Judges shows us the terrible reality of backsliding and the amazing grace of the Lord in recovering and restoring us. Isaiah presents this view of history years later in introducing his prophetic work, describing the same fatal steps downward to the captivity of Israel (Isaiah 1).
Wickedness of the Human Heart: Judges 2:11-13, 17, 19; 8:33-35; 10:6; 13:1) There was no region of Israel that was free of wickedness. It happened in the South (3:7-31), the North/Central region (Judges 6:1-10:5), the East (10:6-12:15) and the West (13:1-16:31). “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23).
God’s Delight in using Weak Things: (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
Ehud: assassin with homemade knife (Judges 3)
Deborah: woman, considered weak in ancient culture (Judges 4; 9:53)
Gideon: from an obscure family in smallest tribe (Judges 6)
Shamgar: a redneck with a pointed stick (Judges 3:31)
Gideon’s Army: Little group armed with horns & pitchers (Judges 7)
Jawbone used by Samson (Judges 15:14-19)
Holy Spirit in Judges: (Zechariah 4:6) The Holy Spirit is active in Judges, coming upon the leaders of Israel. Othniel (Judges 3:10), Gideon (Judges 6:34), Jephthah (Judges 11:29), and Samson (Judges 13:25; 14:6; 15:14).
Basic Problem: Lack of Leadership (Judges 1:1; 20:18)
Philosophy of History: Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation / But sin is a disgrace to any people.”