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Murder, hatred, idolatry, greed, cowardice, exploitation, abuse of women and children: the dark side of human life is one which we would rather avoid, but in the book of Judges it is on full display in the attitudes and behavior of God’s own people. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why many modern Christians neglect Judges, because it is filled with so much tragedy.
But Judges isn’t just a tragic depiction of the faithlessness of God’s people. It is at the same time a startling account of the patience and faithfulness of a God who refuses to abandon His people, even when they are at their very worst. In this study, we will focus our attention on the faithfulness of God by studying the stories of the redeemers that He uses to bring deliverance to His people.
Judges is the "Wild West" of the Old Testament, filled with stories of violence, deceit, betrayal, abuse, and vigilante justice. How can we possibly be edified by this book? How can we read it well?
Deborah, the only female Judge, encourages the militia leader Barak to lead Israel into battle against the Canaanite commander Sisera, a story that not only teaches us the importance of encouragement, but also the relationship between courage and faith.
The story of Gideon is often used to teach children about humility, faith, and courage, but the truth is that Gideon is flawed: a poor role model who seems to bring as much harm as good to the people of Israel. Gideon’s story shows us the relationship between idolatry and power.
Jephthah committed an atrocity, making a blood sacrifice of his own daughter, and retelling this tragic story from Judges reveals how a flawed view of the world may result in terrible consequences.
Samson's story caps this series of flawed and tragic heroes in Judges. Though the model of a born leader, Samson scorns his calling and seeks nothing more than his own gratification. God remains faithful, despite Samson's failings, as we learn the difference between deliverer we want and the deliverer we need.
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