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Why Judges?

“What made you decide to do a sermon series on the book of Judges?” I’ve been asked that
question at least a dozen times now, and to be honest, it’s a fair question. I’ve actually never
heard anyone teach all the way through this strange book. And now that we are four teachings in, maybe you already understand why! There’s brutal death, betrayal, idolatry, and not too many lasting feel-good moments. However, it’s Scripture, and I’m a believer that our entire Bible is pointing to Jesus and serves as an encouragement for us to follow Him.
 
I felt led to do our Judges sermon series late one night after reading the final few chapters. The
entire book of Judges is a frustrating back-and-forth that has the same recurring theme: enemies take the Israelites captive, God raises up a deliverer, God’s people turn from His goodness, enemies take them captive…broken record! However, believe it or not, in the last few chapters, it actually gets worse.
 
When we get to chapters 17-21, we will be reading about the moral decline of Israel. Horrendous abuses and terrible things take place. God’s people seem to altogether abandon His ways. Even though God had rescued them time and time again, even though God had accomplished great and mighty things in their midst, they still willingly strayed from His protection. Idolatry, violence, and moral depravity began to take a serious hold as the people turned from God’s peace and turned to their own desires.  
 
You would hope there’s a “they lived happily ever after” ending to this book, but it’s best to
prepare yourself. The whole book ends at the 21st chapter and the 25th verse with these chilling words: “In those days, Israel had no king.  Everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 21:25).
 
In my own life, I know the repercussions of doing as I see fit and not as God directs. I would
LOVE for my kids, and for all of us, never to experience that in our own lives! But they will, and
we will. We’re all sinners.
 
I’ve been teaching the meaning of Judges 21:25 to my kids, and I really desire for this verse to be
hidden in their hearts (Ps. 119:11) so that more and more, as they grow, they will willingly trust
and surrender to God’s direction; thereby, less and less, they will be drawn to do as they see fit. I truly believe a life following Jesus’s ways brings us the greatest peace and joy in this life.
 
Many of us find ourselves learning life’s painful lessons the hard way, yet maybe, by studying
the book of Judges, we can learn from those who have gone before us and save ourselves the
pain.
 
Peace,
Nick