A Judge, as in the book of Judges, is not a bewigged official who presides over a trial in a Court of Law, but someone who puts things right and oh how much the people of Israel needed that, after the death of Joshua.
Judges 2.10-14 records the low point to which God’s special people had sunk after the generation who had been led into the Promised Land by Joshua had died.
After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD, nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshipped various gods of the people around them. They provoked the LORD to anger……….in his anger against Israel, the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around….’
This failure to keep their side of the Covenant led to God’s anger being directed towards them in the form of attacks and opposition from the surrounding nations which continued until they were able to bear such, no longer, and cried out to the LORD.
There were 12 such men raised up by God and each in turn brought a period of peace and freedom from those whom God used to bring judgement on his people. But each of them was flawed, like everyone else, and when they died, the old ways quickly returned and God’s people sunk to what could be described as an all time low recorded in
The final words of the book are salutary indeed. In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit. Judges 21.25
A tragic summary when set against the heart of the Mosaic Covenant ‘you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ Exodus 19.6.
By definition a kingdom has a king but the people had rejected God in spite of his grace and mercy in providing the Judges. As a result the Covenant hung by a thread as the people failed to keep their part, but God could not renege on his part and the way to the coming of the one who would ultimately crush the serpent’s head would continue, on its often dangerous and rocky course.
I appreciate that the Judges were 12 in number casting great doubt on my ability to count as my 25 people are already over the limit on day 8 but I felt it was important to include this crucial period of redemption history for it shows that God’s Covenant stands sure against every attack of the evil one, and will deliver. A truth we must hold firm as the western world in particular ‘does at it sees fit.’
Hold to the truth, which we will focus on tomorrow, that God uses unlikely people in unlikely circumstances to advance his good purposes for his people, and remember, he cannot break his promises.