Have you ever found that there are books in scripture that you read and are familiar with the stories they contain, but you really have struggled to figure out what they can mean for your life? You know that scripture testifies of itself that “all scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV). But then we get to a narrative like we see in Judges, which is graphic, confusing, and even depressing, and it just seems so hard to apply to our lives today.
As we look at scripture, and specifically at the Old Testament, we should always be looking to see how the story we are reading ultimately points to the coming promise of a savior, of Jesus Christ.
Looking at the book of Judges, we see this repeated formula of events where the people of God see what the other nations have and see the false gods that they worship. Then we see this phrase, “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord”, and it is speaking of them being a people that are in apostasy. That is, turning away from the one true God (Yahweh) and turning to the false gods of the people of the land of Canaan. And when they do this, we see that the anger of the Lord is kindled against them, and that he chooses to give them over into the hands of the wicked nations that surround them. And they fall into a time of oppression and slavery, having their crops and livestock taken, and of general disappointment.
Then the people of Israel, seeing their current predicament would cry out to God for mercy and deliverance. And God, being merciful and faithful to the promises that he made to the people, raised up men and women to deliver his people back to him.
It is a beautiful picture of God’s faithfulness to us even when we fail him; of God sending a savior to deliver his people from sin and death (in an earthly, physical way). Over and over again we see this story line in the book of Judges, and over and over again it is God showing us the gospel in a very practical way.
We so often turn from God and pursue our own desires and goals. We so often set aside what we see in his word and run to the things that the world has to offer. But God, being rich in mercy and love for his people sent a savior, his perfect and spotless Son, to deliver us from sin and death on an eternal level. God pursues his people!!! God made the way for us to be reconciled and reunited with him! Praise God for his mercy, praise him for his plan, and praise him for he is good!!!