The Cycle Of Judges


Judges 2:6-10 And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. 7 And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that he did for Israel. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. 10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

We Are Saved To Shine Against Darkness

One commentary noted of Joshua:

Joshua spent the remainder of his life leading the Israelites – first across the Jordan and then into battle after battle in the conquest of Canaan. His mission: to carve out a sizable beachhead which would serve as a launching point from which the individual tribes could finish the job in their assigned territories. Despite a few setbacks (Joshua 7, 9) Joshua enjoyed wild success, conquering six nations and thirty-one kings (Josh 11:18-23; 12:24).”

Joshua put the Lord first in all that he did. He did not try and conquer Canaan himself, but helped Israel get to the point where each tribe would be able – in faith – to reach out and conquer their own lands. There is a reason for this, one we can easily see in our present generation.

Costs Nothing, Worth Nothing: When I was growing up, very few parents bought their children their first car. When I wanted a car, dad told me to work for it, and that he would help. My granddaddy gave me a 1958 Rambler (wish I had it today) that I thought little of. It cost me nothing. It was old. Real old. Old As ME. So I really mistreated that car. But when I bought my first car, I spent part of every weekend washing, waxing, and polishing it both inside and out. The kids that received their cars gratis mistreated them, cared little for them. When you work for it, you care about it.

Joshua worked for God, and did as God said. But he expected each believer to do their part. It is a principle of Scripture that:

2 Thessalonians 3:10 … if a person will not work, that person shall not eat …

1 Thessalonians 5:18 … a worker deserves their wages

Joshua did a great job for the Lord. We read in verse 7:

the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord,
that he did for Israel

The people served God while Joshua was alive. Joshua had seen all the great works of the Lord, and shared his testimony of victory with those around him. His testimony led others to trust in and obey the Lord – and this brought unprecedented victory. The people also served God while the ELDERS THAT OUTLIVED JOSHUA were alive. Again, these elders who served with Joshua saw how God had been faithful. God had helped Israel overcome impossible odds. God fed Israel with manna. God helped Israel conquer greater foes.

But Israel drifted from testing and trusting God. Faith believes in God, though the evidence appears otherwise. The Bible defines faith thusly:

Hebrews 11:1, 6 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. … 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

The faith that saves “believes that God is” as He says He is. The faith that blesses must “diligently seek Him”. God blesses those who shine for Him.

When we come together as God’s people, we do so to encourage one another, to share how God has “given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). We come together as believers – whether as Israel under the Old Covenant or the Church under the New Covenant – to build up our faith. We read:

Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

You cannot “hold fast” your profession of faith if you are not working together with other believers. Your light MUST shine. You must live for God. People need to see Christ in you.

Plant The Gospel Seed Where You Can – Or Else

Judges 2:10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

Why didn’t this “generation” have a knowledge of God? Because God’s people got comfortable in their faith. They stopped telling their children about Jesus, stopped taking their kids to Church. It was too much work. God told Israel – and us:

Deuteronomy 6:4-5, 7 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. … 7 and thou shalt teach your children {the Word of God} diligently

I learned “hot” from my mama. She taught not to be burned, and how to harness fire to cook and care for the family. My dad taught me “fire”, and how to control it to burn off fields, burn trash, make campfires and barbecues. If someone doesn’t teach “hot” and “fire”, the child grows up ignorant and lazy … or an arsonist.

We must teach God to the new generation.
The government won’t do it, and often the parent won’t do it.
We are to get off the couch and shine!

When believers do not share the truths of God darkness grows. When believers stay in the Church and in the home and do not reach out in faith, in time no one remembers the great victories that faith brought in the previous generation. When we are told that this new generation knew not the Lord, this doesn’t mean they didn’t have a newspaper or dictionary knowledge of God. The Nelson Commentary notes, “The meaning of did not know [v. 10] is that the people deliberately refused to acknowledge God’s authority. It is not simply that they were ignorant, but that they were in unbelief”. This is much like our America today. Each person – each generation – must experience the power of God.

We live in a day of “easy believism” that touts a salvation without a Sovereign, and Calvary without a Cross.

When you do not pursue God’s presence and God’s will diligently, then in time complacency creeps in. Another commentary notes, “Biblical faith is only one generation away from extinction if parents and the community of faith fail to pass on, not just facts about God, but an intimate, daily, obedient faith relationship with Him (cf. Deut. 6:4-9)!”

It Is Evil For Us Not To Follow God

There are preachers today who teach that you can be saved, and never follow God. I believe these people are deluded – and need to read their Bibles. If you are saved, you MUST follow God. It is not optional.

Judges 2:11-13 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. 13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

You often see parallels in Judges that help explain the verses. For instance, in verse 11 we read:

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord,
and served Baalim

As I read the text, I see the children of Israel did evil where God could see it, then we have and followed by served Baalim. Let’s start with What are “Baalim? This is the Hebrew Baʿal which simply means “lord”. The Baʿal was the supreme male god of the Phoenicians or Canaanites. The Baʿal is a false god, totally detached from the God of the Holy Bible. Just before Jesus went to the Cross – dying for our sins – He prayed these words in …

John 17:1-3 {Jesus prayed} … Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

The God of our Bible, the God that sent Jesus Christ to this earth, is the only true God. There are no other gods and goddesses but One, that is our God. The Apostle wrote:

1 John 5:20 (ESV) … we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Moses came representing God under the Law, but man would not listen. So Jesus came representing God under Grace – and yet often man will not listen. Jesus is the Manifest Member of the Godhead. All other gods and goddesses that have ever been are but pale imitations of the True God. Many people chase after these imitations, but what they chase is a figment of the imagination. There is but ONE God, and His story is found in the Holy Bible. The Prophet said:

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (ESV) Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Israel stopped following God, and instead followed Baalim or Baʿal. In verse 11 we read the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim. What led them to serving Baalim”? The next verse says:

vs 12 they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them

Rather than honoring the God Who saved them, they turned away from Him to follow other false gods. Why? We were designed to worship. We are made in the image of God, to walk with God. When we do not pursue God, we will pursue false gods.

Judges 2:13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

Word Study: What is the difference between Baal and “Ashtaroth”? The male god Baal was associated with the sun and nature (rain, plant growth). The goddess Ashtaroth was related to sexuality and fertility. These false gods can be traced back to Nimrod, a mighty politician and a mighty hunter (Genesis 10:8-12) who built the cities of Babel, Erech, Accad, Calneh, Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen. He had no love for God, but for himself and his power. When the devil tempted our Lord Jesus in the wilderness, he said:

Matthew 4:9 “All these worldly kingdoms I will give You, if You will fall down and worship me.”

Many people have “gained the whole world, but lost their soul” (Mark 8:34-38). Jesus told Satan,

Matthew 4:10 … “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’

You can gain much following Satan. But in time, you’ll find that it’s a bad path to follow. The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge” states:

“The greatest sin a human being can commit is not murder or rape or other despicable acts of atrocity. It is to turn his back on the living God to serve man-made gods”.

When we turn away from the God Who made us, the God of the Scripture, we turn against the God Who designed our conscience and our souls.

When God’s People Sin, The Great Shepherd Punishes

Judges 2:14-15 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.

If you are a Christian, you are a part of the Family of God – and God is your Father. When God’s Children walk away and wallow in sin, God WILL punish. We are told in:

Hebrews 12:5-11 (ESV) “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

God disciplines His people when they wander away from what He has deemed righteous. Discipline should not discourage us, but encourage us. The proof of salvation is that – when disciplined – we repent and return to our Father and Savior. When God disciplines, He often uses others – sometimes our enemies – to punish us. God delivered Israel into the hands of spoilers. The word spoilers is the Hebrew šāsâ, the same word as the Egyptian name for the robber Bedouin of the desert, shasu.

These nomadic thieves would come in, rustle cattle, or destroy their crops. Since His people despised their birthright (as did Esau) and sold their Father’s love for a false god, God sold them to the unbelievers. They lost their liberty. When we walk away from God, we enslave ourselves to sin and the things of this world. The Scripture says:

Romans 6:16 (NLT) Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.

God’s people are to walk in the light with God our Savior, obeying Him, living for Him. When we do so, we walk in victory. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4). Walking in faith with God, we will overcome, for our Jesus is the Overcomer. But Beloved, we must stand with Him. We must let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Judges 2:16-19 Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so. 18 And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. 19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.

Now the Bible describes the cycle of disobedience that Israel follows:


Throughout the Book of Judges we do not see Israel gaining any new territory. We see a people stuck in disobedience. But we also see our God Who loves us so much that He raises up Judges to save the nation. We close with:

Judges 2:20-23 … And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; 21 I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: 22 That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. 23 Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.

May we as His people not follow the cycle of discipline that Israel chose. May God the Holy Spirit teach us from His Word. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Judges, Sermons Preached and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.