Judges: A Cycle of Disobedience

Scripture Passage: 
Judges 2:1-23; Judges 3:1-8

INTRODUCTION: Judges, chapter one, acts as a transition between Joshua and Judges. Chapter two of Judges introduces the pattern of disobedience, destruction, and disobedience that will be the pattern of the entire book. Israel, in the book of Judges, is a picture of the defeated, carnal Christian. They mix other gods with the true God. They follow the practices of the world. They cry out to God only when they are in great trouble.  Otherwise, they mostly ignore Him. Because of their rebellion and disobedience, they suffer a miserable existence. They are the epitome of everything God’s people should not be.

  1. A MESSAGE OF WARNING FROM GOD (Judges 2:1-5)
    1. The Appearance of the Angel of the Lord (Judges 2:1)
      1. He comes up from Gilgal, the first headquarters for the Israelites in the land (Joshua 4:19-20; Joshua 10:6, 43; Joshua 14:6).
      2. He must have been the angel that followed Israel (Exodus 14:19; Exodus 23:20-23; Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:2; Numbers 20:16; Isaiah 63:9).
      3. This angel is identified in other places as the Lord (Genesis 16:7-13; Genesis 22:15-16) and is certainly an appearance of Jesus Christ before His coming to earth as a baby.
    2. The Message of the Angel (Judges 2:1-3)
      1. God has kept His promises to Israel (Judges 2:1).
        1. He brought them up out of Egypt.
        2. He brought them unto the land of Canaan.
      2. Israel has broken her promises to God (Judges 2:2).
      3. The nations in the midst will be left as a thorn (Judges 2:3).
        1. The nations will be as thorns.
        2. The gods will be a snare.
    3. The Sorrow of the Children of Israel (Judges 2:4-5)
      1. They lift up their voices and weep (Judges 2:4).
      2. They call the place Bochim which means weepers (Judges 2:5).
      3. They sacrifice there unto the Lord (Judges 2:5).
  2. THE PASSING OF THE RIGHTEOUS GENERATION (Judges 2:6-10)
    1. The People Served God during Joshua’s Generation (Judges 2:6-7).
      1. Joshua allowed the people to begin taking their inheritance (Judges 2:6).
      2. The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua (Judges 2:7).
      3. The people served the Lord all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua (Judges 2:7).
    2. Joshua Died and Was Buried (Judges 2:8-9).
      1. He died at 110 years old (Judges 2:8).
      2. They buried him in Timnathheres (Judges 2:9).
    3. Another Generation Arose Which Knew Not the Lord (Judges 2:10).
      1. They didn’t know the person of the Lord – “which knew not the Lord.”
      2. They didn’t know the works of the Lord – “nor yet the works.”
    4. NOTE: We are only one generation away from complete rejection of God and total apostasy. We must always practice Psalm 78:1-8 and 2 Timothy 2:2.
  3. THE CYCLE OF DISOBEDIENCE AND DELIVERANCE (Judges 2:11-19)
    1. The Idolatry of Israel (Judges 2:11-13)
      1. They did evil in the sight of the Lord; that is, they mixed Baal worship with the true ceremonies (Judges 2:11; Zephaniah 1:5).
      2. They forsook the Lord God of their fathers (Judges 2:12); that is, they completely left true worship and went to the gods of the land.
      3. They provoked the Lord to anger (Judges 2:12; Psalm 78:54-59).
      4. They made a complete change in their religion (Judges 2:13).
    2. The Judgment of the Lord (Judges 2:14-15)
      1. They were sold into the hands of their enemies (Judges 2:14).
      2. The Lord’s hand was against them for evil (Judges 2:15).
      3. They were greatly distressed in their burdens (Judges 2:15).
    3. The Deliverance through Judges (Judges 2:16-18)
      1. God raised up judges to deliver them (Judges 2:16).
      2. Even in this, they continued after false gods (Judges 2:17).
      3. Yet, God delivered them because of their groanings (Judges 2:18).
    4. The Return to Corruption (Judges 2:19)
      1. The judge would die.
      2. They became even worse in their sins.
  4. THE NATIONS LEFT IN THE LAND (Judges 2:20-23; Judges 3:1-4)
    1. God Determined To Leave the Unconquered Nations (Judges 2:20-21).
    2. These Nations Were Left To Prove Israel (Judges 2:22-23).
      1. The people were left to prove whether Israel would walk in the way of the Lord or not.
      2. This is much like what is said about the wilderness wanderings (Deuteronomy 8:2).
    3. Through These Nations Israel Continued To War (Judges 3:1-4).
  5. THE OPPRESSION OF MESOPOTAMIA (Judges 3:5-8)
    1. The Children of Israel Dwelt among the Inhabitants of the Land (Judges 3:5).
    2. They Intermingled with the Inhabitants of the Land (Judges 3:6).
      1. They gave of their sons and daughters for marriage.
      2. They served their gods.
    3. They Did Evil in the Sight of the Lord (Judges 3:7).
      1. They did evil in the sight of the Lord.
      2. They forgat the Lord.
      3. They served Baalim and the groves.
    4. God Sold Them into the Hand of Mesopotamia (Judges 3:8).
      1. The anger of the Lord was against Israel.
      2. He sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia.
      3. They served Chushan-rishathaim for eight years.

CONCLUSION: We stop this lesson with the oppression of the Israelites by Mesopotamia. They will be delivered in the next lesson only to fall into another disaster. They never seem to learn from their errors. There are many Christians today who live like these Israelites. They continually hurt themselves by their disobedience to the Lord, yet, they never seem to learn. You need to determine in your heart not to be one of these Christians.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 5:5

Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.