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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

2019.05.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 1:1-26

Questions for Littles: After what does this take place (Judges 1:1)? What do the Israelites ask the Lord? Whom does the Lord say shall go up (Judges 1:2a)? What has the Lord done (verse 2b)? Whom do Judah invite to go along (Judges 1:3)? What does Yahweh do (Judges 1:4)? Whom do they defeat in Judges 1:5? What do they do to their king (Judges 1:6)? Who else had done this to whom (Judges 1:7)? What other city do they take (Judges 1:8)? Where else does Judah gain victories, and whom else do they defeat (Judges 1:9-10)? Whose land is taken at this point (Judges 1:11-15)? How does he get someone to conquer it for him (Judges 1:12)? Who does it (Judges 1:13)? Who makes a special request of Caleb (Judges 1:14)? What does she ask (Judges 1:15a)? What does he give her (verse 15b)? Who goes with Judah at this point (Judges 1:16)? Who else’s region does Judah help conquer (Judges 1:17-18)? How does Judges 1:19 explain all of this success? What surprising explanation does verse 19 give for the inability to conquer the lowland? What did Benjamin fail to do, even though they had conquered Jerusalem (Judges 1:21)? Where were the Benjamites successful (Judges 1:22)? How did they do that (Judges 1:23-25)? Where did the spy that they released go, and what did he do (Judges 1:26)? 
The first 26 verses of the book of Judges sound promising, but they are part of a larger section in the first 2 chapters that introduce the theme of Israel’s failures. The Lord is making promises and keeping them, but there are small inadequacies here and there on Israel’s part that are indications of trouble to come.

Judah is specifically delegated by God, but asks Simeon to come with him. Somewhere, their dependence upon Yahweh and devotion to Yahweh breaks down. It’s not like the text believes that iron chariots are stronger than the living God (Judges 1:19).

Benjamin, too, fails to drive the Jebusites out (Judges 1:21), even though the Lord is with them (Judges 1:22). They also unilaterally repeat the sin of permitting a Canaanite to live, and he promptly establishes a new Canaanite city-state (Judges 1:26).

Whatever victory they have is from the Lord. This is reflected in the symmetrical justice upon Adoni-Bezek (cf. Judges 1:7), the fulfilled promise to Caleb, and the “presence” statements of Judges 1:19 and Judges 1:22. But there is a lot of failure here, and the text directly connects it to disobedience.

We are getting ready for an entire book of hearing that though they follow the Lord when it seems convenient, these people are basically all “doing what is right in their own eyes.” And that is a danger that faces every generation of the church: simply following the Lord about as far as seems convenient to us, but when it boils down to it, really just “doing what is right in our own eyes.” The frightening thing is what this means for us; the book of Judges will be explaining it as a consequence of the fact that “there was no king in Israel.” But, considering who is supposed to be our King, God have mercy and grant that it could not be fairly said of us that we are following only as far as seems convenient!
In what parts of life are you following Christ only as far as seems convenient?
Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before You Come” or TPH187 “I Belong to Jesus”

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