Wednesday, May 15, 2019

2019.05.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 1:27-2:6

Questions for Littles: What did Manasseh not do in Judges 1:27? With how many villages and their inhabitants? What reason is given? What had happened in the time to which Judges 1:28 refers? What did Israel do? What didn’t they do? What did Ephraim not do in Judges 1:29? What did Zebulon not do in Judges 1:30? With whom? But what did they do? What did Asher not do in Judges 1:31? To whom? What didn’t Naphtali do in Judges 1:33? To whom? But what did they do to them? What was done to Dan from their own territory in Judges 1:34? When they became stronger, what did they do (Judges 1:35)? Whom did all of these tribes end up having living among them (Judges 1:29Judges 1:32Judges 1:33)? What had been done at Gilgal in Joshua 5:10-12? Who comes up from there now in Judges 2:1? What had he forbidden Israel to do (Judges 2:2)? What had He commanded Israel to do? Of what does He now accuse them? What does He say that He won’t do now (Judges 2:3)? What will the Canaanites become to Israel? What will their gods become unto Israel? How do the children of Israel respond in Judges 2:4? And what do they call the place (Judges 2:5)? And what do they do there? How does Judges 2:6 clue us into the fact that this sequence of events actually came before Judges 1:1-26?
We’re tempted, when we read the rest of the book of Judges, to see it as a downhill slide from a golden age of faithfulness under Joshua to the pits of despair by the time we get to the “Eli & Sons” priestly administration with which 1 Samuel begins. The problem with that is the jarring revelation in Judges 2:6, “And when Joshua had dismissed the people…”

We’ve turned back the clock. Judges 2:6-9 basically ends up covering the same ground as Joshua 24:29-31. So, although the people did in fact serve the Lord during the lifetime of Joshua and his contemporary elders, the seeds of their rebellion were already there. They were lazy.

Repeatedly, we see that the Canaanites were determined (Judges 1:27 and Judges 1:35). Repeatedly, we see that even when Israel could have followed God’s commands, they preferred receiving tax money over rendering obedience (Judges 1:28Judges 1:30Judges 1:33Judges 1:35). Sure, they worshiped Yahweh, but when push came to shove, laziness and greediness were more important than uncomfortable separation from the world (Judges 2:2a) or the offensive and difficult work of shattering all man-made worship (verse 2b).

So the Lord announces to them that He will bring upon them the consequences of their choices. And what do they do? Cry. Not all sorrow is godly sorrow. Sometimes, we cry because we got caught or because we feel badly about the consequences. But, if it doesn’t produce repentance—a change of course, then it is not godly sorrow (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10).

This all puts Judges 1:1-26 into a different perspective. What had appeared to be “minor” flaws in an otherwise reasonably good start now look rather ghastly: it’s more of the same rebellion that earned Weepingville its name. It’s the threatened judgment of Judges 2:3 beginning to be carried out.

The Lord wants whole hearts. Devoted obedience with diligence and contentment (cf. 1 Timothy 6:6-11). And, when we see our sin and its consequences, wholehearted sorrow that produces fruit that is in keeping with repentance (cf. Matthew 3:8 and Luke 3:8). Are we lazy? Greedy? What does our “repentance” look like?
In what parts of your Christian life do you shrink back from doing what requires diligence and strength? In what ways are you careless about having your mind and heart shaped by the world? What consequences have you seen from this? How have you responded to those consequences?
Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH51C “God, Be Merciful to Me”

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