Wednesday, May 22, 2019

2019.05.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 2:6-3:6

Questions for Littles: Who dismissed the people in Judges 2:6? When did the people serve Yahweh (Judges 2:7)? Who dies in Judges 2:8? Where do they bury him (Judges 2:9)? What significant piece of information does Judges 2:10 give us about the next generation? What do these “children of Israel” do in Judges 2:11a? Whom do they serve? Whom do they forsake (Judges 2:12a)? What had Yahweh done (verse 12b)? Whom did they follow? To what did they provoke the Lord? Whom did they serve (Judges 2:13)? What was hot against Israel in Judges 2:14? So, what did the Lord do? According to Judges 2:15, what had the Lord said and sworn to do? How did Israel respond? With what beautiful word does Judges 2:16 begin? Whom did Yahweh raise up? To do what? But how did Israel respond after they were delivered (Judges 2:17)? What did Yahweh do with each judge (Judges 2:18)? For how long? For what reason? When the judge would die, what would Israel do (Judges 2:19)? What was hot against Israel in Judges 2:20? What long-lasting penalty did He pronounce against them in Judges 2:21 and Judges 2:23? What would the presence of these nations test (Judges 2:22 and Judges 3:4)? What does Judges 3:1 tell us that it is about to list? What had this new generation of Israelites not known? What ten nations are named in Judges 3:3 and Judges 3:5? What summary statement gives us the results of the test” in Judges 3:6.
This passage describes a pattern that follows through the rest of the book of Judges: Israel descends into wickedness; God gives them over to their enemies; God raises up a deliverer; when the deliverer dies, Israel descends back into their wickedness; and, so on. But this passage also gives us some important theological comments on the features of the pattern.

One is the Lord’s “hot anger” in Judges 2:11 and Judges 3:20. The Lord’s mercifully saving them and bringing them out of Egypt does not mean He has compromised His standards. And the Lord does not compromise His standards in the slightest bit when He saves us either!

Another important feature is the Lord’s faithfulness. Yahweh being “against them for calamity” in Judges 2:15 is “as Yahweh had said, and as Yahweh had sworn.” The Lord has promised to be faithful not just in covenant blessing but also in covenant curse. And, He has promised to us that if we are true believers, then whatever pain is necessary to bring us back into line, He will faithfully inflict upon us (cf. Hebrews 12:3-17).

Third, we see Yahweh’s compassion. He is “moved to pity by their groaning” (Judges 2:18). In light of the hotness of His anger, and the faithful reliability of His painful punishments for them, the tender compassion of the Lord is all the more stunning!

Fourth, we see part of His purpose for leaving things in our lives that might compete with Him for our affection and devotion. Judges 2:22 and Judges 3:4 tell us that these are opportunities for our hearts to express their allegiance. Living in a national culture or church culture in which there are religious observances that are made up by man is a test “whether they will keep the ways of Yahweh” (Judges 2:22) and “whether they would obey the commandments of Yahweh” (Judges 3:4). The failure goes all the way to Matthew 15:9 (and even the present day, retaining the name Ashtoreth/Ishtar/Eostre, Judges 2:13), where Jesus calls all worship of God vain (empty and blasphemous), when the precepts of men are observed as commandments. The Lord sometimes leaves impurity around us simply to test whether we will have His commandments be our only ultimate authority.

The repeated refrain throughout the book will be, “And there was no king in Israel, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” The book of Judges will demand to know of us whether we are satisfied for being saved out of crises from time to time, or whether instead we will know the Lord, and rejoice to be ruled always and only by King Jesus!
How much of you does King Jesus demand? Where could this most be improved? 
Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH1A “That Man Is Blest”

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