JUDGES PT. 1
The book of Joshua ends with the Israelites emphatically declaring, “We will serve the Lord.” From the very beginning of the book of Judges, it is clear that the Israelites' actions do not match their words. In fact, the book of Judges records one of the most vivid, heartbreaking pictures of the Israelite people’s brokenness and sin. It captures, repeatedly, their rebellion against God and His loving commands. Judges is a dark book, full of violence, death, and disobedience. Nonetheless, despite the depth of Israel’s sin, God’s patient and steadfast love is greater. He is always ready to receive His people, should they turn to Him with repentant hearts.
You will find a recurring cycle in Judges, which is represented in the graphic to the right. Seven times throughout Judges, we see the following pattern:
- The Israelites rebel against God in sin.
- Their sin leads them into servitude, or oppression.
- They repent, crying out to God in supplication, or prayer.
- The Lord brings them salvation, or freedom, thanks to the rise of a judge (typically a military leader), who frees the Israelite people and leads them into a time of peace. When the judge dies, the cycle repeats itself.
The picture of God’s patient love in Judges is still true today. Despite the depth and extent of our sin, God’s love is greater. He is always ready to receive those who come to Him with repentant hearts through faith in Jesus.
FOR THIS WEEK'S SERMON OVER JUDGES 2, LISTEN BELOW:
FOR ADDITIONAL CONTEXT ON THE BOOK OF JUDGES, WATCH THIS VIDEO:
OLD TESTAMENT VISUALIZED
THE JUDGES CYCLE
There are 12 judges throughout the book of Judges, but listed here are the seven times the nation of Israel goes through the Judges cycle and the people group they are saved from.
Judges 1:1-2, 27-34, 2:1-5
Like the Israelite people, we still rebel against God’s laws and the goodness of God’s laws. Our sinful choices keep us oppressed. We do not always trust Him to change our hearts but instead we attempt to change by our own efforts.
Joshua charged the people to choose to serve the Lord. Then, Joshua promised that the people would experience freedom from their enemies and great blessings! Each must decide, but Joshua’s family would serve the Lord.
This is the reason we need the family ingredient of Course Correction. If we or our children do not choose wisely, then consequences are painful. Yet, God continually calls us to return and be faithful. Correcting our children guides them through the steps of painful consequences, loving reassurance, repentance and a corrected, obedient path.
- In Judges 1:2b, what did God promise the people He had given them? Does God ever lie?
- When some of the different tribes attempted to take over the land from the enemy, what happened? Why?
- What instructions did the angel of the Lord give the people in Judges 2:1-2? Did the people obey? What were the consequences of their disobedience?
- The enemies in their land are like sins in our lives. What are some sins that are hard to stop doing?
Activity 1: Minute To Win It Family Night
Challenge: complete actions as many times as possible in 1 minute. Conclusion: discuss sin’s pull and how impossible it seems to resist. Pray, asking God’s Spirit for help.
- Penny Tower: How many pennies can you stack? Younger children -- use blocks.
- Sock It: How many socks can you toss in container?
- For more challenges, search on Google "holly's home minute to win it bible."
Activity 2: "We Will Serve the Lord" Tactile Picture Craft
Supplies: craft sticks, crayons, paper, cotton balls, paint (optional), glue.
- 1. Color/paint paper blue. Color craft sticks for house.
- 2. Cut 11” X 1” strips green paper; cut slits partway down grass.
- 3. Glue craft sticks on paper to form house, draw windows/door.
- 4. Draw clouds. Add cotton balls. Glue on grass.
- 5. Discuss and write out Scripture (Joshua 24:15).
- 6. Family: sign names and pray for God’s help.
Small Group Discussion
- What promise is there to claim? The Israelites repeatedly turned to the idols of the surrounding nations despite God’s repeated warnings.
ANSWER: The Israelites were influenced by the culture surrounding them. The appeal to fit in was greater than their commitment to the Lord’s promises.
- What appeals to your sin nature and tempts you to turn from God and hope in other things?
ANSWER: Whatever the world around you worships.