Jul 01, 2016 Words of Grace – Why Judges?
A moment of honesty here Judges is one of those books that I have not been eager to preach. I’m sure there are hardcore pastors who relish the thought of talking about battles and blood, and preaching through Judges is permission for them to do so. But for me, it’s a challenge.
Some of the descriptions of the violence and abuse in Judges are so graphic that I would not want to watch them in a movie. I’m not even sure how to talk about a few of the chapters with children present on Sunday morning. (Parents, don’t worry. We will not get to those chapters this Sunday. I will give you warning before we do.)
Judges is a book that does not lead to a happy ending. Nothing in Judges gets better along the way, only worse. In fact, it ends with a situation that seems hopeless. If there weren’t more books of the Bible to tell us otherwise, we would think that God’s redemptive plan in history is a complete failure.
So why do we have Judges and why preach from it?
In the book of Judges, God has given us a message about ourselves. When we read how far from God the people of Israel fell, we are tempted to think that we are different and that we would never sin as severely as they did. But the picture of ourselves we get in Judges is that, when we forget the Lord and the great work he has done, then “everyone does what is right in his own eyes.” Detached from our Creator we can sink to unimaginable moral lows.
Judges ends on this low note. There seems to be an absence of a true deliverer for God’s people, one who will turn their hearts back to the Lord. It is the absence of a final deliverer and the moral low of the people that leave us looking for someone to step in and bring a change.
When we read Judges, God gives us a reason to hope for a Savior. Thankfully, Judges is not the last book of the Bible. The books that follow reveal God’s ongoing activity to renew this rebellious people, preserve them from their enemies, and bring forth his Son from among them to deliver us from enslavement to sin and from our own sinful hearts. The human judges were helpful and used by God to save the people from their enemies, but that salvation was partial and temporary. They leave us longing for something greater, complete, and lasting.
We are not left long in this longing. The great Deliverer has come; he is Jesus.
I am grateful to have and to preach Judges. I believe the next weeks together in this great Bible book can be transformative for us. Will you pray with me toward that end?