Vol. 2, No. 3 – 2017
When the people were in their terrible plight, caused by their own behavior, The Lord raised up judges (to bail them out). Judges 2:16
Have you ever pulled up to a traffic light, watching the colors go from green, to yellow, to red? Then the light goes back to green, and your car stalls! Behind you, a car blasts its horn, then a multitude joins in.
After the death of Joshua (11th Century, B.C.), the people of Israel experienced a similar event. However, their lights were of four colors: green, black, red, and yellow. They were indicative of four patterns of their lives before God:
- Return to God
- Rupture from God
- Retribution by God
- Rest with God
Over 350 years, the Israelites, seven times, faced cyclical events filled with struggles, disasters, and heartaches. The book of Judges gives the history of their exploits, and introduces us to the small band of men and women called judges.
They were atypical to today’s judges; they did not function to simply keep the people at peace and be law-abiding. These judges were champions; in addition, they were out of rough backgrounds, yet committed to do what was right (also atypical to many of today’s judges).
You would think that the people would respond with respect and drive themselves to live under the right laws of the land—but it was not so. The judges rode the currents of the river. At times the river was impetuous, filled with broken and jarring rocks; sometimes the river was plunging. At times the river was exhilarating; the next it was simply boring. The book of Judges exposes the history of the Israelites in a way that reminds us of us!
Who were these people? People called to serve God from backgrounds of a military leader, a left-handed assassin, an obscure farmer, a godly woman, a wayfarer with an ox-goad, a man enslaved by a prostitute, and a fierce and passionate Hebrew (a “Robin Hood” complete with desperados).
God often turns rough-hewed people, brash confronters, into what He wants them to be, placing them in leadership. Unfortunately, like the Israelites, those placed under their authority failed to listen and follow. It would behoove us to train our people to be following leaders; to be accountable for that which the Lord has placed us in our positions.
Give us men who fling themselves into the great struggle, doing what they can with Christ-born ardor, foot soldiers, if nothing else, in the army of the Lord of Righteousness. (Attributed to Thomas Paine)
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27
How are we doing with our God-called service?