Editor’s Note: We continue our series of blogs for those who are reading the Bible with us cover-to-cover this year. Interspersed with our thoughts on our daily reading, we want to provide some tips about reading the Bible in general. Today we want to explore …

Judges: The Cycles of Compromise (about 350 years)

Graphic Source: http://narrabriyouth.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/judges-cycle-of-sin/

After such a glorious five-year beginning, one would think that the future of Israel would just get better and better. But such was not the case! The principles of conquest were clearly stated by God to Joshua, and renewed at Shechem by the leaders before Joshua. At Shechem, Joshua challenged to leaders and the people:

“Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed.  And the LORD drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God.”

But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD!” So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD for yourselves, to serve Him.” And they said, “We are witnesses!” “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel.” And the people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. Joshua 24:14-25 (New King James Version)

But how quickly Israel, without Joshua, forgets their covenant [sacred promise] with God and falls into the consequence of straying from God’s commands. When we read this book, we discover the cause-and-effect principle that runs the length of this sad story! Watch the cycles of failure in this book, as we divide it into three easier-to-understand parts. In the first section we see …

Israel Fails to Complete the Invasion Against The Canaanites (Judges 1-2)

Almost immediately the failure begins. Notice as you read the first two chapters, that there are clues for the rest of this book. Failures are found by actions previously performed. God judges the nation quickly for their failures to act on His commands. See as we discover …

  • The failure to work together to conquer the land; resulting in hundreds of years of miserable terror at the hands of oppressors. (Judges 1)
  • The unfaithfulness of the children of Israel; resulting in the anger of God and His testing the sincerity of their faith. (Judges 2)

It is our hope that this background information helps a bit as you read on in the Bible.

For daily insights into the passage we are reading together each day, you can follow Dr. Smith on Twitter and on Facebook.

You can obtain more help from the FREE Bible reading schedule on our resource page. In His Image is a daily devotional that also follows our reading schedule and expresses the Biblical truth: “God Created You to Love You.” You can find this resource on the side bar of our website.

For Our Los Angeles County Friends!

Dr. Matthew Smith will be speaking on Sunday, March 27th in Long Beach and would like to invite you to attend. He will be speaking on the subject, “Are We Living Jesus’ Ultimate Purpose?” There is no fee for this event and all are welcome. Here are the details:

March 27 – 10:45 am Worship Speaker @ University Baptist Church, 3434 Chatwin Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90808 – (562) 425-0912

Hope to see you there!