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Judges – Lesson 3 .. Judges Chapter 2:1-23

 

Introduction:

Last week, we finished up our study on the first chapter of the book of Judges. We talked about how the tribes failed to completely win victories over the inhabitants of the land. These failures came back to haunt the children of Israel in later years, and hurt them spiritually by them living alongside the very ones God had warned them to stay away from. This week we review the invasion of Canaan as Chapter 2 opens.

 

I. Review of the Israelites Invasion of Canaan

 

Judg 2:1 And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

 

We see in the first 15 verses of Chapter 2 a sermon being given to wake the people up. They had become complacent in their service to the Lord, and their religion had cooled a lot from the days when they were on fire for the Lord. If you remember when you were first saved, you couldn't wait to go and tell others about what Jesus had done for you. But time and circumstances will sometimes cause us to lose that fire and stamina, and we must fight the tendency to become complacent and accept the ho-hum status quo of serving God. God wants us fired up and on fire. Remember what he said about the church in Laodicea in Revelation.

 

Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

 

God does not want a church filled with people who are half-hearted about serving Him, but He wants people who are sold out to the work of God. Let us all so live and give and work that we inspire others to be about the Lord's work with a great zeal. We see in verse 1 that the one preaching the message was the Angel of the Lord. This was Jesus Christ, speaking to the people before He ever came to earth in a human body. God had appeared before to Joshua, to Abraham, and others like Adam when he walked with God in the evenings with Eve. The Angel of the Lord came to prevent them from falling into sin and trouble. God warns His people. We today have the whole Word of God to speak to us, and we need to be reading and listening as the Spirit of God deals with our hearts.

 

The Lord's first words are "I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you into this land that I sware unto your fathers." God promised to never break His covenant with them. Joshua had admonished the Israelites to take heed not to entangle themselves with the Canaanites, but they disregarded the words of a dying man. God himself delivers the message to them again.

 

We read that the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal due to a particular reason. Gilgal was their headquarters after the came into Canaan, and the message was to go into all the children of Israel. While the sermon was short, it was very stirring. God reiterates plainly what all He had done from them. It is important that we as God's children pause occasionally and look at all God has done for us. The old song about "Count Your Blessings, name them one by one" is good advice. When we see what God has done for us, we will want to serve Him. Brother Don McFarland preached a wonderful message here in our local church Wednesday Night on "How Much Is Jesus Worth to You." If you did not get to hear that message, you missed a big blessing. Brother McFarland pointed out that there is a big difference in value and worth, and what value Jesus is to us may never be shown in what we place worth on him. In reality, no amount of money could ever pay for what He has done for you and I. But Judas Iscariot, sold out our Lord, for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave in those days. My, what price would the rich man who cried out in Hell for mercy to Father Abraham, have given to be saved, but it was too late. If you don't know Jesus today, it is not too late for you. But don't wait another day. People die every day and go out unprepared to meet God, and if you don't know Jesus as your Personal Savior, you aren't ready to meet God.

 

God had been so kind to their forefathers, and He gave proofs of His power leaving them inexcusable if they failed to believe Him. But even if man fails, God does not fail. He told them he would never forsake them nor break His covenant with them.

Heb 6:16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.

Heb 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:

Heb 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Heb 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Heb 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

God cannot lie, and can not swear on a greater than Himself. God is totally righteous, and could not be God if he was unrighteous. We can depend on God.

Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Heb 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Thank God that He is not like man who constantly promises things and then fails to do them. But God stands strong, unmoveable, and totally dependable. Man broke virtually every covenant they made with God, but God never broke His Word one time.

Judg 2:2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?

God had warned them earlier to make no leagues with the inhabitants of the land, but the Israelites had moved in and were living right beside the non-Christians. (Back then only known as God's people... Christian's were first known by that name in Antioch.)

Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

God had instructed the Israelites to throw down the false altars, but they had not. God said "Ye have not obeyed my voice" in verse 2. What would God say to you and I today if He spoke out of Heaven. What have we failed to do that God told us to do in the Bible. I think as a church we don't do a good job of disciplining young Christians. Our young ladies need more mentoring by the older, more experienced women in the church. While we may be weak here, I am proud that the Gospel is going forth, and we support a large number of missionaries for a church of minimal size. But we must never be satisfied, but drive on towards the great prize that Paul spoke of over in Phillipians.

Phil 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Phil 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Phil 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Phil 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

Phil 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

 

Jesus asks the people "Why have ye done this?" I'm sure if He was here today that Jesus might ask us why we have done some things the way we have. Are we perfect? No. Is any church on this earth perfect? Probably not. But if our mind is on the things that Jesus wants it on, our desire will be to do the very Will of the Father.

Phil 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Phil 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Phil 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Phil 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even

the death of the cross.

 

Judg 2:3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.

We see that due to their failure to obey the Lord God, He refused to drive out the Canaanites from the land. As a result, the Canaanites became a thorn in Israel's side. And the false gods became a snare unto them.

Judg 2:4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.

Judg 2:5 And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.

We see the results of the message preached in verse 4. All of the children of Israel lift up their voices and weep. The place was named "Bochim" which means weepers. Our sins should cause us to weep, and we need to be serious about reaching the lost. Do you remember what the Bible says about those that weep about lost sinners?

Psa 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

The people not only weeped and repented, they sacrificed unto the Lord. It appears that a revival was truly started in Israel, but as we continue our study we will find it was far from a revival.

 

II . Joshua Sends the People to Their Inheritance

Judg 2:6 And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.

Here we see the Israel's happy settlement in the land in the days of Joshua. He sent every man to possess the land which was the purpose that God had in bringing them to the land of Canaan. By Joshua sending the people to their own land, they could not question whether they were blessed as they went to possess their own land.

Judg 2:7 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.

Israel lived for God after they went to their possession until all the ancient people died.. We are told that these ancient people had seen the good works that God had done. Apparently they were successful in encouraging the younger generation to serve the Lord.

Judg 2:8 And Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.

We see here that Joshua, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110. If we live a good and full life, the Lord promises us today that we will have possibly 70 years. Those that live beyond this are reaping special blessings of the Lord, and in some cases, seeing the longsuffering and love of the Lord, particularly with those that know not Christ as Savior.

Judg 2:9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.

God give the location of Joshua's grave. In Genesis Chapter 49, Joshua gave the burying place of some of their ancestors.

Gen 49:29 And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,

Gen 49:30 In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying place.

Gen 49:31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.

Gen 49:32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.

Gen 49:33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

Judg 2:10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

We see that there arose another generation that knew not the Lord. When we read that a generation does not know the Lord, who is to blame? It says that they knew not the works God had done for Israel. It appears that the parents did not teach the truths of the Bible to their children.

Judg 6:13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

It appears here in this account that Gideon heard all of the great things that had befallen Israel from his parents. You and I have a solemn responsibility to teach our children about the ways of God and to raise them up in God's house. Not many good things are taught in the world and in the schools about how to live. The world can teach you how to make a living, but it really can't teach you the important thing which is how to live. God's Word can do that, and we need to prepare our children for that. Life is hard, but with God fighting our battles, we can win.

Prov 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Verse in proverbs does not promise that they may not wander, but it does promise that when they become old, they will not depart from it. What a promise from God.

Judg 2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:

We see in verse 11 something that Israel did over and over in the accounts of the early days of the nation. They did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they served false gods. Baalim is plural for Baal. When the people forsook God, they served many gods and had many lords. This was very displeasing to the One and True Father of the Universe.

Judg 2:12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.

We see this caused God to become angry.

Psa 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

How we need to warn people that God is upset with the wicked everyday. By having Christ as Savior, he can look upon us with love and compassion because our sins are covered by the blood of the lamb. Because the people forsook God, He delivered them over to their enemies. They could no longer win the battles without God in their midst. Our lives will be hard if we try to go our way. But the true way, the narrow way, is perfect.

Judg 2:13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

Judg 2:14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.

Judg 2:15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.

 

We see that everywhere they turned, the hand of God was against them.

Gen 4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

When God was against Cain, he claimed that the punishment was greater than he could bear. Oh how much we need the Lord on our side. God had warned them before they come into the land of Canaan, but they did not hearken to his warnings. Today, in America, pastors are warning Christians every Sunday that the sins of a nation will come back to haunt them, but many turn a deaf ear. But sin has a price, and that price is death. Someone pays for all sin. Either we bear the burden and pay the debt in the flames of Hell, or we accept Christ and the blood he died to give for our sins washes away our every sin.

 

III. Institution of the Judges

God purpose in the rule of the judges was to give them a theocratic form of government. In other words, God would rule over His people.

Judg 2:16 Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.

These judges were raised up, not by men, but by God. He used them to deliver Israel out of the hands of the spoilers.

Judg 2:17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so.

Even though this was to be a lesson to Israel, as soon as a judge died they turned back to the old path and served false gods. God tender our hearts to never want to return to our old ways once we are saved.

Judg 2:18 And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.

We see that the people quickly turned away from the ways that their fathers had walked. Their fathers enjoyed following the commandments of the Lord.

Eccl 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Eccl 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Ecclesiastes tells us that it is our whole duty to keep the commandments of God, and we know that there are no grievous commandments. Jeremiah said that the way of the Lord is a good way.

Jer 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

God was the judge that He raised up, even when the people did not hearken unto the man. God would deliver the people out of the hands of the enemy as long as that judge lived. We see that when they would become oppressed, Israel would cry out and God would hear them and deliver them.

Judg 2:19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.

God does not want us to be stubborn and to not follow the commandments He has given. The people would sin and turn away from the true and living God.

Deu 5:32 Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

Deu 5:33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.

Judg 2:20 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;

Judg 2:21 I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:

Judg 2:22 That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.

Judg 2:23 Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.

We see the Lord was very angry with the people, and said that it was their doings. Their stubborn ways separated them from a close relationship with God. We must guard against pride and stubbornness in this life if we want to have a close, intimate relationship with God.

 

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