In the book of Judges we see our holy sovereign Lord using His enemies to correct His children. God uses enemies to humble us and bring us into obedience. Captivity is used by God to open our eyes to the bigger realities of life and turn hearts to the Source of our life. Christ, the King of Kings, was with His people to lead them.
1 Now after the death of Joshua the children of Israel asked the LORD saying, Who will go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? 2 And the LORD said, Judah will go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand. 3 And Judah said to Simeon his brother, Come up with me to my allotment, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I will go with you to your allotment. So Simeon went with him. 4 And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they killed ten thousand of their men in Bezek.
- God gives the victory.
- 1Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.
God does to us as we do to others
5 They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek: they fought against him and they killed the Canaanites and the Perizzites. 6 But Adoni-bezek fled; and they chased him, caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. 7 And Adoni-bezek said, Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their food under my table: as I have done, so God has repaid me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
- Jererniah 2:19 Your own wickedness will correct you…says the Lord GOD of hosts.
- Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap.
8 Now the children of Judah fought against Jerusalem, took it, struck it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire. 9 And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites that dwelt in the mountain, in the south, and in the valley. 10 And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (the name of Hebron was previously Kirjath-arba:) and they killed Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.
- Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai were giants, sons of Anak ((Numbers 13:22, 33).
- These people were so steeped in evil that their lives were an abomination to their Maker.
- Leviticus 18 tells their deeds.
- Their lives led their children to eternal death.
- They burned their children to false gods in ritual orgies to their god.
- It doesn’t matter how big the giants are, they are no match for God who fights for His people.
11 And from there he went against the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir was previously Kirjath-sepher: 12 And Caleb said, He that strikes Kirjath-sepher, and takes it, I will give him my daughter Achsah to wife. 13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother took it: and he gave him his daughter Achsah to wife. 14 And when she came to him, she moved him to ask from her father a field: she got down off her ass and Caleb said to her, What do you desire? 15 And she said to him, Give me a blessing: for you have given me a south land; also give me springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
- John 14:13 And whatever you ask in my name, I will do that, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
16 The children of the Kenite, Moses’ father in law, went up out of
the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lies in the south of Arad; they went and dwelt among the people. 17 And Judah went with Simeon his brother and
they killed the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah. 18 Also Judah took Gaza with the border, Askelon with its border, and Ekron
with its border.
The Lord was with Judah and drove out the inhabitants of the mountain
19 And the LORD was with Judah; and he drove out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had iron chariots. 20 And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses said: and he expelled from there the three sons of Anak. 21 But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.
- 400 years later David, trusting God’s promises, marched to Jerusalem and conquered it. It is lack of knowledge of God and trust in Him that keeps us from living lives of victory, honor, and blessing like David. If you want more faith, get more of the word of God (Romans 10:17).
- Hebrews 13:5… he has said, I will never leave you, or forsake you.
- Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?
22The house of Joseph went up against Bethel: and the LORD was with them.
23 And the house of Joseph sent to spy out Bethel. (Now the name of the city was previously Luz.) 24 And the spies saw a man come out of the city, and they said to him, Please show us the entrance into the city, and we will show you mercy. 25 And when he showed them the entrance to the city, they struck the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family. 26 And the man went into the land of the Hittites, built a city, and called its name Luz: which is its name to this day. 27 Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and her towns, or Taanach and her towns, or the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites dwell in that land. 28 But when Israel was strong, they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.
- This was blatant disobedience.
- God told them to drive them out so that they would not turn their hearts to worship false gods and by that come to ruin.
29 Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. 30 And Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries. 31 Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, or the inhabitants of Zidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob: 32 But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: they did not drive them out. 33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath became tributaries to them. 34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: they would not allow them to come down to the valley: 35 But the Amorites dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they paid tribute. 36 The boundary of the Amorites ran from Scorpion Pass to Sela and continued upward from there.
- Israel started out well destroying her enemies but fell into disobedience.
- These peoples God destroyed are a symbol of evil that seeks to destroy God and all His children.
- They are a symbol for us of the forces in life that would separate us from God, destroy our peace, and keep us from living in God’s blessings.
- Ephesians 6:12 we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
God will never break His covenant with us
1 And angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and brought you to the land that I swore to your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2 Make no treaty with the inhabitants of this land; throw down their altars: but you have not obeyed my voice: why have you done this? 3 Therefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they will be as thorns in your sides. Their gods will be a snare to you.
- Notice who this angel of the Lord is.
- Who brought them out of Egypt? God!
- God gave man thorns and thistles as a part of judgment to humble man for man’s good—Genesis 3:18.
- He will never break His covenant.
- Evil is a choice.
- It brings with it painful discipline from God for our good.
- Numbers 33:55 But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it will come to pass, that those which you let remain of them will be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and will trouble you in the land where you dwell.
- Jeremiah 2:19 Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will reprove you: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and that my fear is not in you, says the Lord GOD of hosts.
4 When the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the children of Israel, the people lifted up their voice, and wept. 5 And they called the name of that place Bochim/weepers: and they sacrificed there to the LORD. 6 And when Joshua let the people go, the children of Israel, every man went to his inheritance to possess the land. 7 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. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being 110 years old. 9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. 10 And also all that generation were gathered to their fathers: and another generation rose up after them that did not know the LORD, or the works that he had done for Israel.
- To know Him is life.
- John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12 they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, that brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, the gods of the people that were around them. They bowed themselves to them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 13 They forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that plundered them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies around so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. 15 Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn to them: and they were greatly distressed.
- Exodus 20:5 You will not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
16 Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, who delivered them out of the hand of those that plundered them. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges, but went whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves to them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked, obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do it.
- Judges 5:8They chose new gods; then was war in the gates
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: the LORD sighed because of their groanings because of those that oppressed them and crushed them. 19 And when the judge was dead, they turned, and became more corrupt than their fathers, following other gods to serve them, and to bow down to them; they did not stop their own doings, or their stubborn way.
- God turned from His judgment because of their groanings even though they had turned from God to idols.
20 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because this people has transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers, and have not listened to my voice; 21 I will no longer drive out from before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died: 22 so that through them I may test Israel, to see if they will keep the way of the LORD to walk in it, as their fathers kept it, or not. 23 Therefore the LORD left those nations, without quickly driving them out. He did not deliver them into the hand of Joshua.
- Adam and Eve did not beleive what God said and did not live in paradise.
- These people can live in God’s land by faith.
- Look at God’s control over all things in this verse!
- He said what people stayed in the land and who was destroyed.
God left nations in the land to test, train, and purify His people
1 Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them, those in Israel that had not known all the wars of Canaan; 2 So that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach war to those that knew nothing of it;
3 Five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon to the entrance of Hamath. 4 They were to test Israel by them, to know whether they would listen to the commandments of the LORD, that he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. 5 And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites: 6 And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. 7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.
- God is life.
- When we choose another god we choose death.
- Proverbs 15:3 tells us that God sees everything.
- John 12:50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting…
- Deuteronomy 30:20 That you may love the LORD your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may cling to him: for he is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years. 9 And when the children of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.
- God sold them into the hand of evil so they would turn back to Him and live.
- God’s anger burns hot when we worship false things.
10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim. 11 And the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died. 12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. 13 And he gathered to himself the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and struck Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees. 14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. 15 But when the children of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a lefthanded man: and by him the children of Israel sent a present to Eglon the king of Moab. 16 But Ehud made himself a dagger that had two edges, 18 inches long; and he strapped it on his right thigh under his cloak. 17 And he brought the present to Eglon king of Moab: Eglon was a very fat man. 18 And when he finished offering the present, he sent away the people that carried the gift. 19 But he himself returned from the idols that were by Gilgal and said, I have a secret message for you, O king: who said, Hush. And all that stood by him went out from him. 20 And Ehud came to him as he was sitting in a summer parlor/parlor of cooling, which he kept for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God for you. And he arose out of his seat. 21 And Ehud put out his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: 22 the haft went in after the blade; and the fat closed on the blade so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out/it came out at the fundament (anus). 23 Then Ehud went out through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlor on him, and locked them. 24 When he was gone, his servants came; and when they saw that the doors of the parlor were locked, they said, Surely he relieves himself in his summer chamber.
- What Ehud did was a clandestine operation and validates this type of assassination techniques in government.
25 And they waited until they were ashamed: and behold, he did not open the doors of the parlor; so they took a key and opened them: and behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth. 26 Ehud escaped while they waited, passed beyond the idols, and escaped to Seirath. 27 And when he came, he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountain, and he before them. 28 And he said to them, Follow after me: for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and allowed no man to cross over. 29 And they killed 10,000 men of Moab at that time, all robust, and all valiant and fat men; no man escaped. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest 80 years. 31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred Philistines men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.
- God delivers our enemies into our hands.
- More than physical enemies who would destroy us, this illustrates victory over our spiritual enemies that want to lead us away from closeness to God, to a place of worry, coveting, hatred, lust, or any other sin.
- The ox goad was 6-8 feet long with a bevel on one end to dig up weeds and a point on the other end to jab an ox’s hind parts to get him moving.
- Simple instruments are mighty in the hand of God.
- The jawbone of an ass was used by God in the hand of Samson to defeat the Philistines.
- Five loaves and two fishes were used by the Lord to feed the multitudes.
- All of the deliverers in the book of Judges are pictures of Christ who delivers us from all evil, sin, and self.
SUMMARY: Judges 1-3
- God gave His people the best land on earth
- They chose false gods; this leads to eternal death
- He used His enemies to bring His children back to Him who is life.
- He does to us as we do to others
- He is with us and drives out the enemy
- He will never break His covenant with us
- He raises up deliverers
- He left enemies in the land to test, train, and purify His people so that they might live